The best books about Nazi concentration camps

Many authors have picked their favorite books about Nazi concentration camps and why they recommend each book.

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The Hiding Place

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill, Tim Foley (illustrator)

Book cover of The Hiding Place

Wow, wow, wow, oh how I love this book and have read it so many times. Corrie Ten Boom was an “old Maid” watch repairer in Holland in WW2. She and her family rescued so many Jews from the Holocaust, only for her to be captured and sent to a concentration camp. She lived only due to an error in the Nazi’s paperwork. She would later term herself as a “vagabond” for Jesus and minister all around the world. I love her so much. Her wisdom and Christian truths ooze out of her story and are life applicable. In her journey, you grow to love her, her family, and what God did through them in such a challenging time. This book will teach you about forgiveness, perseverance, and God turning anything around for His glory.


Who am I?

I'm a huge self-proclaimed history dork. I love reading real stories of how God uses the ones that no one would expect in extraordinary ways. I love hearing how God turns horrible situations around. Even in my own manuscripts, from a historical fiction perspective, I love to immerse it in such truth that you think, “That couldn’t really happen... Could it?” I have an ongoing phrase in ministry and life that you need to take “The poo you walk through and let God turn it into fertilizer.” These book recommendations definitely do that. Bad things do happen. They don’t come from God but through Him we can overcome them.


I wrote...

An Ember In Time

By Anna M. Aquino,

Book cover of An Ember In Time

What is my book about?

In a time where Pastor Jon Stevens feels like he has lost his hope... One Divine Encounter, will change his life. One mistake that started with A simple flower, will begin to unravel history. And one spark will illuminate the way home.

Picture Quantum Leap meets Back to the Future saturated in Biblical History and Christian truths.

If This Is a Man and The Truce

By Primo Levi, Stuart Woolf (translator),

Book cover of If This Is a Man and The Truce

Another book I keep returning to is If This Is a Man. Primo Levi, the Italian chemist, has written a matter-of-fact masterpiece, poetic yet never sentimental, about his year as a slave in the Monowitz/Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. It´s a low-key book but vibrant book about being a human surrounded by inhumanity.   


Who am I?

My Hungarian father was 7 years old when he almost got deported to Polen by the Nazis, but was miraculously saved by his mother. He came to Sweden, where I´m born, and never looked back, completely focused on the future. So I, his only child, focus on memory and oblivion. It´s like we stand back to back—or like I´m a seamstress, trying to stitch the past with the present. In my British mother´s family history is Salonica, the magical Jewish city in the Ottoman Empire. My Spanish-Jewish grandfather spoke the same Castillian dialect that Cervantes used to write Don Quijote. And I´m born in Sweden. These are my universes and where my writing is born.  


I wrote...

1947: Where Now Begins

By Elisabeth Åsbrink, Fiona Graham (translator),

Book cover of 1947: Where Now Begins

What is my book about?

1947: Where Now Begins is not only a gripping family history. The careful juxtaposition of disparate events highlights an underlying interconnectedness and suggests a new way of thinking about the postwar era. The book deals with a decisive year, follows Simone de Beauvoir, Raphael Lemkin, George Orwell among others, and traces the key person, Per Engdahl, who revives the fascist and Nazi movements after WW2. A single, momentous year that is resonating very, very clearly today.

The Age of Light

By Whitney Scharer,

Book cover of The Age of Light

In The Age of Light, protagonist Lee Miller is both model (for surrealist photographer Man Ray) and artist—much like Georgia O’Keeffe, the muse and hub of my own novel.  Lee’s story, as she struggles with the question of how to stay true to herself while fulfilling her artistic ambition—and what that fulfillment may cost her—resonates strongly with me. It’s a struggle that so many women can relate to! 


Who am I?

My passion is for stories about how art can help us become more authentic, whole, and fulfilled as human beings—that’s my “brand” as a writer (and reader). No, I’m not a painter, and I’ve never studied art history.  Rather, I’m what they call a “serious amateur” pianist and photographer—an “amateur” being someone who studies for love of the craft.  In fact, I’ve found that the more I give myself to these other art forms, the better I become as a writer—as if these other forms of creative expression open new places in me that enhance my stories and characters.


I wrote...

Queen of the Owls

By Barbara Linn Probst,

Book cover of Queen of the Owls

What is my book about?

Winner of multiple awards, Queen of the Owls is the powerful story of a woman’s quest to claim her neglected sensuality and find her true self hidden behind the roles of wife, mother, sister, colleague.  Framed by the life and art of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, it dares to ask a question every woman can relate to: what would you risk to be truly seen and known?

A chance meeting with a charismatic photographer will forever change Elizabeth’s life. Until she met Richard, Elizabeth's relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe and her art was purely academic. Now, it’s personal. When Richard reawakens a yearning that’s haunted Elizabeth since she was a child, Elizabeth takes a step she never imagined—and her life begins to unravel.

The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933 to 1945

By Barbara Distel, Ludwig Eiber, Thomas Felsenstein, Gabriele Hammermann, Micha Neher, Christian Scholzel, Stanislav Zamecnik, Paul Bowman (translator)

Book cover of The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933 to 1945

Concentration and termination camps may have been one of the topics least talked about by those who saw them. This catalog of text and photos was created for the 2003 documentary exhibition at the Dachau Concentration Memorial Site, created by survivors of the camp and an International Committee. Dachau developed and tested the appalling procedures that became standard for the whole network of camps in Europe. I recommend the book for its concise history, chronologies, maps, biographical sketches of prisoners and officers, and hundreds of photos. They are invaluable as a case study of how the Holocaust was designed and implemented.


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. 


I wrote...

Teddy's War

By Donald L. Willerton,

Book cover of Teddy's War

What is my book about?

Teddy Gunnarson kept his war secrets hidden from his family, but terminal cancer convinces him to reveal them. To help his troubled family heal, he makes a video to be played after his death, charging his wife to reveal her secrets, as well.

As the family watches Teddy’s confessions, they discover his mission to rescue his older brother from a POW camp behind German lines. They learn that Teddy suffered terror, treason, and dishonor for the sake of a brother who had betrayed Teddy and the family and disgraced his pilot’s wings. Teddy’s War not only describes the raw horrors of war, it examines the cost of family loyalty—lengths that a man will go to demonstrate how to love a family.

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