Stories From the Holocaust

This is the second year I've shared about the books I've read on the Holocaust and World War II in the past 365 days. January 27 is the international Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Stories from the Holocaust | Land of Honey

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Village of Secrets was on my list last year. Caroline Moorehead tells the story of a small French mountain community, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, that successfully protected thousands of Jews, Resistance Fighters, communists, and others wanted by the Gestapo. The largely Huguenot community collectively cared for many orphans and children who's parents were in concentration camps; pitching in for their food and clothing, sheltering them in their homes, schools, and churches, smuggling them up and down the mountain when needed. I found the elements of the town's collective history as Protestants resisting Catholic influence and authority for the prior centuries intriguing as the whole community eased into an unspoken conspiracy against the most brutal regime of their time.

Stories from the Holocaust - Village of Secrets | Land of Honey

Edith Hahn-Beer had an incredible perspective on the war, experiencing part of it as a Jew in a work camp and part as The Nazi Officer's Wife, bearing children for Germany. Edith grew up in Vienna and was a non-practicing Jewish law student when Austria was annexed into Hitler's Germany. After a stint in a work camp abroad Edith was comfortable enough with German language and culture to disguise herself in in the heart of enemy territory, with the help of a friend's documents. She obtained a job in the Red Cross and dated Nazi soldiers, eventually marrying an officer. Working in the delivery room at the Red Cross she realized many pregnant mothers would spill life threatening secrets when given drugs. When Edith was admitted she refused all anesthesia and medication during childbirth to keep her secret hidden. Her daughter is believed to be the only Jewish baby born in a Reich hospital in 1945.

Stories from the Holocaust - The Nazi Officer's Wife | Land of Honey

While not a book on the Holocaust per se, Wine & War is a glimpse into a facet of the French economy that's not usually given much examination. Snippets into the lives of farmers, Champagne house managers, vineyard families, small and large wineries, restaurant owners, and wine buyers and sellers tell the story of what wine meant to the French economy, the German military campaign, and to the spirits of those living in and fighting for France. One man took a six hour leave from the military to hurriedly build a wall in his father's world renowned wine cellar in order to hide 20,000 of the 100,000 priceless vintages beneath the Paris restaurant. A few days later Nazi troops arrived and confiscated the 80,000 non hidden bottles. 

Stories from the Holocaust - Wine and War | Land of Honey

Grey Wolf. Again, not exactly a Holocaust tale but an important piece of world history. Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams take a brilliant look at the strong case for the successful escape of Adolph Hitler and other top Nazis; debunking the repudiated suicide of the Fuhrer and Eva Braun (proving the bodies in the bunker were someone else). Argentina had long been the planned escape for top German officials, with hundreds of millions in gold secretly sent there from the Reichland during the war. While in the country for research one of the authors asked a hotel staffer directions to a restaurant, the answer was something like, '...down the road to left, but if you take a right you can see the house where Hitler and Eva Braun lived after the war.' The authors also showcase the mountain of paperwork from the US, Great Britain, and the Nazi regime showing that many world governments believed Hitler made it after the war.

Stories from the Holocaust - Grey Wolf | Land of Honey

On my list for next year :

Trapped in Hitler's Hell by Anita Dittman with Jan Markell
A Garland for Ashes by Hanna Miley
A Boy in Terezin by Pavel Weiner
The Girls of Room 28 by Hannelore Brenner
Flying for Her Country by Amy Strebe

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