100 books like Diary of Bergen-Belsen

By Hanna Lavy-Hass,

Here are 100 books that Diary of Bergen-Belsen fans have personally recommended if you like Diary of Bergen-Belsen. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory

Joshua M. Greene Author Of Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend

From my list on Holocaust testimony.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joshua M. Greene is the author of a dozen Holocaust biographies that have sold more than a half-million copies worldwide. He sits on the board of Yale University Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and has spoken on issues of Holocaust memory for such outlets as NPR and Fox News. His editorials on Holocaust history have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

Joshua's book list on Holocaust testimony

Joshua M. Greene Why did Joshua love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Survival in Auschwitz

Richard Zimler Author Of The Incandescent Threads

From my list on survivors of a horrific trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Portugal for the last 33 years. I write my novels in English and my children’s books in Portuguese. As anyone who reads my latest novel will discover, I have been greatly influenced the mythology and mystical traditions of various religions, especially Judaism (kabbalah). Happily, I discovered early on that I adore writing about people who have been systematically persecuted and silenced. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to explore taboo subjects and topics that others would prefer to forget or conceal. When I’m not working on a book, I like to garden and travel. 

Richard's book list on survivors of a horrific trauma

Richard Zimler Why did Richard love this book?

Almost all the survivors of the Holocaust have now died, which makes it more important than ever that we pass on knowledge about this incomparably brutal crime against humanity – and do our best to prevent future genocides.

Survival in Auschwitz is a highly detailed, profoundly disturbing, and, in the end, intensely moving account of Italian chemist Primo Levi’s eleven months in the most notorious of the Nazi death camps, Auschwitz.

If you wish to understand what the Holocaust meant to its victims – and how the prisoners did their heroic best to resist dehumanization, hopelessness, and death – you would do well to start with this important work.  

By Primo Levi,

Why should I read it?

6 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,…


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

Jerome A. Miller Author Of Sobering Wisdom: Philosophical Explorations of Twelve Step Spirituality

From my list on spiritual breakthrough.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my 37 years of teaching philosophy to undergraduate students, most of whom had no prior exposure to it, my purpose was to promote self-examination of the sort practiced and encouraged by Socrates. Such self-examination is upsetting, unsettling. It leads one to insights and realizations one would prefer not to have. But by undermining one’s assumptions, these insights break one open to a whole universe of which one had been oblivious. Breakdowns make possible breakthroughs. My students didn’t realize that, just as I was trying to provoke this kind of spiritual transformation in them, their questions, criticisms, challenges, and insights provoked it in me. 

Jerome's book list on spiritual breakthrough

Jerome A. Miller Why did Jerome love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of Memory Perceived: Recalling the Holocaust

Joshua M. Greene Author Of Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend

From my list on Holocaust testimony.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joshua M. Greene is the author of a dozen Holocaust biographies that have sold more than a half-million copies worldwide. He sits on the board of Yale University Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and has spoken on issues of Holocaust memory for such outlets as NPR and Fox News. His editorials on Holocaust history have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

Joshua's book list on Holocaust testimony

Joshua M. Greene Why did Joshua love this book?

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.

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…


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

Karen McMillan Author Of The Paris of the East

From my list on World War II that may surprise you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author from New Zealand, and I’ve always been drawn to the personal stories from WWII. I am interested in the moral and ethical decisions made by ordinary people in those extraordinary times. I often wonder if I would have made the right choices in the same situation. I gravitate towards reading books about the Second World War, especially books that include previously unknown information, view the war from a different angle, or offer a new insight. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world with my career, and my novel, The Paris of the East was inspired after visiting Poland on an author tour. I’ve also written other novels, non-fiction books, and children’s books.

Karen's book list on World War II that may surprise you

Karen McMillan Why did Karen love this book?

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.  

By Eddie Jaku,

Why should I read it?

2 authors 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…


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

Marta Fuchs Author Of Legacy of Rescue: A Daughter's Tribute

From my list on with impact on the daughter of Holocaust Survivors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a member of a generation that wasn’t supposed to be born. My parents were Hungarian Holocaust survivors and I was born amidst the fragments of European Jewry that remained. As a psychotherapist, I have specialized in helping people navigate the multigenerational reverberations of the Holocaust. Having a witness to your own experience, in therapy and through books, provides comfort, understanding, and hope.

Marta's book list on with impact on the daughter of Holocaust Survivors

Marta Fuchs Why did Marta love this book?

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.

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…


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

Karen Elizabeth Lee Author Of The Full Catastrophe: A Memoir

From my list on showing human life in its reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a great interest in personal stories, well written. My memoir, The Full Catastrophe, was published in 2016. I wanted an answer to my own question “How could a well-educated, intelligent woman marry an abusive man?” Writing allowed me to find my answers. From that time on, I have taught people to write their own memoirs, have lectured on memoir, facilitated group discussions on memoir, and written articles on memoir. I am now in the process of writing another memoir. 

Karen's book list on showing human life in its reality

Karen Elizabeth Lee Why did Karen love this book?

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 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,…


Book cover of Parallel Journeys

David Hanna Author Of Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism

From my list on the perils of fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've found the creep of authoritarianism to be very disquieting. One would have to be willfully blind to not see its manifestations both here and abroad. I wanted to better understand how this phenomenon cast its shadow over the world and I found the '33 Chicago World's Fair an ideal lens to view this through. I've been fascinated by world's fairs since I was a child and the '33 Fair was the first to consciously feature the future. I'm also strangely drawn to this period – if I believed in reincarnation it might provide answers, but I don't. The Zeitgeist just before the full, brutal ugliness of fascism broke over the world, fascinates me.

David's book list on the perils of fascism

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

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.

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. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

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…


Book cover of All But My Life: A Memoir

Katrina Shawver Author Of Henry: A Polish Swimmer's True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America

From my list on Poland and it's people during World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, lifelong history geek, and relentlessly curious about finding unknown stories. In 2002 I met Henry Zguda, an eighty-five-year-old Polish Catholic who survived three years in Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War II. He lived a mile from my house. Intrigued, I soon offered to write his incredible story. I am not Polish and knew little of Poland or Polish history when I began. This led to over ten years of research on Poland, World War II, and the Holocaust. My friendship with Henry changed the direction of my life and gave me keen insight into the plight of Poles, both Jewish and Christian, during World War II. Thousands of memoirs and books exist on the Holocaust. I believe the inspiring stories of Poles and other victims of Hitler and Stalin deserve equally widespread recognition.

Katrina's book list on Poland and it's people during World War 2

Katrina Shawver Why did Katrina love this book?

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.

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. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

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…


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

Ori Yehudai Author Of Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II

From my list on modern Jewish migration and displacement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at The Ohio State University. When I started my academic studies in Israel, I was initially interested in European history and only later began focusing on Jewish and Israeli history. I’m not exactly sure what attracted me to this career, but it’s probably the desire to better understand my own society and identity. I enjoy studying migration because it has played such an important role in Israeli and Jewish history, and even in my own life as an “academic wanderer.” Migration also provides a fascinating perspective on the links between large-scale historical events and the lives of individuals, and on the relationships between physical place, movement, and identity. 

Ori's book list on modern Jewish migration and displacement

Ori Yehudai Why did Ori love this book?

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. 

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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