Top 10 Books on The Holocaust

 

The Holocaust – which was the mass extermination of innocent Jews by Hitler and his regime in order to preside over the land as a pure, Aryan race – was one of the lowest of all lows that humanity has ever reached. Survivors of the Holocaust have seen and experienced some of the most dreadful, horrifying, and scarring effects that remain with them to this day. There was never a time when human beings had been more ruthless towards their own kind of history.

Books on the Holocaust have been written in a diverse kind of perspectives, and are all bone-chilling and terrifying accounts. Some of the best books on Holocaust are also the most vivid and disturbing accounts of the sheer cruelty and influence of authority during the time. Although it is difficult to choose which among the list of books on Holocaust is the best, or most popular, here are the top 10 books on the Holocaust.

 

Night

Night, the first of the Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel is on the list of the 10 best-selling books on Holocaust for being his first-person account of the horrors of the Holocaust, a record of the terror, the struggle, and the tragic fate of the Jews.

Read it For:
Elie Wiesel can make even the most hard-hearted reader tremble at the horrifying things that he went through and watched his loved ones endure and succumb to.
Don't Read it For:
This book captures the essence of horror in reality and is not for the weak-hearted.
What makes this book stand out?:
This book will leave you speechless and presents horrors that are incomprehensible.

The Diary of a Young Girl

This diary belonged to Anne Frank, one of the victims of the Holocaust, and records how she and her family hid for as long as they could from the Nazis before they were discovered.

Read it For:
The tragic and unique everyday-life perspective of a 14-year-old girl’s brief life.
Don't Read it For:
This book was not written with the intention of entertaining readers. It belonged to a true victim of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, and was a diary that she wrote in every day of her life.
What makes this book stand out?:
This is a truly personal account of a child who lived hiding in terror from the Nazis and is a tense and chilling record of events.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

A little Bruno discovers all of his possessions packed up in boxes one day after he returns home from school. His family is moving to a desolate place far away, where nothing fun happens, and not many people are seen. His only companion is a young boy on the other side of a fence that runs for as far as he can see, but what he does not know is the stark difference in both of their fates.

Read it For:
The story is a beautifully written but sad tale and is utterly devastating.
Don't Read it For:
Many readers claim that this story grossly underplays the horrors of the Holocaust, and is false in terms of facts.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a moving and heart-breaking story.

The Book Thief

One of the most popular books on Holocaust, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief tells a tell of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich, who has a hankering for books. Set during the Holocaust, The Book Thief follows Liesel’s journey of learning how to read and providing herself and her neighbors with the treasure hidden behind the pages of stolen books during the bombing raids.

Read it For:
Zusak weaved this story beautifully with all sorts of literary devices to communicate the suspenseful and chilling events of the Holocaust.
Don't Read it For:
Many readers have found Zusak’s writing pretentious and lacking good quality, dismissing the book as being for “young adults.”
What makes this book stand out?:
Unlike most books, this Holocaust tale is told from the point of view of a character who was extremely busy at a time like this: Death.
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The Complete Maus

In this complete volume of Maus I and Maus II, Art Spiegelman tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife as they live through Hitler’s reign in Europe through graphic black and white illustrations.

Read it For:
This one of a kind medium of telling such horror stories that will take you on a ride of emotions.
Don't Read it For:
If you are not good at detecting the allegory of these graphic novels, they are certainly not for you.
What makes this book stand out?:
The brilliance with which Art Spiegelman has captured the terror, guilt, and sheer immense relief of the possibility of survival in his drawings, and has fashioned this fantastic allegory

Number the Stars

Two ten-year-olds, Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are best friends. Living as two school-goers in the year 1943, Annemarie and Ellen often muse of life before the wartime. Food shortage and visits of Nazi soldiers to the town become a regular event in their lives, but when the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen goes with Annemarie’s family and pretends to be a part of the family. Consequently, Annemarie falls into a mission of saving her best friend’s life.

Read it For:
The prospect of such a young girl fighting something as massive and terrorizing as the Nazi, as well as the suspense and emotional elements of the story.
Don't Read it For:
This book may be about children, but recalls events of the Holocaust and is tragic and shocking, which may not be every reader’s choice.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is written from a unique and attention-grabbing perspective.

Survival in Auschwitz: If This is a Man

This book tells the story of Primo Levi, who was a 25-year-old chemist when he was transported to Auschwitz from his native place, and how he survived 10 grueling months in the horrifying confines of the death camp.

Read it For:
This book puts forth the terrors of the happenings within the fences of Auschwitz stunningly straightforwardly.
Don't Read it For:
This book is disturbing and is not for the faint-hearted.
What makes this book stand out?:
Primo Levi incorporated elements of wit into the story, which makes it really unique.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl was a psychiatrist who wrote this book have experienced the events of four of the Nazi death camps and having seen his family, including his pregnant wife, were killed in them. He comments on our inability to avoid suffering, but only choosing how to cooperate with, find meaning within, and move ahead with renewed purpose from suffering.

Read it For:
A psychiatrist’s brilliant and yet chilling take on suffering and the Holocaust.
Don't Read it For:
This is a book that traces actual events that occurred in history and is not for the easily disturbed.
What makes this book stand out?:
The psychological perspective that Frankl assumed while writing the book.

An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin

Gad Beck traces his life as a gay teenaged Jew living in Nazi Berlin during the Holocaust, and how he survived its horrors.

Read it For:
The book is surprisingly entertaining and even humorous at some parts.
Don't Read it For:
The book recalls several details of the Holocaust and is not a happy or satisfying read.
What makes this book stand out?:
Gad Beck’s predicament and how he escaped serious consequences, are what make this book stand out.

The Reader

Originally titled Der Vorleser, The Reader is a parable that discusses the issues that German generations after the war have had in understanding the Holocaust.

Read it For:
The book has intricately developed characters and will make you ask yourself a lot of questions.
Don't Read it For:
Some readers consider the writing as far too heavy.
What makes this book stand out?:
Unlike other books are written about the Holocaust, The Reader discusses the mind-sets and struggle of understanding the Holocaust after its end.

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