100 books like My German Question

By Peter Gay,

Here are 100 books that My German Question fans have personally recommended if you like My German Question. 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 Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II

Jeffrey H. Jackson Author Of Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis

From my list on challenge how your think about WWII in europe.

Who am I?

Jeffrey H. Jackson is a prolific author and award-winning Professor of History at Rhodes College. He has written several books about the history of Europe including Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis, Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910, and Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, CNN.com, TheHill.com, HistoryNewsNetwork.com, and in numerous other publications.

Jeffrey's book list on challenge how your think about WWII in europe

Jeffrey H. Jackson Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Leaders, soldiers, and civilians around the world faced a dizzying array of ethical dilemmas during the course of the conflict. From the decision to drop the atomic bomb and making alliances with dictators to the role of kamikaze pilots and war crimes trials, Bess considers the ethics of warfare from multiple viewpoints. He shakes up our conventional wisdom about wartime decision making and shows how the legacies of those choices remain with us today.

By Michael Bess,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Choices Under Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World War II was the quintessential “good war.” It was not, however, a conflict free of moral ambiguity, painful dilemmas, and unavoidable compromises. Was the bombing of civilian populations in Germany and Japan justified? Were the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials legally scrupulous? What is the legacy bequeathed to the world by Hiroshima? With wisdom and clarity, Michael Bess brings a fresh eye to these difficult questions and others, arguing eloquently against the binaries of honor and dishonor, pride and shame, and points instead toward a nuanced reckoning with one of the most pivotal conflicts in human history.


Book cover of Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Who am I?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

I have known for a long time that the persecution of the Jews in Nazi-occupied France was not the sole prerogative of the Germans and that much of the French establishment enthusiastically involved itself in the betrayal, detection, removal, and elimination of Jewish citizens, including children.

What I found out, through this book is that amidst the prevailing anti-Semitism, there were those willing to put their own lives at risk in order to save those of others. 

This book is the true story of almost an entire community in an isolated village who sheltered Jewish children until they could be shepherded across the border and into Switzerland, despite the fact that the Swiss made every attempt to thwart them!

By Caroline Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2014

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the extraordinary story of a French village that helped save thousands who were pursued by the Gestapo during World War II.

High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lies a cluster of tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Nazi occupation, the inhabitants of the Plateau Vivarais Lignon saved several thousand people from the concentration camps. As the victims of Nazi persecution flooded…


Book cover of The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals

Jeffrey H. Jackson Author Of Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis

From my list on challenge how your think about WWII in europe.

Who am I?

Jeffrey H. Jackson is a prolific author and award-winning Professor of History at Rhodes College. He has written several books about the history of Europe including Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis, Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910, and Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, CNN.com, TheHill.com, HistoryNewsNetwork.com, and in numerous other publications.

Jeffrey's book list on challenge how your think about WWII in europe

Jeffrey H. Jackson Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Hitler had ambivalent feelings about gay men, but Heinrich Himmler did not. The SS leader spearheaded the Nazi persecution of homosexuality in an effort to root out a perceived corruption that he believed was incompatible with the hyper-masculine doctrine of Nazism. A direct response to a flourishing gay culture in the 1920s and the medical study of “sexology,” gay men were rounded up and forced to wear the pink triangle as a sign of what the Nazis called their “degeneracy.”

By Richard Plant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first comprehensive book in English on the fate of the homosexuals in Nazi Germany. The author, a German refugee, examines the climate and conditions that gave rise to a vicious campaign against Germany's gays, as directed by Himmler and his SS--persecution that resulted in tens of thousands of arrests and thousands of deaths.

In this Nazi crusade, homosexual prisoners were confined to death camps where, forced to wear pink triangles, they constituted the lowest rung in the camp hierarchy. The horror of camp life is described through diaries, previously untranslated documents, and interviews with and letters from…


Book cover of Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II

Merrill J. Davies Author Of Becoming Jestina

From my list on how women helped win World War II.

Who am I?

After teaching high school English for thirty-one years, I retired and began my second career in writing. I have published five novels and one collection of poetry. When I met Jane Tucker in 1974, she became a good friend, fellow church member, and my dental hygienist. I had no idea she had worked as a welder on Liberty Ships during World War II when she was only sixteen years old. After I learned this in 2012, I began my journey into learning all about the Rosies during World War II and writing my fourth novel Becoming Jestina. Jane’s story is an amazing one, and I still talk to her regularly.

Merrill's book list on how women helped win World War II

Merrill J. Davies Why did Merrill love this book?

I recommend this book because it gives a broader picture of the women who changed the way women participate in society forever. It wasn’t just building bombs, liberty ships, and planes that women had a part in. It was everything! When I’ve talked to women who lived during that time, and when I read this book, I realized how many ways women changed during that period of history.

By Emily Yellin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Our Mothers' War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Our Mothers' War is a stunning and unprecedented portrait of women during World War II, a war that forever transformed the way women participate in American society.

Never before has the vast range of women's experiences during this pivotal era been brought together in one book. Now, Our Mothers' War re-creates what American women from all walks of life were doing and thinking, on the home front and abroad. These heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking accounts of the women we have known as mothers, aunts, and grandmothers reveal facets of their lives that have usually remained unmentioned and unappreciated.

Our Mothers'…


Book cover of The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Author Of Find Me Again: A Rebecca Temple Mystery

From my list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced.

Who am I?

I'm a child of Holocaust survivors who spent three years in slave labour camps. My mother told me stories of her experiences a child should probably not hear. The result is that my philosophy of life, and sometimes my writing, can be dark. It’s no surprise that this period of history imbues my novels. I chose to write mysteries to reach a wider audience, the Holocaust connections integral to the stories. During my research, I discovered a wealth of information on the Holocaust but learned that memoirs revealed best what happened to people on the ground. Memoirs draw you into the microcosm of a person’s life with its nostalgia, yearning, and inevitable heartbreak.

Sylvia's book list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Why did Sylvia love this book?

This unlikely story has a different focus from other Holocaust memoirs. After working in a slave labour camp, Edith Hahn, a Viennese Jew, was ordered to report for transport east, and probable death, but instead went into hiding with a new identity thanks to two Christian friends. Jews hiding in plain sight were called U-boats. Though trained as a lawyer, she worked as an ignorant nurse’s aide in a hospital and met a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. She told him she was Jewish but he wanted to marry her anyway and became both a protector and a constant threat. In an unsentimental style and with surprising dark humour, Hahn has written a gripping account of that period when being found out would have been fatal.

By Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Nazi Officer's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her and her mother into a ghetto, issuing them papers branded with a "J". Soon Edith was taken away to a labour camp and when she returned home after months away she found her mother had been deported. Her boyfriend, Pepi, proved too terrified to help her, but a Christian friend was not. Using the woman's identity papers, she fled to Munich. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who fell in love with her and, despite her protests and even her eventual…


Book cover of Album of My Life

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Author Of Find Me Again: A Rebecca Temple Mystery

From my list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced.

Who am I?

I'm a child of Holocaust survivors who spent three years in slave labour camps. My mother told me stories of her experiences a child should probably not hear. The result is that my philosophy of life, and sometimes my writing, can be dark. It’s no surprise that this period of history imbues my novels. I chose to write mysteries to reach a wider audience, the Holocaust connections integral to the stories. During my research, I discovered a wealth of information on the Holocaust but learned that memoirs revealed best what happened to people on the ground. Memoirs draw you into the microcosm of a person’s life with its nostalgia, yearning, and inevitable heartbreak.

Sylvia's book list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Why did Sylvia love this book?

Ann Szedlecki’s richly detailed memoir starts: “I am the daughter of nobody... Who am I? My past is gone, disappeared.” As a student in my writing class for seniors, her slightly-accented voice read out excerpts of her poignant manuscript. How do you remember all this, I used to ask. She would just smile sadly. Her story begins in pre-war Poland, showing us the loving family later destroyed. When the Nazis invade, Jews are beaten and killed at random in the streets. At fourteen, she and her older brother head east to the Soviet Union, ending up in Siberia. A gifted writer, she depicts the brutality of life in a labour camp but also the kindness of strangers; then the heartbreaking description of returning to Poland to find none of her family survived.  

By Ann Szedlecki,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ann Szedlecki was a Hollywood-film-loving fourteen-year-old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and she fled to the Soviet Union with her older brother, hoping to return for the rest of her family later. Instead, she ended up spending most of the next six and a half years alone in the Soviet Union, enduring the harsh conditions of northern Siberia under Stalin’s Communist regime. Szedlecki’s beautifully written story, which lovingly reconstructs her pre-war childhood in Lodz, is also compelling for its candour about her experiences as a woman in the Soviet Union during World War II. As a very young…


Book cover of If Only It Were Fiction

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Author Of Find Me Again: A Rebecca Temple Mystery

From my list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced.

Who am I?

I'm a child of Holocaust survivors who spent three years in slave labour camps. My mother told me stories of her experiences a child should probably not hear. The result is that my philosophy of life, and sometimes my writing, can be dark. It’s no surprise that this period of history imbues my novels. I chose to write mysteries to reach a wider audience, the Holocaust connections integral to the stories. During my research, I discovered a wealth of information on the Holocaust but learned that memoirs revealed best what happened to people on the ground. Memoirs draw you into the microcosm of a person’s life with its nostalgia, yearning, and inevitable heartbreak.

Sylvia's book list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Why did Sylvia love this book?

Elsa Thon recounts her war experiences in a cinematic tale with the eye of an artist. A teenager in Poland who had apprenticed in photo retouching, she was recruited by the Jewish underground. She left her family behind in the Warsaw Ghetto, ending up in Krakow with false papers. This was difficult for her, a deeply honest person. She writes, “I lied all the time.” She takes the reader with her on her dangerous journey, the degradation of a labour camp, and a forced march. Elsa was also a student in my seniors writing class and I found her to be generous and good-humoured, despite her painful past. She lost her whole family in the Holocaust but she writes that it was her “destiny” to survive. 

By Elsa Thon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Only It Were Fiction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elsa Thon was a sixteen-year-old photographer's apprentice when the Nazis occupied her town of Pruszków, Poland. When her family was sent to the Warsaw ghetto, Elsa joined a community farm and was recruited by the Underground. Despite her deep belief in destiny, Elsa refused to bow to her fate as a Jew in war-torn Poland.


Book cover of After Long Silence

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Author Of Find Me Again: A Rebecca Temple Mystery

From my list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced.

Who am I?

I'm a child of Holocaust survivors who spent three years in slave labour camps. My mother told me stories of her experiences a child should probably not hear. The result is that my philosophy of life, and sometimes my writing, can be dark. It’s no surprise that this period of history imbues my novels. I chose to write mysteries to reach a wider audience, the Holocaust connections integral to the stories. During my research, I discovered a wealth of information on the Holocaust but learned that memoirs revealed best what happened to people on the ground. Memoirs draw you into the microcosm of a person’s life with its nostalgia, yearning, and inevitable heartbreak.

Sylvia's book list on Holocaust memoirs to understand what real people experienced

Sylvia Maultash Warsh Why did Sylvia love this book?

Helen Fremont has managed to write a memoir that reads like detective fiction. All she and her sister Lara knew of their Polish parents’ past was that they had survived Siberia and a concentration camp. The sisters were raised Catholic and it’s not until Fremont is an adult in Boston that she discovers the family is Jewish. Slowly piecing the past together, the sisters find out that after great trauma, their parents constructed post-war identities hiding their Jewishness. This story interested me because I had a Hungarian friend in university who was brought up in a convent but who learned as an adult that she was Jewish. In my youth I struggled to understand; this book gave me insight.

By Helen Fremont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After Long Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Fascinating . . . A tragic saga, but at the same time it often reads like a thriller filled with acts of extraordinary courage, descriptions of dangerous journeys and a series of secret identities.”—Chicago Tribune

“To this day, I don't even know what my mother's real name is.”

Helen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic. It wasn't until she was an adult, practicing law in Boston, that she discovered her parents were Jewish—Holocaust survivors living invented lives. Not even their names were their own. In this powerful memoir, Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her family in…


Book cover of Berlin for Jews: A Twenty-First-Century Companion

Dina Gold Author Of Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin

From my list on Berlin and its history.

Who am I?

Dina Gold is the author of Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin. After postgraduate degrees from London and Oxford universities, Dina spent over twenty years working as an investigative journalist and television producer at the BBC in London. She now lives in Washington DC and is a senior editor and film critic at Moment magazine.

Dina's book list on Berlin and its history

Dina Gold Why did Dina love this book?

If you are Jewish and have ambivalent feelings about visiting Berlin, then this could be the book for you.  Leonard Barkan is a professor at Princeton where he teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature. A Jewish American, growing up in a secular New York family, his book is a personal reflection on traveling in the city. 

Berlin for Jews is part history and part travel guide.  Barkan shows how, in the early nineteenth century, Jews dominated the arts, sciences, and public life and the way in which, despite the horrors of the Nazi era, they left an indelible imprint on the Berlin of today.  The book, described as a “love letter” to the city, takes the reader through some of the most iconic locations of Jewish life and describes the long-lost elegant Jewish suburbs, salons, writers, artists, politicians, philanthropists, art collectors, and intellectuals. And throughout, Barkan muses on what…

By Leonard Barkan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is it like to travel to Berlin today, particularly as a Jew, and bring with you the baggage of history? And what happens when an American Jew, raised by a secular family, falls in love with Berlin not in spite of his being a Jew but because of it? The answer is Berlin for Jews. Part history and part travel companion, Leonard Barkan's personal love letter to the city shows how its long Jewish heritage, despite the atrocities of the Nazi era, has left an inspiring imprint on the vibrant metropolis of today. Barkan, voraciously curious and witty, offers…


Book cover of Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman

Peter Wortsman Author Of Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray

From my list on capturing the spirit of Berlin.

Who am I?

The American-born son of Jewish refugees, I would have every reason to revile the erstwhile capital of The Third Reich. But ever since my first visit, as a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, Berlin, a city painfully honest about its past, captured my imagination. A bilingual, English-German author of fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, travel memoir, and translations from the German, Ghost Dance in Berlin charts my take as a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in a villa on Wannsee, Berlin’s biggest lake, an experience marked by memorable encounters with derelicts, lawyers, a taxi driver, a hooker, et al, and with cameo appearances by Henry Kissinger and the ghost of Marlene Dietrich.

Peter's book list on capturing the spirit of Berlin

Peter Wortsman Why did Peter love this book?

This idiosyncratic biography of Rahel Levin Varnhagen, a 19th-century German-Jewish Berlin literary salon hostess may at first seem esoteric to the general reader. A prickly, contradictory character, Arendt’s portrayal of Rahel’s outsider status as a Jew in a largely hostile Christian society, her proto-feminist self-affirmation of her womanhood at a time when women were essentially groomed for marriage, and her paradoxical mix of intellectual self-assurance and crippling emotional insecurities make for a riveting read. You don’t have to be Jewish or a woman to appreciate the complexities of this prototypical Berliner.

By Hannah Arendt, Clara Winston (translator), Richard Winston (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born in 1771 as the daughter of a Jewish merchant, Rahel Varnhagen would come to host one of the most prominent salons of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hannah Arendt discovered her writings some time in the mid-1920s, and soon began to re-imagine Rachel's inner life and write her biography. Arendt draws a lively and complex portrait of a woman during the period of the Napoleonic wars and the early emancipation of the Jews, a figure who met and corresponded with some of the most celebrated authors, artists, and politicians of her time. She documents Rahel's attempts to…


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