Reads for International Holocaust Remembrance Day

holocaust remembrance 2024

This Saturday, January 27, will mark the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Russian army. As a result, this date has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as “International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” a day to honor the memory of the millions of Jewish people and members of other minorities who were killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. Here are some fiction and nonfiction books published in the past year that commemorate the lives of those who were lost, and that explore the horrors of the Holocaust in the hopes of preventing additional acts of genocide in the future. (Descriptions provided by the publishers) Mistress of Life and Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women’s Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Susan J. Eischeid This gripping account of the highest-ranked woman in the Third Reich who, as Head Overseer of the women’s camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, was personally responsible for the murder, torture and suffering of countless prisoners, explores how she became to embody the very worst of humanity. The Porcelain Maker by Sarah Freethy An epic story of love, betrayal, and art that spans decades, through the horrors of World War II to 21st century America, inspired by an actual porcelain factory in Dachau. Two lovers caught at the crossroads of history. A daughter’s search for the truth. Germany, 1929. At a festive gathering of young bohemians in Weimar, two young artists, Max, a skilled Jewish architect, and Bettina, a celebrated avant-garde painter, are drawn to each other and begin a whirlwind romance. Their respective talents transport them to the dazzling lights of Berlin, but this bright beginning is quickly dimmed by the rising threat of Nazism. Max is arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Dachau where only his talent at making exquisite porcelain figures stands between him and seemingly certain death. Desperate to save her lover, Bettina risks everything to rescue him and escape Germany. America, 1993. Clara, Bettina’s daughter, embarks on a journey to trace her roots and determine the identity of her father, a secret her mother has kept from her for reasons she’s never understood. Clara’s quest to piece together the puzzle of her origins transports us back in time to the darkness of Nazi Germany, where life is lived on a razor’s edge and deception and death lurk around every corner. Survival depends on strength, loyalty, and knowing true friend from hidden foe. And as Clara digs further, she begins to question why her mother was so determined to leave the truth of her harrowing past behind…  Sing, Memory: The Remarkable Story of the Man Who Saved the Music of the Nazi Camps by Makana Eyre Drawing on oral history and testimony, as well as extensive archival research, this powerful story recounts the transformation of Polish nationalist Aleksander Kulisiewicz after an unlikely friendship with a Jewish conductor in Sachsenhausen who tasked him with a mission: to save the musical heritage of the victims of the Nazi camps. The Last Secret of the Secret Annex: The Untold Story of Anne Frank, Her Silent Protector, and a Family Betrayal by Joop Van Wijk-Voskuijl A riveting historical investigation and family memoir that intertwines the iconic narrative of Anne Frank with the untold story of Bep Voskuijl, her protector and closest confidante in the Annex, bringing us closer to understanding one of the great secrets of World War II. Anne Frank’s life has been studied by many scholars, but the story of Bep Voskuijl has remained untold, until now. As the youngest of the five Dutch people who hid the Frank family, Bep was Anne’s closest confidante during the 761 excruciating days she spent hidden in the Secret Annex. Bep, who was just twenty-three when the Franks went into hiding, risked her life to protect them, plunging into Amsterdam’s black market to source food and medicine for people who officially didn’t exist under the noses of German soldiers and Dutch spies. In those cramped quarters, Bep and Anne’s friendship bloomed through deep conversations, shared meals, and a youthful understanding. Told by her own son, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex intertwines the story of Bep and her sister Nelly with Anne’s iconic narrative. The Little Liar by Mitch Albom Eleven-year-old Nico Crispi never told a lie. When the Nazis invade his home in Salonika, Greece, the trustworthy boy is discovered by a German officer, who offers him a chance to save his family. All Nico has to do is convince his fellow Jewish residents to board trains heading towards “the east” where they are promised jobs and safety. Unaware that this is all a cruel ruse, the innocent boy goes to the station platform every day and reassures the passengers that the journey is safe. But when the final train is at the station, Nico sees his family being loaded into a large boxcar crowded with other neighbors. Only after it is too late does Nico discover that he helped send the people he loved–and all the others–to their doom at Auschwitz. Nico never tells the truth again. The Postcard by Anne Berest January, 2003. Together with the usual holiday cards, an anonymous postcard is delivered to the Berest family home. On the front, a photo of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. On the back, the names of Anne Berest’s maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacques–all killed at Auschwitz. Fifteen years after the postcard is delivered, Anne, the heroine of this novel, is moved to discover who sent it and why. Aided by her chain-smoking mother, family members, friends, associates, a private detective, a graphologist, and many others, she embarks on a journey to discover the fate of the Rabinovitch family: their flight from Russia following the revolution, their journey to Latvia, Palestine, and Paris. What emerges is a moving saga of a family devastated by the Holocaust and partly restored through the power of storytelling that shatters long-held certainties about Anne’s family, her

Found in Translation: Translated Literature for Kids

Translated literature is often praised for introducing readers to other cultures, different literary traditions and forms, exploration outside of one’s comfort zone, greater empathy for others, and more. In short, translated literature offers different perspectives. Yet this is what all books do (all well-written books, that is). So why read a translated book rather than a non-translated one? Though it is not guaranteed that every translated book is a “good” book, they have each passed a particular test: while “classics” withstand the test of ‘time,’ translated books similarly withstand the test of ‘culture.’  Something about each one of these stories transcends boundaries that are not only linguistic, but national and cultural, too.  If you would like to introduce your child to stories that are explorative, culturally transcendent, try some books that have been translated from another language. While none of these lists (Picture Books, Middle-Grade Novels, Graphic Novels) is exhaustive, they may serve as a thorough entry into the translated works of our collection.   PICTURE BOOKS Sato the Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya (Japanese) A Dragon on the Roof by Cécile Alix (French) Feather by Cao Wenxuan (Chinese) The Golem of Prague by Irène Cohen-Janca (Italian) Chirri & Chirra by Kaya Doi (Japanese) Curious Comparisons: a Life-Size Look at the World Around You by Jorge Doneiger (Spanish) The Stars by Jacques Goldstyn (French) My Friends by Taro Gomi (Japanese) Little Wise Wolf by Gijs van der Hammen (Dutch) Billie and Bean in the City by Julia Hansson (Swedish) The Moon Tonight: Our Moon’s Journey Around Earth by Chang-hoon Jung (Korean) Ming’s Adventure in the Mogao Caves by Jian Li (Chinese) Oops! by Julie Massy (French) One Million Oysters on Top of the Mountain by Alex Nogués Otero (Spanish) The Sleepy Owl by Marcus Pfister (German) Everybody Counts by Kristin Roskifte (Norwegian) My Pictures After the Storm by Éric Veillé (French) If You Cry Like a Fountain by Noemi Vola (Italian) Corner by Zo-O (Korean) MIDDLE-GRADE NOVELS Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan (Chinese) White Fox by Chen Jiatong (Chinese) Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (German) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (German) Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson (Swedish) Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba (Japanese) My Neighbor Totoro by Tsugiko Kubo (Japanese) Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kuzki (Japanese) Life According to Dani by Rose Lagercrantz (Swedish) A Case in any Case by Ulf Nilsson (Swedish) Secrets We Tell the Sea by Martha Riva Palacio Obón (Spanish) Run, Boy, Run by Uri Orlev (Hebrew) The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai by François Place (French) Popcorn Bob by Maranke Rinck (Dutch) The Secret of the Magic Pearl by Elisa Sabatinelli (Italian) The Runaways by Ulf Stark (Swedish) Bruno: Some of the More Interesting Days in my Life So Far by Catharina Valckx (French) A Dog Like Sam by Edward van de Vendel (Dutch) I’ll Keep You Close by Jeska Verstegen (Dutch) The Key is Lost by Ida Vos (Dutch) The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius (Swedish)   GRAPHIC NOVELS Catherine’s War by Julia Billet (French) The Magicians by Blexbolex (French) Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt (French) Cross My Heart and Never Lie by Nora Dåsnes (Norwegian) Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier (French) Astérix by Goscinny (French) The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé (French) Grandfather and the Moon by Stéphanie Lapointe (French) Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic by Wauter Mannaert (Dutch) Aster and the Mixed-Up Magic by Thom Pico (French) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Joann Sfar (French)   ~Abby Henkel, Youth Services Library Assistant