10 books like Diary of Bergen-Belsen

By Hanna Lavy-Hass,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Diary of Bergen-Belsen. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Holocaust Testimonies

By Lawrence L. Langer,

Book cover of Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory

Langer has written the finest analysis available on the workings of traumatic memory, one that contributes to our understanding of history as autobiography—a brilliant mapping of the tortured terrain of Holocaust remembrance.

Holocaust Testimonies

By Lawrence L. Langer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism

This important an original book is the first sustained analysis of the unique ways in which oral testimony of survivors contributes to our understanding of the Holocaust. It also sheds light on the forms and functions of memory as victims relive devastating experiences of pain, humiliation, and loss.

Drawing on the Fortunoff Video Archives for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, Lawrence L. Langer shows how oral Holocaust testimonies complement historical studies by enabling us to confront the human dimensions of the catastrophe. Quoting extensively from these interviews, Langer develops…


Survival in Auschwitz

By Primo Levi,

Book cover of Survival in Auschwitz

Before the onset of WWII, Levi was one kind of a professional. At the end of it, he was quite another. This life switch fascinates me in general as a possibility in anyone’s life, but Levi’s switch is drastic. He transforms, and his narrative explains how and why.

It is not coincidence, therefore, that the narrative of Zaidy’s War closely mimics Levi’s style of writing: perceptive, Omni-thinking, calm, and nearly dispassionate.

I love this Holocaust memoir above all for its chameleonic quality, its deep insights, and eye-opening humanistic epiphanies and revelations.

Survival in Auschwitz

By Primo Levi,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Survival in Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true and harrowing account of Primo Levi’s experience at the German concentration camp of Auschwitz and his miraculous survival; hailed by The Times Literary Supplement as a “true work of art, this edition includes an exclusive conversation between the author and Philip Roth.

In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and “Italian citizen of Jewish race,” was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi’s classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint,…


Etty Hillesum

By Etty Hillesum,

Book cover of Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life And Letters From Westerbork

Why include on this list the diaries of a secular Jewish woman who is in the grip of self-centered anxieties and an unusual, if not bizarre, relationship with her analyst? Because spiritual transformation begins and evolves in uncanny ways, leading one to find transcendence where one never would have expected it. Etty’s diaries and letters allow us to follow the process by which she became so profoundly lucid and open-hearted that she was able to see the humanity even in the Nazis organizing extermination.

Etty Hillesum

By Etty Hillesum,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Etty Hillesum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman in the midst of World War II.

In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine.


Memory Perceived

By Robert N. Kraft,

Book cover of Memory Perceived: Recalling the Holocaust

Kraft has drawn on 200 hours of testimony by Holocaust survivors to demonstrate how memory responds to atrocity. His juxtaposition of accounts allows one individual to be presented in relation to others, showing personal tragedies as well as the collective atrocity from the insights of multi-voice narratives.

Memory Perceived

By Robert N. Kraft,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Compelling examples from 200 hours of testimony by Holocaust survivors form the foundation of this volume on how memory responds to atrocity-how people comprehend and remember deeply traumatic experiences, and how they ultimately adapt. Depicting how the Holocaust exists in the minds of those who experienced it, this book simultaneously reveals the principles of enduring memory and makes the Holocaust more specific and immediate to readers. A synthesis of myriad testimonies allows one individual to be presented in relation to others, showing personal tragedies as well as the collective atrocity. The findings are also applied to other groups of people…


The Happiest Man on Earth

By Eddie Jaku,

Book cover of The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor

I am recommending this memoir for its beauty and kindness, which is even more extraordinary when considering this is Eddie Jaku’s story of being a Holocaust survivor. He tells the reader that "life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It’s up to you." These are powerful words from a man whose life was changed forever when he was beaten, arrested, and taken to a concentration camp. For the next seven years, he witnessed the worst of mankind, the horrors of the death camps, first in Buchenwald and then in Auschwitz, and then the infamous Nazi death march. He lost many friends and family. But Eddie survived with his spirit intact, determined to live his best possible life and be happy. A truly surprising and inspirational book.  

The Happiest Man on Earth

By Eddie Jaku,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Eddie looked evil in the eye and met it with joy and kindness . . . [his] philosophy is life-affirming' - Daily Express

Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku made a vow to smile every day and now believes he is the 'happiest man on earth'. In his inspirational memoir, he pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story and sharing his wisdom.

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed…


A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz

By Göran Rosenberg,

Book cover of A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz: A Memoir

I have read many moving memoirs by survivors and members of the second generation like myself. This one by the Swedish journalist son of a Polish survivor is like no other. I could hardly breathe while reading it, or after I finished it. Gripping, poetic, and calmly devastating, the author recreates his father’s Holocaust journey through family documents and historical research, trying to imagine what exactly his father experienced. And then the devastating aftermath, as his father attempts to rebuild his shattered life. “Luck, chance, and freak are the stones with which every road from Auschwitz are paved,” the author tells us.

A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz

By Göran Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the 2nd of August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town. He has survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany. Now he has to learn to live with his memories.

In this intelligent and deeply moving book, Goeran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell his father's story. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, suffused with the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of post-war Sweden, and the…


By Chance Alone

By Max Eisen,

Book cover of By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz

Eisen was a fifteen-year-old boy in 1944 when the Nazis sent him and his family to Auschwitz-Berkenau to become slave labour. He tells the story after seventy years, recalling the back-breaking work and his survival through luck or chance and the kindness of some good people. This is a “must-read” for anyone who thinks that this atrocity didn’t or couldn’t happen in our modern world, and an inspiration to those of us who sometimes feel our own struggles are insurmountable. This book touched me personally because my own children’s grandfather was sent to the same concentration camp.

By Chance Alone

By Max Eisen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Chance Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An award-winning, internationally bestselling Holocaust memoir in the tradition of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz

In the spring of 1944, gendarmes forcibly removed Tibor “Max” Eisen and his family from their home, brought them to a brickyard and eventually loaded them onto crowded cattle cars bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. At fifteen years of age, Eisen survived the selection process and was inducted into the camp as a slave laborer.

More than seventy years after the Nazi camps were liberated by the Allies, By Chance Alone details Eisen’s story of survival: the backbreaking slave labor in Auschwitz I,…


Parallel Journeys

By Eleanor H. Ayer,

Book cover of Parallel Journeys

This is a book written for adolescents that everybody should read. Alfons Heck (a former member of the Hitler Youth) and Helen Waterford (a Holocaust survivor) recount their stories to Ayer. It is Heck, though, who provides crucial insight into how totalitarian leaders gain control of whole generations and use them to achieve their wicked aims – a form of mass child abuse.

Parallel Journeys

By Eleanor H. Ayer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She was a young German Jew. He was an ardent member of the Hitler Youth. This is the story of their parallel journey through World War II.

Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck were born just a few miles from each other in the German Rhineland. But their lives took radically different courses: Helen’s to the Auschwitz concentration camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Youth.

While Helen was hiding in Amsterdam, Alfons was a fanatic believer in Hitler’s “master race.” While she was crammed in a cattle car bound for the death camp Auschwitz, he was a teenage…


All But My Life

By Gerda Weissmann Klein,

Book cover of All But My Life: A Memoir

Gerda Weissmann was only age fifteen when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939. Born in Bielsko Poland to a middle-class Jewish family, the book follows her family’s loss and tragedy through the Holocaust. The author survived multiple concentration camps and a death march against impossible odds. Liberated on her twenty-first birthday, she weighed only sixty-eight pounds. This inspiring book includes moments of human decency and normalcy.

Of the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, three million were from Poland. Klein captures the essence of what it meant to survive a genocide with only her life. Klein is a highly recognized voice for human rights and Holocaust remembrance, and the beneficiary of many awards and honorary degrees. Gerda Weissmann Klein is a name to be remembered.

All But My Life

By Gerda Weissmann Klein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All But My Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All But My Life is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty.

From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops--including the man who was to become her husband--in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda takes the reader on a terrifying journey.

Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German…


Jews, Germans, and Allies

By Atina Grossmann,

Book cover of Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany

During the years immediately following World War II, around a quarter of a million Jewish Holocaust survivors gathered in displaced persons camps and other places in Allied-occupied Germany. Atina Grossmann examines the complicated and unexpected interactions between those Jewish refugees and their German neighbors and American occupation soldiers, exploring political and ideological questions as well as details of everyday life, with a particular focus on the role of gender and sexuality. Paying attention to multiple voices and perspectives, Grossmann brings to life the hardships, dilemmas, ironies, and hopes of postwar displacement and reconstruction. 

Jews, Germans, and Allies

By Atina Grossmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jews, Germans, and Allies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, more than a quarter million Jewish survivors of the Holocaust lived among their defeated persecutors in the chaotic society of Allied-occupied Germany. Jews, Germans, and Allies draws upon the wealth of diary and memoir literature by the people who lived through postwar reconstruction to trace the conflicting ways Jews and Germans defined their own victimization and survival, comprehended the trauma of war and genocide, and struggled to rebuild their lives. In gripping and unforgettable detail, Atina Grossmann describes Berlin in the days following Germany's surrender--the mass rape of German women by the…


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