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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

World War II Through Many Eyes

Posted by Dawn

I am not sure why, but I am forever reading about WWII and the people who lived through that time. I find the survivor memoirs so touching and in a way, inspirational. Their lives were so much harder than anything I have ever had to deal with in my 34 years. I am also very intrigued by the women who perhaps lived on the other side of that part of history and how they survived and then lived with the choices they made. I find so much strength in these stories, whether they are non-fiction or fiction. Here is a curated list of Holocaust/World War II books that give the reader a sense of what life was like from different points of view.


This book is about 3 pregnant Jewish women who survive the hardships of the concentration camps to give birth to their children. The children survive and form a bond because of the circumstances of their births.

This memoir is the story of one daughter’s survival of Auschwitz and her life after liberation. She finds her whole family has been murdered and she is all alone. She wrote this shortly after her liberation and in that way this is unique. Most memoirs of this type are written long after the fact.

"By looking at collaborators to resisters, actresses and prostitutes, as well as teachers and writers, including American women and Nazi wives, spies, mothers, mistresses, fashion and jewellery designers – Anne Sebba shows that women made life-and-death decisions every day, and, in an atmosphere where sex became currency, often did whatever they needed to survive." (Goodreads description)

This was a well-researched and well-written book that I learned a great deal from.

I found this story so intriguing because Ingrid was stolen from her Jewish parents and given to Nazi parents who were unable to have children. This goes against everything I thought I had learned about Hitler and Himmler and their idea of a perfect race. 
"The extraordinary love story of an American blueblood and a German aristocrat—and a riveting tale of survival in wartime Germany." (Goodreads description)

"From 1942 to 1944, twelve thousand children passed through the Theresienstadt internment camp, near Prague, on their way to Auschwitz. Only a few hundred of them survived the war. In The Girls of Room 28, ten of these children—mothers and grandmothers today in their seventies—tell us how they did it." (Goodreads description)
This story, however tragic the circumstances, is also uplifting in the tales of how the women chose to give them and others the will to survive.


This novel is based on a family and their harrowing tales of survival. The author did a great deal of research and the story is well written.

"Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship." (Goodreads description)

My Mother's Ring: A Holocaust Historical Novel by Dana Cornell 
I haven’t read this book yet but it is on my list to read soon.
"In My Mother’s Ring: A Holocaust Historical Novel, Henryk Frankowski feels compelled to pen his memoir and finally share his poignant story from his hospital bed as he lay dying. His carefree childhood as a Jewish boy in Warsaw, Poland is never far from his mind as he recalls the tumultuous world he endured during the Holocaust." (Goodreads description)

"A stunning debut novel of a young American woman who becomes a spy in Paris during World War II." (Goodreads description)

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