100 books like Three Minutes in Poland

By Glenn Kurtz,

Here are 100 books that Three Minutes in Poland fans have personally recommended if you like Three Minutes in Poland. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Alex's Wake: The Tragic Voyage of the St. Louis to Flee Nazi Germany-And a Grandson's Journey of Love and Remembrance

Carolyn Porter Author Of Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate

From my list on WWII family searches.

Who am I?

Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer, type designer, and unapologetic lover of old handwriting. “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and The Search for One Man’s Fate” recounts Porter’s obsessive search to learn about Marcel Heuzé, a French forced laborer who mailed love letters to his wife and daughters from a Nazi labor camp in Berlin—letters Porter found 60 years later at an antique store in Minnesota. Porter’s book was awarded gold medals from Independent Publisher and The Military Writers Society of America, and was a finalist for a 2018 Minnesota Book Award.

Carolyn's book list on WWII family searches

Carolyn Porter Why did Carolyn love this book?

In 1939, Goldsmith’s grandfather and uncle were passengers on the St. Louis and hoped to receive asylum from the mounting threats of Nazi Germany. The St. Louis was turned away from Cuba, the United States, then Canada, and its passengers returned to Europe. In this book, Goldsmith recounted his six-week journey across Europe to retrace the final steps of his grandfather and uncle’s long and harrowing journey. It’s a powerful memoir that has stayed with me years after reading it.

By Martin Goldsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alex's Wake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alex's Wake is a tale of two parallel journeys undertaken seven decades apart. In the spring of 1939, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt were two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis , the saddest ship afloat" ( New York Times ). Turned away from Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the St. Louis returned to Europe, a stark symbol of the world's indifference to the gathering Holocaust. The Goldschmidts disembarked in France, where they spent the next three years in six different camps before being shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz.In the spring of…


Book cover of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind

Irene Wittig Author Of All That Lingers

From my list on hard times and resilience in the World War II era.

Who am I?

World War II has been the background of my life. My Viennese family fled the Nazi regime. My childhood was peopled with Holocaust survivors and other people displaced by war. My uncle was a refugee and was trained as a Ritchie Boy and sent to war. I have been inspired by how people can survive traumatic times and come out stronger and kinder.

Irene's book list on hard times and resilience in the World War II era

Irene Wittig Why did Irene love this book?

A poignant, well-written and deeply researched non-fiction story of the author’s search for the girlfriend her grandfather had left behind in Vienna. As my family left Vienna because of the Nazi regime, and my own novel takes place in Vienna, I found Ms. Wildman’s book especially meaningful, raising the question not only of what had happened to the woman but also of how much guilt and responsibility the grandfather carried?

By Sarah Wildman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One woman’s journey to find the lost love her grandfather left behind when he fled pre-World War II Europe, and an exploration into family identity, myth, and memory.

Years after her grandfather’s death, journalist Sarah Wildman stumbled upon a cache of his letters in a file labeled “Correspondence: Patients A–G.” What she found inside weren’t dry medical histories; instead what was written opened a path into the destroyed world that was her family’s prewar Vienna. One woman’s letters stood out: those from Valy—Valerie Scheftel—her grandfather’s lover, who had remained behind when he fled Europe six months after the Nazis annexed…


Book cover of The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War

Carolyn Porter Author Of Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate

From my list on WWII family searches.

Who am I?

Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer, type designer, and unapologetic lover of old handwriting. “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and The Search for One Man’s Fate” recounts Porter’s obsessive search to learn about Marcel Heuzé, a French forced laborer who mailed love letters to his wife and daughters from a Nazi labor camp in Berlin—letters Porter found 60 years later at an antique store in Minnesota. Porter’s book was awarded gold medals from Independent Publisher and The Military Writers Society of America, and was a finalist for a 2018 Minnesota Book Award.

Carolyn's book list on WWII family searches

Carolyn Porter Why did Carolyn love this book?

After Steinman’s parents passed away, she found a trove of WWII-era letters her father wrote along with a silk flag inscribed to a man named Yoshio Shimizu. In this book, Steinman recounted her years-long quest to learn who Shimizu was, a search that resulted in a trip to Japan to return the precious artifact. At the same time, by reading her father’s letters, Steinman discovered a tender and expressive side of her father—a side that had been wiped away by trauma. Steinman’s book shines a light on the universal cost of war.

By Louise Steinman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A soldier’s daughter unravels the secrets of her father’s experience in the Pacific Theater in this “graceful, understated” World War II memoir for fans of The Things They Carried (The New York Times Book Review)
 
Louise Steinman’s American childhood in the fifties was bound by one unequivocal condition: “Never mention the war to your father.” That silence sustained itself until the fateful day Steinman opened an old ammunition box left behind after her parents’ death. In it, she discovered nearly 500 letters her father had written to her mother during his service in the Pacific War and a Japanese flag…


Book cover of Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy

Carolyn Porter Author Of Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate

From my list on WWII family searches.

Who am I?

Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer, type designer, and unapologetic lover of old handwriting. “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and The Search for One Man’s Fate” recounts Porter’s obsessive search to learn about Marcel Heuzé, a French forced laborer who mailed love letters to his wife and daughters from a Nazi labor camp in Berlin—letters Porter found 60 years later at an antique store in Minnesota. Porter’s book was awarded gold medals from Independent Publisher and The Military Writers Society of America, and was a finalist for a 2018 Minnesota Book Award.

Carolyn's book list on WWII family searches

Carolyn Porter Why did Carolyn love this book?

Rynecki’s great-grandfather, Moshe, was a painter who documented moments of Jewish life in the interwar years: women sewing, children playing, wedding celebrations, men in prayer. When WWII broke out Moshe’s paintings were hidden, and afterward only a fraction were recovered. In this book, Rynecki recounted her decades-long quest to locate and archive the lost artwork. It’s a memoir about the lengths one will go to to ensure a lost family legacy will never be forgotten.

By Elizabeth Rynecki,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The memoir of one woman's emotional quest to find the art of her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather, lost during World War II.

Moshe Rynecki's body of work reached close to eight hundred paintings and sculptures before his life came to a tragic end. It was his great-granddaughter Elizabeth who sought to rediscover his legacy, setting upon a journey to seek out what had been lost but never forgotten...

The everyday lives of the Polish-Jewish community depicted in Moshe Rynecki's paintings simply blended into the background of Elizabeth Rynecki's life when she was growing up. But the art transformed from familiar to extraordinary…


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.

Who am I?

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

John R. Cammidge Author Of Abandoned in Berlin: A True Story

From my list on describing restitution experiences after WW2.

Who am I?

World War 2 has always interested me and my curiosity was strengthened a few years ago when my mother told me I was born illegitimate and my father had been the civil engineer building a nearby bomber airfield and a lodger with her parents. She was ashamed of what happened and lost contact with my father before I was born. Consequently, I wrote my first novel Unplanned. I then met the daughter of the Berlin mother in Abandoned in Berlin, and found it natural to pursue this story, given what I had discovered about my own upbringing. The effort has taught me to seek to forgive but never to forget.

John's book list on describing restitution experiences after WW2

John R. Cammidge Why did John love this book?

A true account of how the Nazis confiscated a Berlin business property belonging to a Jewish family and the actions taken to secure restitution. The story has a twist in that the claim for restitution could not be made until after 1989 because the building is located in the Soviet sector of the city.

The property was the business headquarters for a fur company and parts of it were leased. In 1937, the Victoria Insurance Company forecloses on the mortgage and transferred ownership of the building to Hitler’s railway system. The granddaughter investigates her ancestry and the way the building was lost, and then takes up the fight to obtain restitution. After several disappointments, she is successful.

I enjoyed the storyline because it is remarkably similar to what happens in my book. It provides another perspective of how the Nazis confiscated Jewish property, and only by reading books like this…

By Dina Gold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This former BBC journalist's passionate search for justice is a suspenseful confrontation with World War II history. A fascinating journey." Anne-Marie O'Connor, national bestselling author of The Lady in Gold Dina Gold grew up hearing her grandmother's tales of the glamorous life in Berlin she once led before the Nazis came to power and her dreams of recovering a huge building she claimed belonged to the family - though she had no papers to prove ownership. When the Wall fell in 1989, Dina decided to battle for restitution. When the Third Reich was defeated in 1945 the building lay in…


Book cover of The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Donald L. Willerton Author Of Teddy's War

From my list on what our fathers never told us about WWII.

Who am I?

My father never talked about his experiences during the war. After he died at 67, we found his handwritten itinerary of three years and ten days in the Army Signal Corps. Plotting it on a map sparked a passion that continued for years, taking me twice to sites in Europe and through hundreds of records and books. I am amazed at all he never told us—the Queen Mary troopship, his radar unit’s landing on Omaha Beach (D+26), the Normandy Breakout, Paris after liberation, fleeing Bastogne, and so on. I grew up on WWII films but never grasped till now what my dad may have seen. 

Donald's book list on what our fathers never told us about WWII

Donald L. Willerton Why did Donald love this book?

To learn about the Holocaust, I read personal remembrances, eyewitness accounts, and detailed descriptions of ghettos, camps, and transports, but this graphic novel based on Spiegelman’s father captured me like none of the others. Its words tell its terrible story masterfully and its drawings fill in what words can’t say, both as his father lived it and as his son learns about it. Banning it from U.S. schools would be completely wrongheaded. It should be required reading.

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Complete Maus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first and only graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize, MAUS is a brutally moving work of art about a Holocaust survivor -- and the son who survives him

'The first masterpiece in comic book history' The New Yorker

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father's story. Approaching the unspeakable through the diminutive (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father.

Against the backdrop…


Book cover of They Were Like Family to Me: Stories

Sharon Hart-Green Author Of Come Back for Me

From my list on Jewish survival under the Nazis.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to stories about Jewish survival. My mother’s family were Yiddish-speaking Jews from Belarus, and as a child I was often asking questions about what their world was like before it was destroyed. I later studied at Brandeis University where I earned my doctorate in Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, and then taught Jewish Literature at the University of Toronto. When my novel Come Back for Me was published, it felt as though many of my lifelong passions had finally come together in one book. Yet I’m still asking questions. My second novel (almost completed!) continues my quest to further my knowledge of all that was lost.

Sharon's book list on Jewish survival under the Nazis

Sharon Hart-Green Why did Sharon love this book?

When I read They Were Like Family to Me (originally titled In the Land of Armadillos), I came to understand how magic realism can be used to illuminate that which ultimately cannot be described—in this case, the horror of human depravity during the Holocaust.

This technique also reflects the inability of the victims to grasp what is happening around them, causing them to escape into a world of fantasy. The novel is comprised of a series of interconnected tales about victims and perpetrators, with each chapter telling a story that is simultaneously realistic and dreamlike. It is utterly unique and unlike most other books in this genre.

By Helen Maryles Shankman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked They Were Like Family to Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the 2017 Story Prize
Honorable Mention in the 2017 ALA Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish Literature

“An absolutely dazzling triumph…A singularly inventive collection” (Jewish Book Council) of linked stories set in a German-occupied town in Poland during World War II, where tales of myth and folklore meet the real-life monsters of the Nazi invasion.

1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its monstrous power, Hitler’s SS fires up the new crematorium at Auschwitz and the occupying army empties Poland’s towns and cities of their Jewish citizens. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival depends…


Book cover of The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos

Kent Hinckley Author Of Second Chance Against the Third Reich: U.S. Colonel Rescues His Daughter From the Nazis

From my list on World War 2 through the eyes of an individual.

Who am I?

I have studied World War 2 for thirty years not so much about the killing, but to see how the Allies developed strategies to win the battles. So many decisions and so many sacrifices were made which give me pause about how great our leaders were even with their mistakes. They orchestrated the war in a grand panorama as well as focused on tactics to take a key bridge. I served in Vietnam but WW2 was different in almost every way. Recently I have focused on the effects of shell shock (WW1) and battle fatigue (WW2) known today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD remains in the forefront from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. I have even counseled soldiers and families about PTSD.

Kent's book list on World War 2 through the eyes of an individual

Kent Hinckley Why did Kent love this book?

This well-researched and well-written book describes the heroism of Jewish women in Poland during the killing of Jews by the Nazis. Usually, the women get overlooked in war, but in Poland, their bravery and deception along with the men sabotaged the Nazis, and saved Jewish people and families because of incredible sacrifices. Even though the story is non-fiction, it reads as a fast-paced novel. The information was taken from old diaries and out of print books in Yiddish which shed light on the unbelievable war in Poland.

By Judy Batalion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Original and compelling, an untold story of rare and captivating power' Philippe Sands

'A fascinating history about a little-known group who took on the Nazis . . . The individual tales of these courageous young women are remarkable' Independent

'Rescues a long-neglected aspect of history from oblivion, and puts paid to the idea of Jewish, and especially female, passivity during the Holocaust. It is uncompromising, written with passion - and it preserves truly significant knowledge. ... Judy Batalion has uncovered a trove of unknown or forgotten information about the Holocaust of genuine import and impact.'…


Book cover of Kiss Every Step: A Survivor's Memoir from the Nazi Holocaust

Luis Ramirez Arellano Author Of Angel

From my list on human perseverance and the human spirit.

Who am I?

I love stories that show humanity persevering, stories that show life is lived through easy times and hard ones too. I like stories where there is something worth celebrating in everyday life. Stories that remind us we’re just human and that isn’t too bad and that no matter what hell we’re going through, there’s something on the other side worth enduring for. I have a passionate love for stories like this. I always seek out stories that give me a similar feeling. When I write, I try to write stories that make others feel like how I do when I come across a similar story.

Luis' book list on human perseverance and the human spirit

Luis Ramirez Arellano Why did Luis love this book?

A memoir written by a holocaust survivor’s experience, as well as that of her family, Martin tells the story of how the war came to their lives and uprooted their daily lives.

I met Martin when she signed my copy of her book, so this one holds a special place for me. The story is told from multiple perspectives, as Martin and her siblings take turns describing the ordeals they went through both inside concentration camps and out.

Heartbreaking and harrowing at times, the story also makes a point to address things that helped Martin’s family smile in spite of it all. Martin’s story reminds us of why we keep going, as well as shows us how her family endured the six long years of the war. 

By Doris Martin, Ralph S Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kiss Every Step as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The German army swept into Poland on September 1, 1939, and four days later into Dora Szpringer's home town of Bendzin. To begin their reign of terror, the Nazis burned down Bendzin's beautiful synagogue with some 200 helpless Jews inside. Most Jewish families in Bendzin, and rest of Poland were completely wiped out by the Holocaust. The Szpringers were just an ordinary middle-class family, but through many incredible strokes of luck, or perhaps miracles, all seven of them survived. For an entire Jewish family in Poland to survive the Holocaust is amazing--likely unique. What is more remarkable is how they…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Holocaust, Poland, and Jewish history?

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