100 books like I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors

By Bernice Eisenstein,

Here are 100 books that I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors fans have personally recommended if you like I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors. 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 Children of the Holocaust: Conversations with Sons and Daughters of Survivors

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 found this book decades ago symbolically languishing on a remainders table in the back of Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley. I nearly fainted when I read the title. Could this book be about me and others like me, members of a generation that wasn’t supposed to be born? This groundbreaking book, considered the Bible of children of Holocaust survivors, gives voice to the multigenerational impact of the Holocaust which we, the second generation, inherited directly from our parents who were the lucky few to survive while two-thirds of European Jewry was wiped out. As a psychotherapist, I have recommended this book to clients and their partners to better understand family dynamics, grief, trauma, resiliency, and determination to create a better world.

By Helen Epstein,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Children of the Holocaust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I set out to find a group of people who, like me, were possessed by a history they had never lived."

The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Helen Epstein traveled from America to Europe to Israel, searching for one vital thin in common: their parent's persecution by the Nazis. She found:

* Gabriela Korda, who was raised by her parents as a German Protestant in South America;
* Albert Singerman, who fought in the jungles of Vietnam to prove that he, too, could survive a grueling ordeal;
* Deborah Schwartz, a Southern beauty queen who-at the Miss America pageant, played the…


Book cover of Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory

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?

Back in the late ‘80s, I was at a small gathering of daughters of Holocaust survivors and next to me sat Elizabeth Rosner. As we each said something about our family’s history, Liz read a poem about her survivor father that vibrated with such resonance with me, and I knew I was in the presence of a gifted writer. Rosner went on to publish poetry and novels, and in this work of non-fiction that is lyrically and evocatively written, she confronts personal history and its aftermath while also exploring similar legacies of descendants of other atrocities that have left their multigenerational impact. Her “Alphabet of Inadequate Language” is alone worth the price of admission.

By Elizabeth Rosner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Survivor Café as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As featured on NPR and in The New York Times, Survivor Cafe is a bold work of nonfiction that examines the ways that survivors, witnesses, and post-war generations talk about and shape traumatic experiences.

As firsthand survivors of many of the twentieth century's most monumental events―the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Killing Fields―begin to pass away, Survivor Café addresses urgent questions: How do we carry those stories forward? How do we collectively ensure that the horrors of the past are not forgotten?

Elizabeth Rosner organizes her book around three trips with her father to Buchenwald concentration camp―in 1983, in 1995, and in…


Book cover of The Inheritors: Moving Forward from Generational Trauma

Ettie Zilber Author Of A Holocaust Memoir of Love & Resilience: Mama's Survival from Lithuania to America

From my list on intergenerational trauma after genocides.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War 2, Ettie immigrated with her parents to the USA. She grew up and was educated in New York City and Pennsylvania and immigrated to Israel after completing graduate school. After retiring from a career in international schools in 6 countries, she currently resides in Arizona with her husband. She is a Board member for the Phoenix Holocaust Association and devotes much time to giving presentations to youth and adults worldwide.

Ettie's book list on intergenerational trauma after genocides

Ettie Zilber Why did Ettie love this book?

This is an excellent book that speaks to those who have inherited trauma from their ancestors. While Baack uses ample research and narratives about the victims of the Holocaust, the book is relevant for other descendants of long or short-lasting, acknowledged or non-acknowledged traumas, including: victims of genocides, ethnic cleansings, refugee camp residents, racism, wars, and other forms of victimization or natural disasters - and - their witnesses. Based on interviews with many descendants of trauma, the author focuses on giving the ‘inheritors’ a platform to describe, not only, their parents’ histories, but mostly their own. The book is instructional, as she also includes questions for individual or group reflection. The author’s emphasis on the non-pathological perspective is both productive and a relief, including chapters on resilience, post-traumatic grown, epigenetics, and more.

I am passionate about the book because I am a child of Holocaust survivors. Over many years, I…

By Gita Arian Baack,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Our family legacies, both positive and negative, are passed down from one generation to the next in ways that are not fully understood. This secondary form of trauma, which Gita Baack calls "Inherited Trauma," has not received adequate attention-a failing that perpetuates cycles of pain, hatred, and violence. In The Inheritors, readers are given the opportunity to reflect on the inherited burdens they carry, as well as the resilience that has given them the power of survival. Through engaging stories and unique concepts, readers will learn new ways to explore the unknowns in their legacies, reflect on questions that are…


Book cover of In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Second Generation

Ettie Zilber Author Of A Holocaust Memoir of Love & Resilience: Mama's Survival from Lithuania to America

From my list on intergenerational trauma after genocides.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War 2, Ettie immigrated with her parents to the USA. She grew up and was educated in New York City and Pennsylvania and immigrated to Israel after completing graduate school. After retiring from a career in international schools in 6 countries, she currently resides in Arizona with her husband. She is a Board member for the Phoenix Holocaust Association and devotes much time to giving presentations to youth and adults worldwide.

Ettie's book list on intergenerational trauma after genocides

Ettie Zilber Why did Ettie love this book?

If Epstein’s book, published in 1979, was the first expose about the commonalities among the children of the Holocaust, Hass’ book was the second. Hass succeeded in melding oral history, memoir, and his professions as a clinical psychologist and university professor. This book is helpful, not only to those of the second generation, but to mental health professionals, as well. It was also helpful to me, as it explained the unique, and often difficult, relationship between the survivor parents and their children.

I am passionate about the book because as a child of survivors, I have also had to grapple with the effects of my parents’ trauma. Of course, as a young child, I had no idea that my parents’ behaviors were special or different. It was only at an older age, I began noticing the differences between the atmosphere and attitudes in my home vs. those of my friends.…

By Aaron Hass,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The most important event in my life occurred before I was born,' one child of concentration camp survivors has observed. The Holocaust did not end with the liberation of survivors after the collapse of the Third Reich, for the legacy of their suffering extends to a generation that never faced an SS storm- trooper. With a rich blend of oral history, memoir, and psychological interpretation, Aaron Hass deepens our understanding of the price of that legacy for the second generation. What are the effects of growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust? Drawing on interviews and survey materials, Aaron…


Book cover of The Redhead of Auschwitz: A True Story

Oren Schneider Author Of The Apprentice of Buchenwald: The True Story of the Teenage Boy Who Sabotaged Hitler's War Machine

From my list on individual bravery and triumph over evil during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Israel, a third generation to holocaust survivors and seventh generation to farmers from the Galilee, living with my family in Brooklyn, NY. I was raised by a concentration camp survivor grandfather, whose miraculous story I recorded and documented since early childhood. My painful family heritage made me passionate about 1930s and 1940s Europe, social and political processes that allowed fascism and nationalism to prevail over the frail democracies, and how ordinary people found their world shattered overnight, and had to find ways to stay alive. The books on my list represent small stories, about the human condition under inhumane conditions, told by talented storytellers. 

Oren's book list on individual bravery and triumph over evil during WWII

Oren Schneider Why did Oren love this book?

I appreciated how the author, a fellow Brooklynite, interlaces chronological vignettes of the good times, and happy days in a Romanian town, alongside the hellish experiences at Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

The contrasts are heartbreaking and help put the story into historical context. Her style is very touching, and her sensitivity allows the reader to absorb the very difficult details.  

By Nechama Birnbaum,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Redhead of Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Rosie was always told her red hair was a curse, but she never believed it. She often dreamed what it would look like under a white veil with the man of her dreams by her side. However, her life takes a harrowing turn in 1944 when she is forced out of her home and sent to the most gruesome of places: Auschwitz.

Upon arrival, Rosie’s head is shaved and along with the loss of her beautiful hair, she loses the life she once cherished. Among the chaos and surrounded by hopelessness, Rosie realizes the only thing the Nazis cannot take…


Book cover of The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between

Rebecca Erbelding Author Of Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe

From my list on the Holocaust and the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who specializes in the American response to the Holocaust. Growing up, I remember being confused—it seemed like the United States knew nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews—or it knew everything!—but either way, the US didn’t do anything to help. And that didn’t make sense with what I knew about the United States, a country that never speaks with one voice on any issue. And as I dug in, I learned that this is a fascinating, infuriating, nuanced history full of very familiar-sounding struggles over whether and how the country will live up to the ideals we claim for ourselves. 

Rebecca's book list on the Holocaust and the United States

Rebecca Erbelding Why did Rebecca love this book?

The Unwanted is perhaps the best all-around book explaining the crisis faced by Jewish refugees trying to escape to the United States. Dobbs merges the intimate histories of members of the Jewish community in the small German town of Kippenheim, the work of the US State Department officials in Germany and France, American refugee aid workers, and President Roosevelt. By utilizing both personal and official sources, Dobbs allows all the people he writes about to speak for themselves. It’s beautifully written and heartbreaking, and whatever you think about this history when you start the book, those thoughts will be more nuanced and complicated when you’re finished.

By Michael Dobbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a riveting story of Jewish families seeking to escape Nazi Germany.

In 1938, on the eve of World War II, the American journalist Dorothy Thompson wrote that "a piece of paper with a stamp on it" was "the difference between life and death." The Unwanted is the intimate account of a small village on the edge of the Black Forest whose Jewish families desperately pursued American visas to flee the Nazis. Battling formidable bureaucratic obstacles, some make it to the United States while others are unable to obtain the necessary…


Book cover of One of the Girls in the Band: The Memoirs of a Violinist from Birkenau

Susan J. Eischeid Author Of Mistress Of Life And Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

From my list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been drawn to the Holocaust ever since a school project in the tenth grade. Later, as I worked to become a professional musician, the passion to learn more about the topic never left me. When I was first asked to perform some music of the Holocaust, the reaction of the audience (tears) and my own realization that through the power of this music, I could return a voice to so many who had their own voices so cruelly silenced changed my life. To date, I have interviewed multiple survivors of the Holocaust. Many became very dear friends, and my life has been infinitely enriched by knowing them. 

Susan's book list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost

Susan J. Eischeid Why did Susan love this book?

I love this memoir because the author was a very dear and cherished friend.

I first met Helena, already quite elderly, when I was interviewing former members of the Auschwitz-Birkenau women’s orchestra. Over the next several years, we built a warm friendship, with Helena helping me every step of the way with her discerning criticisms and fierce quest for remembrance and truth.

Years later, I was desperate for her to remain alive long enough to see publication of the book we were working on. Literally, on her deathbed, I was sending parts of the manuscript to the hospital in Poland. Miraculously, she rallied to give feedback and corrections. Helena lived another two years and died at the age of 102. This is the autobiography of my dear friend.

By Helena Dunicz Niwińska,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One of the Girls in the Band as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Helena Dunicz Niwińska was born in Vienna in 1915. She lived with her parents and brothers in her hometown of Lwów until 1943. At the age of 10, she began learning to play the violin at the conservatory of the Polish Musical Society. She studied pedagogy from 1934 to 1939, continuing her musical education the whole time. After their arrest in January 1943 and incarceration in Łącki Prison, she and her mother were deported to Auschwitz in October 1943. In Birkenau, she was a member of the women's orchestra—as a violinist—until January 1945. After being evacuated to the Ravensbrück and…


Book cover of The Auschwitz Album: The Story of a Transport

Susan J. Eischeid Author Of Mistress Of Life And Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

From my list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been drawn to the Holocaust ever since a school project in the tenth grade. Later, as I worked to become a professional musician, the passion to learn more about the topic never left me. When I was first asked to perform some music of the Holocaust, the reaction of the audience (tears) and my own realization that through the power of this music, I could return a voice to so many who had their own voices so cruelly silenced changed my life. To date, I have interviewed multiple survivors of the Holocaust. Many became very dear friends, and my life has been infinitely enriched by knowing them. 

Susan's book list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost

Susan J. Eischeid Why did Susan love this book?

I am anguished by and drawn to this book because the many photographs are so compelling and unique.

Discovered after the war, this collection of images from a Nazi’s photo album detailing the killing process at Auschwitz is, quite simply, extraordinary. Nothing else I have seen illustrates the casualness and ‘normality’ with which the persons who administered Hitler’s policies in the camps viewed their jobs and the sheer mechanization of the killing process.

I knew these things existed better than most, but seeing the visual evidence is, for me, revelatory.

By Israel Guttman (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This album, an extraordinary find, was originally discovered during the tumult of the first days after the liberation. It reveals how two SS photographers documented the arrival of shipments of Jews to the platform in the Birkenau concentration camp, the selection process, and their path to the gas chambers and the crematoria. The photographs also memorialize the piles of possessions left by the Jews which were sorted in the 'Canada' Barracks. They are accompanied by three articles that describe the development of the camp, the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry, and the story of how the album was found; a fourth…


Book cover of The Power of Forgiveness

Ellen Cassedy Author Of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust

From my list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ellen Cassedy explores the ways that people, and countries, can engage with the difficult truths of the Holocaust in order to build a better future. She researched Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage, including the Holocaust, for ten years. Her book breaks new ground by shining a spotlight on how brave people – Jews and non-Jews – are facing the past and building mutual understanding. Cassedy is the winner of numerous awards and a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, and Yiddish language and literature.  

Ellen's book list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust

Ellen Cassedy Why did Ellen love this book?

Eva Mozes Kor was ten years old when she was sent to Auschwitz. As a survivor, she became an eloquent – and controversial – activist on behalf of forgiveness.  Her book tells the gripping story of how she freed herself from the burden of hatred.  Not everyone will agree with her stance, but everyone will be challenged and moved by it.

By Eva Mozes Kor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when she was sent to Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were murdered there, she and her twin sister Miriam were subjected to medical experiments at the hands of Dr. Joseph Mengele. Later on, when Miriam fell ill due to the long-term effects of the experiments, Eva embarked on a search for their torturers. But what she discovered was the remedy for her troubled soul; she was able to forgive them.

Told through anecdotes and in response to letters and questions at her public appearances, she imparts a powerful lesson…


Book cover of On the Borderline of Extermination: A Narrative of Inhumanity

Mirla G. Raz Author Of The Birds Sang Eulogies: A Memoir

From my list on the Holocaust and remembering the world's failure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always known that my parents survived the Holocaust. I often listened in when they, my aunt, uncle, and their survivor friends would sit and talk of their lives during the Holocaust. I am the past president for the Phoenix Holocaust Survivor’s Association (now called the Phoenix Holocaust Association) and am on its Board and the Chair of its Education Committee. During this year of Covid, I have been instrumental in hosting numerous writers from around the world who have spoken, in Zoom, about their Holocaust writings and research.

Mirla's book list on the Holocaust and remembering the world's failure

Mirla G. Raz Why did Mirla love this book?

No one can truly know what life was like for Jews under the Nazis. We cannot feel the constant terror and inhumanity imposed upon their Jewish victims. We cannot hear their constant pleas, moans, and screams. We cannot smell the stench of filth, sickness, and death. Nevertheless, Joseph Gershowitz manages to take us as close as we can to his suffering in his absolutely riveting first-hand account of life in the Nazi’s concentration camps. On the Borderline of Extermination is a must-read for understanding the cruelty, barbarism, and inhumanity of the Germans and their all too willing helpers.

By Joseph Gershkowitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Borderline of Extermination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A true story of strategy and survival as told by Joseph Gershkowitz (AUSCHWITZ HÄFTLING 99310). With this inspiring story of innate knowledge and determination, Mr. Gershkowitz paints a vivid picture of the atrocities of the Holocaust as seen through his eyes. With that, 100% of the proceeds will be split and donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in tribute of Joseph Gershkowitz to ensure the memory of the Holocaust is never forgotten & the Women for Women International organization that works to support marginalized women in countries that have been severely affected by conflict and war.


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