Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. 27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, on this day we encourage you to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilisation, and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable, and we cannot be complacent. Each year, on Holocaust Memorial Day people from across the UK come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future. We have created a booklist – available on BorrowBox of books covering The Holocaust and genocide. The full list, which can be accessed here, includes more than 50 titles, most available as eBook and eAudiobooks

Three Sisters

Heather Morris

Based on the incredible true story of the Meller sisters, as told to Heather Morris the global bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey. Three Sisters is her third novel, and the final piece in the phenomenon that is the Tattooist of Auschwitz series.

When Livia, the youngest of the three Meller sisters is sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis at the age of 15, her old sister, remembering a promise they made to stay together, no matter what, follows her there. 17-year-old Magda, who has remained at home to care for her mother and grandfather, is finally captured and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau too, where the three sisters are reunited and make a new promise to survive.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

My Name is Selma

Selma Van de Perre

Selma van de Perre was seventeen when World War Two began. Until then, being Jewish in the Netherlands had been of no consequence. But by 1941 this simple fact had become a matter of life or death. Several times, Selma avoided being rounded up by the Nazis. Then, in an act of defiance, she joined the Resistance movement, using the pseudonym Margareta van der Kuit. For two years ‘Marga’  used a fake ID travelling around the country sharing information.

In July 1944 her luck ran out. She was transported to Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp, as a political prisoner. Unlike her parents and sister – who, she would later discover, died in other camps – she survived by using her alias, pretending to be someone else. It was only after the war ended that she was allowed to reclaim her identity and dared to say once again: My name is Selma. Now, at ninety-nine, Selma remains a force of nature. Full of hope and courage, this is her story in her own words.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

First They Killed My Father

Luong Ung

When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Loung’s family fled their home and were eventually forced to disperse to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier while her brothers and sisters were sent to labour camps. The surviving siblings were only finally reunited after the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia and started to destroy the Khmer Rouge.

Bolstered by the bravery of one brother, the vision of the others and the gentle kindness of her sister, Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life. First They Killed My Father is an unforgettable book told through the voice of the young and fearless Loung. It is a shocking and tragic tale of a girl who was determined to survive despite the odds.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

The Translator

Daoud Hari

As a Zaghawa tribesman in the Darfur region of Sudan, Daoud Hari grew up racing camels across the desert, attending gloriously colourful weddings and, when his work was done, playing games under the moonlight. But in 2003, helicopter gunships swooped down on Darfur’s villages and shattered that way of life for ever. Soon, Sudanese government-backed militias, attacking on horseback, came to murder, rape and burn. To drive the tribesmen from their lands.

When Hari’s village was attacked and destroyed, his family was decimated and dispersed. He escaped, and together with a group of friends roamed the battlefield deserts, helping the weak and vulnerable find food, water and a path to safety. When international aid groups and reporters arrived, Hari gave his services as a translator and guide. To do so was to risk his life, for the Sudanese government had outlawed journalists, punishing aid to ‘foreign spies’ with death. Yet Hari did so time and again. Until, eventually, his luck ran out and he was captured…

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

The Little Red Chairs

Edna O’Brien

The legendary Edna O’Brien’s tale of a mysterious stranger spellbinding an Irish village is ‘the kind of masterpiece that reminds you why you read books in the first place’.

Observer

When a man who calls himself a faith healer arrives in a small, west-coast Irish village, the community is soon under the spell of this charismatic stranger from the Balkans. One woman in particular, Fidelma McBride, becomes enthralled in a fatal attraction that leads to unimaginable consequences.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

When The Hills Ask for Your Blood

David Belton

6 April 1994: In the skies above Rwanda the President’s plane is shot down in flames. In the chapel of a hillside village, missionary priest Vjeko Curic prepares to save thousands. Near Kigali, Jean-Pierre holds his family close, fearing for their lives. The mass slaughter that follows – friends against friends, neighbours against neighbours – is one of the bloodiest chapters in history. Twenty years on, BBC Newsnight producer David Belton, one of the first journalists into Rwanda, tells of the horrors he experienced at first-hand. Following the threads of Jean-Pierre and Vjeko Curic’s stories, he revisits a country still marked with blood, in search of those who survived and the legacy of those who did not. This is David Belton’s personal quest for the limits of bravery and forgiveness.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

For more information on the Holocaust Memorial Trust please visit their website.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2020

      “Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.”

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

On Holocaust Memorial Day, we remember the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

2020 marks 75 years the end of the Holocaust and the Nazi Persecution, it also marks 45 years since the genocide in Cambodia began and 25 years since the genocide in Bosnia.
This day is for remembrance and reflection on the horrors that the human race have allowed to happen, and remember all those who lost their lives.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana

Many books, both fictional and non-fictional, have been written on and about the Holocaust and genocide. If you would like to learn more, we’ve put together four booklists with titles that we think are worth reading.

For children and teens:

Fictional stories
Non-fiction titles

For adults:

Fiction books
Non-Fiction books

Holocaust Memorial Day: Talk and Music Recital
Wednesday 29 January, 7.30pm 
Winchester Discovery Centre
Tickets £3

Danny Habel presents ‘My Family Blown Apart’, a biographical talk on the experiences of his own family during the Holocaust. Students from Peter Symonds College also provide music for reflection. Holocaust Memorial Day 2020’s theme is ‘Stand Together’, exploring how prejudiced regimes have been challenged by people uniting. 

What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.

Anne Frank

Holocaust Memorial Day – Adult non-fiction booklist


The choice
by Edith Eger

In 1944, 16-year-old Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. There she endured unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. Over the coming months, Edith’s bravery helped her sister to survive, and led to her bunkmates rescuing her during a death march. When their camp was finally liberated, Edith was pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive. In ‘The Choice’, Dr Edith Eger shares her experience of the Holocaust and the remarkable stories of those she has helped ever since.


The volunteer: one man, and underground army, and the secret mission to destroy Auschwitz
by Jack Fairweather

This is untold story of one of the greatest heroes of the Second World War. In the Summer of 1940, after the Nazi occupation of Poland, an underground operative called Witold Pilecki accepted a mission to uncover the fate of thousands of people being interred at a new concentration camp on the border of the Reich. His mission was to report on Nazi crimes and raise a secret army to stage an uprising. The name of the detention centre – Auschwitz. It was only after arriving at the camp that he started to discover the Nazi’s terrifying designs. Over the next two and half years, Witold forged an underground army that smuggled evidence of Nazi atrocities to the West, culminating in the mass murder of over a million Jews.


Women’s experiences in the Holocaust: in their own words
by Agnes Grunwald-Spier

This title brings to light women’s experiences in the Holocaust. It explains why women’s difficulties were different to those of men. Men were taken away and the women were left to cope with children and elderly relatives and obliged to take on new roles. Women like Andrew Sachs’ mother had to deal with organising departure for a foreign country and making choices about what to take and what to abandon. The often desperate hunt for food for themselves and those in their care more often than not fell to the women, as did medical issues. They had to face pregnancies, abortions and, in some camps, medical experiments. Many women wrote diaries, memoirs, letters and books about their experiences and these have been used extensively here.


But you did not come back
by Marceline Loridan-Ivens with Judith Perrignon

Marceline Loridan-Ivens was just 15 when she and her father were arrested and sent to concentration camps. He prepared her for the worst, telling her that he would not return. The three kilometres between her father in Auschwitz and herself in Birkenau were an insurmountable distance, and yet he managed to send her a small note via an electrician in the camp – a sign of life. Here, Marceline writes a letter to the father she would never know as an adult, and the man whose death enveloped her whole life. Her testimony is a haunting and challenging reminder of one of the worst crimes humanity has ever seen, and an affecting personal story of a woman whose life was shattered and never totally rebuilt.


The Holocaust: a new history
by Laurence Rees

This text answers two fundamental questions about the Holocaust. How, and why, did it happen? Laurence Rees’s answer, based on the latest academic research and 25 years of exploring the subject, reveals three themes. First, it was not just about the Jews – the Nazis would have murdered many more non-Jews – and it was not just about Germans. Second, there was no single ‘decision’ to start the Holocaust – there was a series of escalations, most often when the Nazi leadership interacted with their fanatical grassroots supporters. Third, it took longer than we might think for the world to recognise the importance of what happened – only in the mid-1970s did the word ‘Holocaust’ enter the popular consciousness. Through a chronological narrative, featuring the latest historical research and compelling eyewitness testimony, this is the story of the worst crime in history.


The boy who said nothing: a child’s story of fleeing conflict
by Mirsad Solaković with Cass Pennant

Mirsad Solaković survived a war in which some 300,000 people died, but was left with psychological damage. Mirsad lived through the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian civilians, until his family escaped to the UK. Following his experiences, he became difficult and untractable, and refused to speak English – until dedicated and sympathetic teachers at his school in Birmingham brought him back into contact with those around him. This thought-provoking account of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian tragedy paints a uniquely intimate portrait of survival, revealing pain that has never faded, yet has not crushed the human spirit. It is also an uplifting account of just how effective good teachers can be when faced with deeply troubled pupils.


Renia’s diary: a young girl’s life in the shadow of the Holocaust
by Renia Spiegel

Renia is a young girl who dreams of becoming a poet. But Renia is Jewish, she lives in Poland and the year is 1939. When Russia and Germany invade her country, Renia’s world shatters. Separated from her mother, her life takes on a new urgency as she flees Przemysl to escape night bombing raids, observes the disappearances of other Jewish families and, finally, witnesses the creation of the ghetto. But alongside the terror of war, there is also great beauty, as she begins to find her voice as a writer and falls in love for the first time. She and the boy she falls in love with, Zygmunt, share their first kiss a few hours before the Nazis reach her hometown. And it is Zygmunt who writes the final, heartbreaking entry in Renia’s diary. Recently rediscovered after seventy years, ‘Renia’s Diary’ is already being described as a classic of Holocaust literature.


Holocaust Memorial Day – Adult Fiction booklist


Mr. Sammler’s planet
by Saul Bellow

Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Literature, Saul Bellow’s novel examines the life of Artur Sammler, a Holocaust survivor. A contemporary work, it looks at the events of the past and their effect on both the present and the future.


Small country
by Gaël Faye

Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expat neighbourhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent with his friends sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, swimming in the river and riding bikes in the streets they have turned into their kingdom. But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful idyll will shatter when Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda are brutally hit by war and genocide.


The librarian of Auschwitz
by Antonio Iturbe

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp. But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor.


The tattooist of Auschwitz
by Heather Morris

This novel is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews, who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.


Address unknown
by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor

This story was written on the eve of the Holocaust as a series of letters between an American Jew living in San Francisco and his former business partner and friend who returned to his native Germany.


The people we were before
by Annabelle Thorpe

Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget. The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia. War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters. There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life.


The book thief
by Markus Zusak

Narrated in the all-knowing matter-of-fact voice of Death, witnessing the story of the citizens of Molching. By 1943, the Allied bombs are falling, and the sirens begin to wail. Liesel shares out her books in the air-raid shelters. But one day, the wail of the sirens comes too late.


Holocaust Memorial Day – Children’s information booklist

Parents can only give good advice or put them
on the right paths, but the final forming of
a person’s character lies in their own hands.

Anne Frank

Hedy’s journey: the true story of a Hungarian girl fleeing the Holocaust 
by Michelle Bisson and illustrated by El Primo Ramón

It is 1941. Hedy and her family are Jewish, and the Jew-hating Nazi Party is rising. Hedy’s family is no longer safe in their home in Hungary. They decide to flee to America, but because of their circumstances, 16-year-old Hedy must make her way through Europe alone. Will luck be with her? Will she be brave? Join Hedy on her journey – where she encounters good fortune and misfortune, a kind helper and cruel soldiers, a reunion and a tragedy – and discover how Hedy is both lucky and brave.


The diary of a young girl
by Anne Frank

Sensitively edited, the abridged edition of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ gives younger readers their first introduction to the extraordinary diary of an ordinary girl who has long become a household name. There are line drawings, lots of family photographs, and an afterword to explain why the diary ends so abruptly.


Witnesses to war: eight true-life stories of Nazi persecution
by Michael Leapman

The experiences of eight children from different parts of occupied Europe during World War II are recounted here. They were forced to hide, to flee, to assume new identities, and were held prisoner in concentration camps.


Image result for Anne Frank book poole

Anne Frank
by Josephine Poole and illustrated by Angela Barrett

Anne Frank’s diary telling the story of her years in hiding from the Nazis has affected millions of people. But what was she like as a small girl, at home with her family and friends; at play and at school? And how did an ordinary little girl come to live such an extraordinary and tragically short life?


The missing: the true story of my family in World War II
by Michael Rosen

By turns charming, shocking, and heart-breaking, this is the true story of Michael Rosen’s search for his relatives who ‘went missing’ during the Second World War – told through prose, poetry, maps, and pictures. When Michael was growing up, stories often hung in the air about his great-uncles: one was a clock-mender and the other a dentist. They were there before the war, his dad would say, and weren’t after. Over many years, Michael tried to find out exactly what happened: he interviewed family members, scoured the Internet, pored over books and traveled to America and France. The story he uncovered was one of terrible persecution – and it has inspired his poetry for years since. Here, poems old and new are balanced against an immensely readable narrative; both an extraordinary account and a powerful tool for talking to children about the Holocaust.


Anne Frank
by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara and illustrated by Sveta Dorosheva

Little Anne was born in Germany to a liberal Jewish family. But when the Nazis came into power she was forced to go into hiding with her family. With innovative illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream.


The promise: the true story of a family in the Holocaust
by Eva Schloss and Barbara Powers

Written specially for children, this is the true story of a young Jewish girl and her brother growing up during the Second World War, caught in a world turned upside down by the Nazis.


The horror of the Holocaust
by Claire Throp

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in history. This book looks at how the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, persecuted, imprisoned, and killed millions of people. Find out more about Kristallnacht, the death camps, and the creation of the State of Israel.


In spite of everything, I still believe
that people are really good at heart.

Anne Frank

Baking cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

About the book

This is a novel in 14 irresistible confections, and behind each cake lies a story. As Angel helps her customers to work through their problems, they, in turn, help her to lay to rest the demons she has buried deep inside until, finally, she is able to face the truth and to achieve a sense of peace.

Reviewed by Netley Bookworms

We all enjoyed this book. We agreed that the serious themes of poverty, HIV and the aftermath of the genocide were tackled in an easy, gentle way to make for a thoughtful but enjoyable read.

*** 3 stars

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