Today marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, also known as Holocaust Memorial Day.
For those interested in learning more about the Holocaust, World War II, and Jewish heritage, these current and forthcoming books are a good place to start.
The Rose Temple
The Rose Temple: A Child Holocaust Survivor’s Vision of Faith, Hope, and Our Collective Future is the inspiring, thought-provoking story of Lucia Weitzman. Part memoir, part spiritual quest, and part historical narrative, The Rose Temple is also a compelling call to action. Born during the Holocaust as Rose, she was placed by her parents into the care of a childless Polish couple in a desperate attempt to save her. Raised Catholic, she struggled with—and because of—her dual identity, only reconnecting with Jewish family in early adulthood. After the death of her husband, Lucia traveled to Jerusalem’s Western Wall where her difficult past and lingering grief surfaced. She confronts God. Unexpectedly, she believes she received a response. More mystical experiences followed, leading her on a global quest for answers to the question of God’s presence during times of evil and suffering. In the course of her journey, she has found not only personal meaning, but a desire and a calling to empower others to choose a path that connects us to each other and to God.
Pre-order here $24.95
Jewish Lives presents the life-stories of ten individual Jews who immigrated to Britain between 1750 and 1950, based on actual genealogical research. Their life-stories, enriched by a variety of sources, reflect the experiences of all Jewish immigrants as they settled in their adopted land.
Melody Amsel-Arieli does not just piece together the detail of their lives – their work, pastimes, families, daily chores, food and celebrations. Drawing on social, economic and historical records, she also explores their background, places of origin, motives for immigration, arrival in the UK and experiences as they adjusted to their new surroundings – placing them in the wider historical context of their adopted community and society.
This selection of revealing life-stores will prove fascinating for family historians and researchers, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, by offering parallels with their own lives and the lives of their ancestors. Jewish Lives: Britain 1750-1950 will inspire readers to pursue their own quest for information and understanding of their past.
Buy it here $22.95
Tracing Your Jewish Ancestors
This fully revised second edition of Rosemary Wenzerul’s lively and informative guide to researching Jewish history will be absorbing reading for anyone who wants to find out about the life of a Jewish ancestor. In a clear and accessible way she takes readers through the entire process of research. She provides a brief social history of the Jewish presence in Britain and looks at practical issues of research – how to get started, how to organize the work, how to construct a family tree and how to use the information obtained to tell the story of a family. In addition she describes, in practical detail, the many sources that researchers can go to for information on their ancestors, their families and Jewish history.
Buy it here $24.95
The Synagogues of Central and Western Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has one of the largest and oldest organized Jewish Communities communities in the United States. Jews of Sephardic origin settled in what was to become the “Keystone State” in the early eighteenth century, though there were some Jewish traders in the area during the latter part of the seventeenth century. Jews began trading and residing in the areas of Central and Western Pennsylvania in the early years of the nineteenth century, and as their numbers increased, they began establishing burial societies and synagogues. The early Jewish settlers were mostly of German origin and were joined later by Jews of Central and Eastern European background. Chambersburg, Danville, Hanover, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Uniontown were among the early areas of Jewish settlement. In 1840, a Jewish burial society was established in Chambersburg in Central Pennsylvania, making it the first official Jewish organization established outside of Philadelphia. Congregation Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh traces its initial beginnings to a Jewish burial society established there in 1847. There is a wealth of history and an extensive physical record of Jewish settlement throughout Central and Western Pennsylvania. Growing Jewish Communities established congregations, cemeteries, and social organizations, building their synagogues as a testament to their faith and community. Take a visual journey and discover a unique portion of Pennsylvania’s ethnic and religious history.
Buy it here $19.95
Livia Krancberg credits her sister Rose with carrying her through and out of the depths of the Holocaust. Would she have made it on her own? Who knows, even with Livia’s remarkable resilience which she still exhibits today in her nineties. It was Rose, with her desire to protect Livia and her instincts for survival that kept them, time and time again, from the many dangers which could have cost both of them their lives. From the moment they were on the transport to Auschwitz, and then saw their mother, along with Rose’s little son taken away and sent to the gas chambers, it was Rose who seem to anticipate what lay ahead. Maybe it was an extra morsel of food that could be obtained or an article of warm clothing. Rose always came through, even at great risk. Two Sisters is so much more than a story of survival during the Holocaust. It is the beautiful portrayal of a young girl—and later young woman—coming of age in rural Romania. Her academic achievements, schoolgirl crushes, and family life are all explored, revealed in detail for all of us. Carefully written and beautifully crafted, it serves as an extraordinary example of the power of the memoir in Holocaust understanding.
Buy it here $22.00
The Last Goodbye
Each of the six million men, women and children who died in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War was a human being with dreams of their own. The few who survived all had stories to tell of their desperate fight to survive, physically and mentally. Most can never forget the ‘Last Goodbye’ as they saw loved ones for the last time. In the summer of 1944, with the Russians advancing, the whole Ghetto population of Lodz including Edith Hofmann were herded into cattle trucks and sent to Auschwitz. She was aged only 17 and one of the lucky ones. For the majority it was their final journey. A small group of people were selected for work. So, with her hair shaved off and deprived of all her possessions, she travelled to Kristianstadt, a labour camp in Silesia to work in an underground munitions factory. In January 1945, with the Russians approaching again, she was sent off on a Death March across snow covered Germany to Bavaria. There cattle trucks were waiting for her. Spending a week in crowded conditions without food or water she arrived in Bergen Belsen on 15th March. A month later she was liberated. In 1946, after the liberation and destruction of the death camps, she came to England, studying and becoming a teacher in London. In the 1970s she went to art classes, which inspired her to interpret her memories in a more visual way.
Buy it here $33.95