The best books on the psychological aftermath of the Shoah (Ηolocaust)

Why am I passionate about this?

Simon Hammelburg is a Dutch author, journalist, and songwriter. During the seventies, he started his career as a news broadcaster with AVRO Broadcasting (Radio & TV) in Holland. He worked as an anchor as well as a travelling journalist. In the eighties, he became the United States Bureau Chief for Dutch and Belgian radio and television, as well as several newspapers and weeklies. He specialized in the psychological aftermath of the Shoah (Holocaust).


I wrote...

Broken on the Inside: The War Never Ended

By Simon Hammelburg,

Book cover of Broken on the Inside: The War Never Ended

What is my book about?

WWII did not end in 1945 when the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust were released from the concentration camps or came out of their hiding places. Often they were no longer welcome in the houses they were forced to leave behind. ‘Who invited you?’ Stripped from their belongings and dignity, they were forced to move on. Their children suffered too, as there was always fear, anxiety, and sadness about the countless relatives that were killed during this unrivaled genocide. Outsiders do not always realize this or that they themselves were victimized as well. Simon Hammelburg has collected the memoires of over 1200 survivors and their offspring. He presents the results of almost 25 years of psychological research in this unique, outstanding novel written in a sober journalistic style with a mixture of loving compassion, respect, and humorous dialogues. He introduces the reader to a world of sorrow, concern, and ultimate loneliness. An outstanding masterwork in which Hammelburg recounts the unspeakable.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Night

Simon Hammelburg Why did I love this book?

Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of…


Book cover of The Search: The Birkenau Boys

Simon Hammelburg Why did I love this book?

A child survivor of the Holocaust, Durlacher long believed that he was the only person still alive from a group of 89 boys assigned to the Birkenau extermination camp in 1944. After he learned that he was wrong, he set himself the task of confronting his past by locating some of the others. As in many other Holocaust memoirs, the prose here is spare, and the lack of detail can be a little confusing. For example, the reader is thrown into the author's search without a description of the process that led him to take his journey. But some psychological truisms emerge in this gray travelogue that, while not fresh, are worth ruminating over. What the author, a professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam who died in 1996, finds is that even though the survivors shared a common experience, how they have coped with their wartime suffering differs. Some, in particular those who have moved to Israel, meet regularly with other survivors; others keep their harrowing past buried deep in their psyches. Equally diverse are survivors' personal outlooks--despite what they have gone through, some of the "Birkenau Boys" still call themselves optimists, while others possess the bitterness one would expect. Not surprisingly, Durlacher, who wrote two previous books on the Holocaust, enjoyed the company of the former much more than the latter.

By Gerhard Durlacher, Susan Massotty (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Search as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Having thought himself to be the sole survivor of the group of eighty-nine boys assigned to Auschwitz-Birkenau Men's Camp B II D in 1944, Gerhard Durlacher was stunned to discover that he was not alone. He sets off to track down his fellow survivors and find out why such a relatively large percentage of them survived. A remarkable and unique document, The Search ends in a reunion of the "Birkenau boys" in Israel in May 1990 where they finally unravel the mystery surrounding their selection and subsequent survival. The tragic truth is crueller than any of them could have imagined.


Book cover of The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings

Simon Hammelburg Why did I love this book?

The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum’s Writings brings together the work of 33 experts from all over the world to shed new light on the life, works, inspiration, and vision of the Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), one of the victims of the Nazi regime. Hillesum’s diaries and letters illustrate her heroic struggle to come to terms with her personal life in the context of the Holocaust. This volume revives Hillesum's research with a comprehensive rereading of her texts but also by introducing new sources about her life. With the current rise of interest in peace studies, Judaism, the Holocaust, inter-religious dialogue, gender studies, and mysticism, this book is invaluable to students and scholars in a wide range of disciplines.

By Klaas Smelik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings contains the proceedings of the third international Etty Hillesum Conference, held in Middelburg in September 2018. It brings together the work of 33 experts from all over the world to shed new light on life, works, inspiration and vision of the Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), one of the victims of the Nazi regime. Hillesum's diaries and letters illustrate her heroic struggle to come to terms with her personal life in the context of the Holocaust. This volume revives Hillesum research with a comprehensive rereading of her texts but also by introducing…


Book cover of Max and Helen: A Remarkable True Love Story

Simon Hammelburg Why did I love this book?

This novel is the story of an Eastern European Jewish man (Max), who is imprisoned by the Nazis during WW2 and by the Soviets immediately after. His story is amazing and is being told to famed Nazi hunter and the author of this book, Simon Wiesenthal, in the 1960's. Wiesenthal's involvement surrounds the Nazi camp commander who persecuted Max and his fiancée. The Nazi, Werner Schulze, resurfaces as a German plant manager twenty years after the war and Wiesenthal must decide whether or not he has sufficient evidence to prosecute him.

By Simon Wiesenthal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Max and Helen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Relates the remarkable story of two Holocaust survivors who persuaded Wiesenthal not to pursue their Nazi tormentor, Werner Schultze


Book cover of The Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs

Simon Hammelburg Why did I love this book?

A compelling story of the way one man in our callous times truly assumed the role of his brothers' keeper, in spite of obstructions from Nazi supporters, unsympathetic governments, time, and fading memories. The Murderers Among Us is an inspiring book -- the stirring life of a man who pursued justice in the heyday of expediency. Simon Wiesenthal was lying in a ward full of corpses when Allied troops reached Mauthausen Concentration Camp. His wife was lost in the vast confusion of postwar Europe, the rest of his family victims of the gas chambers. His own loss and the horrors he had witnessed made Wiesenthal vow to spend the rest of his life bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. 

By Simon Wiesenthal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Murderers Among Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

4th Bantam p/b printing. VG+ condition pages tight in clean spine


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Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

Book cover of Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

What is my book about?

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

What is this book about?

Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread…


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