10 books like The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings

By Klaas Smelik,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum's Writings. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Night

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Book cover of Night

Night, is, of course, seminal Holocaust reading, and would top any list no matter what said list is titled. It is really that core to the curriculum, you could say. For me, it’s the Holocaust through the lens of a teenager facing loss. In a world where Gen Z, Y, and X are miscommunicating with each of their generational forebears, it is worth pausing to read this and empathize with the loss of family, and the loss and hollowing out of the self. “What is happening to me? What is happening here? What is this personal hell” rings throughout. It is well worth noting that the original manuscript was filled with rage, and accusations against the creator. You get hints of that as you’re reading, and it is enough to feel that as an undercurrent to what was edited into a memoir of contemplation, rather than anger, but the…

Night

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…


The Search

By Gerhard Durlacher, Susan Massotty (translator),

Book cover of The Search: The Birkenau Boys

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.…

The Search

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.


Max and Helen

By Simon Wiesenthal,

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

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.

Max and Helen

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


The Murderers Among Us

By Simon Wiesenthal,

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

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. 

The Murderers Among Us

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


The Colored Conventions Movement

By P. Gabrielle Foreman (editor), Jim Casey (editor), Sarah Lynn Patterson (editor)

Book cover of The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century

The story of how this book came to be is almost as interesting as the story it tells. Emerging from a class discussion at the University of Delaware, the Colored Conventions Project developed into an award-winning international digital initiative involving community partners representing a broad range of churches, schools, and other organizations. These collaborative efforts led to an historic conference that led, in turn, to this book, in which various contributors address different aspects of the Colored Conventions Movement, a series of state and national gatherings that took place throughout the nineteenth century to work towards strengthened communities and social reform. These conventions both represented and encouraged the larger community-development project that took place nationally, and it’s a revelation to discover this great foundation of African American activism, a collaborative effort being continued today by the ambitious project this book represents.

The Colored Conventions Movement

By P. Gabrielle Foreman (editor), Jim Casey (editor), Sarah Lynn Patterson (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume of essays is the first to focus on the Colored Conventions movement, the nineteenth century's longest campaign for Black civil rights. Well before the founding of the NAACP and other twentieth-century pillars of the civil rights movement, tens of thousands of Black leaders organized state and national conventions across North America. Over seven decades, they advocated for social justice and against slavery, protesting state-sanctioned and mob violence while demanding voting, legal, labor, and educational rights. While Black-led activism in this era is often overshadowed by the attention paid to the abolition movement, this collection centers Black activist networks,…


Spy Chiefs

By Christopher Moran (editor), Mark Stout (editor), Ioanna Iordanou (editor), Paul Maddrell (editor)

Book cover of Spy Chiefs: Volume 1: Intelligence Leaders in the United States and United Kingdom

I think it is important to consider how leaders shape organizations and how the evolution of an organization might have been different under another person. To appreciate how/why intelligence organizations evolved we must appreciate the influence of intelligence leaders. For example, John Deutch and Stanfield Turner not only created tension within the CIA during their tenure, but their poor decisions affected the organization long after their departure. This edited volume looks at the personalities of U.S. and U.K. intelligence leaders and their influence on intelligence. Although the book touches on some of the more familiar names such as Wild Bill Donovan, its authors also explore lesser-known leaders whose influence on their organization and the broader community was significant. A must-read for anyone wanting to appreciate how individuals shape intelligence! I also encourage you to pick up volume 2 to learn about intelligence leaders throughout the world.

Spy Chiefs

By Christopher Moran (editor), Mark Stout (editor), Ioanna Iordanou (editor), Paul Maddrell (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In literature and film the spy chief is an all-knowing, all-powerful figure who masterfully moves spies into action like pieces on a chessboard. How close to reality is that depiction, and what does it really take to be an effective leader in the world of intelligence? This first volume of Spy Chiefs broadens and deepens our understanding of the role of intelligence leaders in foreign affairs and national security in the United States and United Kingdom from the early 1940s to the present. The figures profiled range from famous spy chiefs such as William Donovan, Richard Helms, and Stewart Menzies…


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.


The Sisters of Auschwitz

By Roxane van Iperen,

Book cover of The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters' Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory

An incredibly powerful book that sheds light on Jewish Resistance in the Netherlands, by two women. Both topics are rare and especially the combination of them. The style of narrative non-fiction is brilliantly chosen. The book is historically informative and accurate, but told with the arts and craft of a novelist. A New York Times bestseller. This is exactly what my platform ‘Sophie’s Women of War’ sheds light on. 

The Sisters of Auschwitz

By Roxane van Iperen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller

The unforgettable story of two unsung heroes of World War II: sisters Janny and Lien Brilleslijper who joined the Dutch Resistance, helped save dozen of lives, were captured by the Nazis, and ultimately survived the Holocaust.

Eight months after Germany’s invasion of Poland, the Nazis roll into The Netherlands, expanding their reign of brutality to the Dutch. But by the Winter of 1943, resistance is growing. Among those fighting their brutal Nazi occupiers are two Jewish sisters, Janny and Lien Brilleslijper from Amsterdam. Risking arrest and death, the sisters help save others, sheltering them in…


Ashes in the Wind

By Jacob Presser,

Book cover of Ashes in the Wind: The Destruction of Dutch Jewry

The late Jacob Presser (1899-1970) was a historian, scholar, and a Holocaust survivor himself. His wife was deported and died, and he survived by going into hiding He spent fifteen years researching the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the plight of the Dutch Jews.

He speaks movingly of finding small scraps of paper, messages thrown from trains leaving Westerbork (an internment camp and later a transit camp in the Netherlands), noting that “Before me, hardly anyone has read them and, after me, they are locked into the archives and it’s possible nobody else will see them.” They awoke in him, he said, an awareness that one of the tasks of the historian is to “give the dead a voice.”

Ashes in the Wind

By Jacob Presser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning in 1940, 110,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands to concentration camps. Of those, fewer than 6,000 returned.

Ashes in the Wind is a story of murder on a scale never known before. It is a monumental history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a detailed and moving description of how the Nazi party first discriminated against Jews, before segregating them and finally deporting them to the gas chambers (a process fully outlined in the mass of administrative documents discovered by Dr Presser).

At a time when there are increasingly few survivors of the Holocaust, the eye-witness…


Anne Frank

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart,

Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

This list would not be complete without Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. I immediately fell in love with Anne when I read this classic book at a young age. Perhaps the quintessential story of a young girl coming-of-age during the Holocaust, the story unfolds through the letters 13-year-old Anne writes to her diary, whom she has named “Kitty.” Despite being hidden away from the world during her most formative years because she is Jewish, Anne experiences all the normal feelings and emotions of any teenage girl. Living in dire conditions and in constant danger of being discovered, Anne dreams of her future, is moody and temperamental, experiences young love, and dares to hold onto hope. It is a timeless story that shows that no matter our background, ethnicity, religion, or race, we are more alike than different. It also highlights the strength of familial bonds and…

Anne Frank

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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