At 108 years old, the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer is an eyewitness to the entire last century and the first decade of this one. She has seen it all, surviving the Theresienstadt concentration camp, attending the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, and along the way coming into contact with some of the most fascinating historical figures of our time. As a child in Prague, she spent weekends and holidays in the company of Franz Kafka (whom she knew as “Uncle Franz”), and Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Rainer Maria Rilke were friendly with her mother.
"So much wisdom. A book we should all live by Daily"
In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the 20th century and reveals the risks that we face in the 21st. Based on new sources from Eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think and thus all the more terrifying.
"Tough book but worth it!"
Art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon is sent to Vienna to authenticate a painting, but the real object of his search becomes something else entirely: to find out the truth about the photograph that has turned his world upside down. It is the face of the unnamed man who brutalized his mother in the last days of World War II, during the Death March from Auschwitz. But is it really the same one? If so, who is he? How did he escape punishment? Where is he now?
In 1994, Immaculee Ilibagiza's world was ripped apart when her native country of Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Her family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans. Miraculously, Immaculee survived the slaughter.
"What a triumphant spirit"
Autumn 1945 saw the start of the Nuremberg trials, in which high ranking representatives of the Nazi government were called to account for their war crimes. In a curious yet fascinating twist, witnesses for the prosecution and the defense were housed together in a villa on the outskirts of town. The Witness House reveals the social structures that allowed a cruel and unjust regime to flourish and serves as a symbol of the blurred boundaries between accuser and accused that would come to form the basis of postwar Germany.
Following the success of Forgotten Voices of the Great War, the series now chronicles one of human histories darkest hours. The author comes to the project following her significant work in recording the experiences of Holocaust survivors for the Imperial War Museum sound archive, one of the most important archives of its kind in the world. The intertwined moving and revealing interviews reveal the sheer complexity and horror of the Holocaust.
"A bit short, but very compelling"
Simon Wiesenthal was the legendary “Nazi hunter” and Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to the punishment of Nazi criminals. A hero in the eyes of many, he was also attacked for his unrelenting pursuit of the past, when others preferred to forget. For this definitive biography, Tom Segev has obtained access to Wiesenthal’s hundreds of thousands of private papers and to sixteen archives, including records of the U.S., Israeli, Polish, and East German secret services.
In 1998, Helga Schneider, in her sixties, was summoned from Italy to the nursing home in Vienna in which her 90-year-old mother lived. The last time she had seen her mother was 27 years earlier, when her mother asked her daughter to try on the SS uniform which she treasures, and tried to give her several items of jewellery, the loot of holocaust victims, which Schneider rejected.
In this collection's hilarious title story, a Hasidic man gets a special dispensation from his rabbi to see a prostitute. "The Wig" takes an aging wigmaker and makes her, for a single moment, beautiful. In "The Tumblers", Englander envisions a group of Polish Jews herded toward a train bound for the death camps and, in a deft, imaginative twist, turns them into acrobats tumbling out of harm's way.
In February 1945, 350 American POWs captured earlier at the Battle of the Bulge or elsewhere in Europe were singled out by the Nazis because they were Jews or were thought to resemble Jews. They were transported in cattle cars to Berga, a concentration camp in eastern Germany, and put to work as slave laborers, mining tunnels for a planned underground synthetic-fuel factory. This was the only incident of its kind during World War II.
"The concentration camp story you never heard"
From his early years with his loving Jewish family to the horrors of Auschwitz to his life as a Nobel Prize-winning writer, Elie Wiesel tells his story. Passionate and poignant, All Rivers Run to the Sea is an unforgettable book of love and rage, doubt and faith, despair and trust, and ultimately, of wisdom.
In this short story from Nathan Englander's collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, a group of World War II-era Hasids, mistakenly put on a circus train instead of a transport to a death camp, are assumed to be acrobats. They perform a clumsy act, which their Nazi audience applauds as a parody of "Jewish ballet".
In 1942, Charlotte Gray, a young Scottish woman, goes to occupied France on a dual mission: to run an apparently simple errand for a British special operations group and to search for her lover, an English airman called Peter Gregory, who has gone missing in action.
In this brilliant, multi-layered novel, a young Southerner, Stingo, wants to become a writer. In Brooklyn, he meets Nathan, a brilliant Jewish intellectual involved in a turbulent love-hate affair with Sophie, a beautiful Polish woman. She has a terrible wound in her past, one that impels both Sophie and Nathan toward destruction.
"ABRIDGING IS A CRIME"
When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents at 33 Himmel Street, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents, "Kommunists", forever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger's instruction manual, which she can't read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career.