Lately, I've been reading a lot of stories about the Holocaust and WWII in general, but mostly the Holocaust. I think the interest really began back in November when I drove an hour away to a Holocaust memorial where a concentration camp used to be here in Germany. I didn't even share that on the blog at the time. That was haunting.
Most of us have read the story of Anne Frank, and learned about the Holocaust and WWII in schools, but really how much do we know? I for one know that I never thought about it much further than that. I felt moved to learn more and read these people's stories so that they would not be forgotten.
When we first moved to Germany, I actually had several older people who were shocked we would live here and voiced their opinions to me. One lady actually told me "I can't believe you live there, I would refuse. I don't even want to visit Germany." Kind of a harsh statement but one I can understand if you've had family who were persecuted by the Germans. Not everyone in Germany hated Jews though and if you read these stories you'll see that. Just like the story of Anne Frank, whose friends hid her and her family, there are random of acts of kindness during these hard times.
I promise not to give away any spoilers to these books, but I wanted to share what I've been reading and give a small mini review. So that maybe some of you will be intrigued like I was to read something outside of your bubble.
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay "the book that made my Mother NOT want to visit France". She was reading this when she came to visit me over Christmas and I read it shortly afterwards. This story breaks your heart as you follow a young Jewish girl who is round up out of Paris and taken to a concentration camp. It's told from two time periods, one in the 1940's and one in 2002 where we're with a journalist who is writing an article about the roundup of the Jews in Paris. This was the first of the Holocaust related stories I read and after that I wanted more.
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum - I felt like this story was taking place in the village next to ours. Anytime I drove past the old bakery in the village of Schonenberg-Kubelberg I felt like this was the scene for this story. It felt very close to home. It took me a long time to get "out" of this story. I loved that it was told from a German point of view. One of the best books I've read in a long time. I gave it 5 stars!
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman - You know the ending of the book in the first few pages but it's the story that builds up to that ending that really grips you. As you can tell from the title of the book, two lovers are separated during the Nazi invasion, Their stories are told separately. It's so heart wrenching and beautiful. So full of love and horror at the same time.
The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin - interesting point of view and struggle of one Jewish woman to hide herself with the enemies and ultimately survived. Not my favorite, but a great story nonetheless
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - has an intriguing way of being told. It's narrated by Death. Yes, Death as in the "grim reaper" but not as creepy as we think. At first it was hard to get used to this way of reading but then I began to love it. The narrator gives us little tidbits along the way that are interesting or important facts but don't need a whole chapter to tell. This was a reccomneded book for me by Goodreads because of my other currently read books. At first I wasn't that interested in the short bio and almost skipped over it. The only thing that grabbed my attention was the fact that it was rated 5 stars almost across the board by Goodreads readers. I'm definitely glad I read it. It's one of my favorites now!
Stella's Secret by Jerry L. Jennings - this book was a cheap kindle grab for a couple of bucks. I loved her story and the way she spoke reminded me of the interviews of the old couples in When Harry Met Sally. I really felt like I was sitting in a room listening to her tell her story, which is what the author intended. To me, this story tells a lot about the Jewish Ghettos the terrible conditions they had to survive before even being sent to the horrors of the concentration camps.
So those are the things I've been reading on my kindle lately. Do any of these sound like something you'd like to read? Do any of these stories grab your attention like they did me? Do you know of any other Holocaust stories to recommend? Do you have any stories you've enjoyed reading lately that you can recommend. I'm flying to Florida in exactly a week and need some new good books!