International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2020

 

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” 

-Elie Wiesel  

 

This International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as we remember and recognize the  75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,* we invite you to bear witness by learning. Join our CHAI community in reading, watching, listening, and sharing in the stories and testimonies that have shaped our knowledge of the Holocaust and helped us to speak and act for peace, justice, and kindness.  

 

You can find the list of some of our recommended resources below, accompanied by reviews written by local survivors, family members of survivors, and members of our CHAI committee.  

 

Bear witness by reading a new book, watching a documentary, or listening to a podcast. Bear witness in every way you can. 

 

*Special thanks to Paul Ericson of the Rochester Beacon for his poignant journalism and dedication to bearing witness.

Books

  • Survival in Auschwitz By Primo Levi

    “This is another raw and deeply moving, true testimony of the Holocaust. I think of it often and remember Levi’s words and story. They stay with me.”

  • How Do You Kill 11 Million People? By Andy Andrews

    “I highly recommend this short read for everyone at the high school level and above.”

  • The Endless Steppe By Esther Hautzig

    “The story of a family transported to Siberia from Vilna in 1941. The family’s Jewishness is not a large part of the book, but it was a wonderful book about teen angst and how even during some of the horrors of war, teens are still teens.”

  • Night By Elie Wiesel

    “This is the book I return to time and time again. It was one of my first introductions to the Holocaust. Each time I read and study it, it teaches me more of suffering, of despair, of hope, and of kindness. It has been and will remain my companion.“

  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz By Heather Morris

    “Based on a true story. This is a painful and beautiful story of suffering, love, and survival. Though it has been fictionalized, it is deeply moving.”

  • Cilka’s Journey By Heather Morris

    “I found this book to be incredibly evocative, especially with its focus on power, as well as the experience of women during the Holocaust and in camps.”

  • A Train Near Magdeburg By Matthew A. Rozell

    “I appreciate this book for its unique point of view, and for the way it accounts for the incredible reunion of survivors and soldiers decades later.”

  • Hidden Among the Stars By Melanie Dobson

    “This is a story about survival and kindness, and the things ordinary people did to save the lives of others. It is a very important story.”

  • Sarah’s Key By Tatiana De Rosnay

    “This book is appropriate for 2020 because it helps to understand how people could turn their backs on friends, neighbors, physicians, shop keepers, etc... just because they are Jewish! With rising antisemitism here and abroad, it is important to see how hatred embeds itself in society.”

  • Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom By Ariel Burger

    “A beautiful accompaniment to the testimony and work of Elie Wiesel, but even more than that, this is a spectacular doorway into the mind of a great author, storyteller, scholar, and friend, written by one of his dearest mentees.”

  • I Am Rosemarie By Marietta D. Moskin

    “Based on the author’s experiences but fictionalized, it was the story I could read as a child to understand the Holocaust when my survivor father couldn’t talk about it. I read it and re-read it many times.”

  • MAUS and MAUS II By Art Speigelman

    “The graphic novel format draws you in and gives the history a unique and very powerful impact. Also, the scenes of the father post-war are very relatable if you have ever dealt with a survivor.”

  • The Devil's Arithmetic By Jane Yolen

    "This is a heart wrenching journey that affected me deeply both as a teenager reading this story, and also again as an adult. The way in which Yolen communicates one family's experience of the Holocaust is unlike any other book that I have ever read. It evokes a deep feeling of empathy in the reader, and should be on every young adult reading list."

  • The Good Old Days By Volker Riess

    “This book is a series of letters and diary entries collected from "normal people" who perpetrated the Holocaust. Everyday foot soldiers and villagers who wrote openly, and in many cases proudly, of the mass murder they committed that day. It is a must read to counter the Holocaust deniers that exist.”

  • Number the Stars By Lois Lowry

    “I read this book when I was very young. It moved me, reading about a young girl my own age and her struggle to remain hidden while fighting injustice.”

Film and Television

  • Conspiracy

    “Unlike other Holocaust books, movies, etc. this shows how in less than 2 hours, 15 men sitting around a conference table, often with light banter and good food and drink, decided the fate of the millions of Jews that perished in the gas chambers. The dialogue is taken directly from the transcript of the conference discovered at the end of the war in the desk of one of the participants who did not follow the order to read and destroy.”

  • Hitler's Holocaust

    “A six part documentary series that is available for free to anyone who has Amazon Prime. It is a thorough examination of Nazi persecution of Jews that includes many eyewitness accounts.”

Podcasts

  • We Share the Same Sky

    "This riveting story weaves together the personal journey of a Holocaust survivor with the current events of refugees and displaced people today. It is filled with twists and turns that make every episode a must listen.”

This is an ever-growing list of resources. To recommend resources that have impacted you, contact Sarah Walters, Holocaust Education and Community Relations Program Director, at swalters@jewishrochester.org.