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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

Short List of Readings

Short List of Recommended Readings for Ages 14 & Up

Bauer, Yehuda. A History of the Holocaust.

  • One of the most commonly taught secondary history texts

Borowski, Tadeusz. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, translated by Barbara Vedder.

  • Collection of short stories by a non-Jew who was imprisoned in Auschwitz
  • Some stories are very short
  • Two of the stories may be found in the ODLE

Browning, Christopher. The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942.

  • Very detailed secondary history text

Celan, Paul. Selected Poetry of Paul Celan, translated by Paul Felstiner.

  • Poems by survivor
  • Includes several of the most critically lauded Holocaust poems, such as “Death Fugue”
  • Some poems may be found in the ODLE

Davidowicz, Lucy. The War Against the Jews.

  • One of the first and most commonly taught secondary history texts

Delbo, Charlotte. None of Us Shall Return.

  • Memoir by a non-Jew who was imprisoned in Auschwitz
  • Can also be found published as a part of a much longer trilogy in one volume, Auschwitz and After
  • Includes both prose and poetry

Frankl, Victor. Man’s Search for Meaning.

  • Survivor memoir

Hiemer, Ernst. The Poisonous Mushroom, with illustrations by “Fipps”

  • Children’s picture book
  • Highly disturbing Nazi antisemitic propaganda designed for young children, originally published by Julius Streicher
  • A first edition may be seen on exhibit at Holocaust Museum Houston
  • Facsimile available here.

Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews.

  • One of the first and most commonly taught secondary history texts

Hochstadt, Steve. Sources of the Holocaust.

  • Anthology of short primary sources

Laqueur, Walter. The Changing Face of Antisemitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day.

  • Somewhat comprehensive examination of antisemitism, including Nazism

Leitner, Isabella. Fragments of Isabella.

  • Survivor memoir
  • New edition published in 2018
  • Very short chapters and short overall length

Lengyel, Olga. Five Chimneys.

  • Survivor memoir
  • Especially graphic and horrifying descriptions, even compared to most other memoirs

Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz.

  • Survivor memoir
  • One of the most famous and critically lauded memoirs
  • All memoirs by Levi are recommended
  • An excerpt from Levi’s The Reawakening is available in the ODLE.

Millu, Liana. Smoke Over Birkenau.

  • Survivor memoir

Müller, Filip. Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers.

  • Survivor memoir
  • Describes work by Sonderkommando in the gas chambers

Nomberg-Przytyk, Sarah. Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land.

  • Survivor memoir

Ozick, Cynthia. The Shawl.

  • Novella
  • Describes a mother’s horror at the brutal murder of her baby in a camp
  • Short length
  • Entire story may be found in the ODLE

Radnóti, Miklós. Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklós Radnóti, A Bilingual Edition, translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Frederick Turner.

  • Poems by victim of the Holocaust
  • Victim was shot into mass grave; some poems were found in his pocket when his corpse was exhumed
  • Both translators are faculty at UT-Dallas, and Ozsváth is a survivor

UN Report on Antisemitism

Wiesel, Elie. Night.

  • Survivor memoir
  • Author was the most famous survivor in the world and the recipient of Nobel Peace Prize
  • Comparatively short length
  • Excerpts may be found in the ODLE

Short List of Recommended Readings for Ages 11-13

Gilbert, Martin. Atlas of the Holocaust.

  • Illustrated secondary history text

Klein, Gerda Weissmann. All But My Life.

  • Survivor memoir
  • Describes concentration camps and death march
  • Author and account are also the subject of Oscar-winning documentary, One Survivor Remembers
  • Excerpts are available in the ODLE

Ozsváth, Zsuzsanna. When the Danube Ran Red.

  • Survivor memoir
  • Describes hiding, witnessing the mass shooting of Jews
  • Texas connection: Author is an Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies at UT-Dallas
  • A few chapters may be found in the ODLE.

Pagis, Dan. The Selected Poetry of Dan Pagis, translated by Stephen Mitchell.

  • Poems by a survivor
  • Includes famous Holocaust poems, including “Written in Pencil on the Sealed Railway Car”
  • Several poems may be found in the ODLE

Richter, Hans Peter. Friedrich.

  • Autobiographical novel by member of the Hitler Youth
  • Describes systematic, gradual persecution and murder of one Jewish family that author knew
  • Short length, comparatively simple language
  • Several chapters may be found in the ODLE

Sachs, Nelly. Collected Poems 1944-1949.

  • Poems by Jewish woman who fled to Sweden to survive
  • Poet became first Jewish woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Includes famous poems, such as “O the Chimneys”

Senesh, Hannah. Her Life and Diary, The First Complete Edition.

  • Biography, essays, and poetry
  • Describes theme of Jewish resistance: a Jewish woman, as part of a small team of Jews that parachuted into Yugoslavia on a mission to save Hungary’s endangered Jews, is captured and executed
  • Includes famous poems, such as “Blessed is the Match”

Siegal, Aranka. Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944.

  • Survivor memoir
  • Describes ghetto
  • Narrative ends with deportation, so no camps are depicted for young readers
  • Newbery Honor Book
  • A few chapters may be found in the ODLE

Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.

  • Survivor memoir with symposia
  • Has two parts: In the first, the survivor recounts his experience as a camp inmate who was asked for forgiveness by a dying SS officer; in the second, people from a variety of backgrounds provide brief responses offering thoughts on whether forgiveness should have been given.
  • While this is a highly engaging text to use with students, educators should take care never to frame the Holocaust or the survivor experience only in terms of forgiveness.
  • Several excerpts are available in the ODLE

Zapruder, Alexandra. Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust.

  • Anthology of firsthand accounts