For Middle and High School Students
Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust (1994)
By Susan D. Bachrach
Drawing on the Museum’s unmatched collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, and oral and video testimonies, Tell Them We Remember traces the history of the Holocaust and how it shattered the lives of millions of innocent people throughout Europe. Excerpts from “identity cards” that are part of the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition focus on actual young people whose worlds were turned upside down under Nazi rule.
Guardian Angel House (fiction; 2009)
By Kathy Clark
Twelve-year-old Susan and her younger sister, Vera, were Jewish girls growing up in German-occupied Hungary when their mother sent them to safety in a convent. Guardian Angel House is based on the true story of a Budapest convent operated by nuns during World War II where more than 120 Jewish children sought refuge, including the author’s mother and aunt.
For a Book Club
A Hero of Our Own: The Story of Varian Fry (2001)
By Sheila Isenberg
In 1940, an American journalist named Varian Fry went on a rescue mission to Marseilles, France. There, with funding provided by a US-based nonprofit organization, he assisted numerous individuals who had fled Nazi Germany during the 1930s but who had become trapped in southern France after the German invasion. Under constant surveillance, Fry used black-market funds, forged documents, secret mountain passages, and sea routes to spirit as many as 2,000 endangered refugees out of France. The author draws from personal letters, government records, and interviews with survivors to tell Fry’s story.
Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power (2012)
By Andrew Nagorski
Tapping a rich vein of personal accounts, this book offers an American perspective on Nazi Germany in the years before World War II. It tells the story of the establishment and consolidation of the Nazi regime and Germany’s march to the abyss of World War II from the viewpoint of Americans in Germany at the time—diplomats, soldiers, expatriates, journalists, businessmen, and Olympic athletes. Some of these Americans responded with horror and revulsion, others with indifferent complaisance or even sympathetic enthusiasm.
The Invisible Bridge (fiction; 2010)
By Julie Orringer
When Andras Lévi arrived in Paris from Budapest with a letter to deliver, he did not know that soon his life and the lives of his family members would be turned upside-down. Julie Orringer tells the fictional story of one Hungarian-Jewish family’s experiences in Paris, Budapest, and the small Hungarian town of Konyár as World War II unfolds.
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2001)
By Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer
In the months before the outbreak of World War II, 10,000 children (most of them Jewish) from Germany and German-annexed lands were rescued from death in the Holocaust by a series of operations called the Kindertransport. They were brought to Great Britain and placed with foster parents and in hostels. This book tells the story of 18 people directly impacted by the Kindertransport: children, parents, and rescuers.
Into the Tunnel: The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931–1945 (2008)
By Götz Aly
This historian’s biographical investigation tells the story of one child victim of the Holocaust. In what is as much a detective story as a historical reconstruction, Aly traces the agonizing decline of the Samuel family from shop owners to forced laborers, culminating in deportation. A moving account of a family caught in the tightening grip of persecution, Into the Tunnel is a powerful reminder that each of the millions of Holocaust victims represents an individual life.
My German Question: Growing up in Nazi Berlin (1999)
By Peter Gay
Renowned historian Peter Gay recounts his life as an assimilated Jew growing up in Nazi Germany and the story of his family in Germany before and during the Nazi rise to power. He describes their efforts to emigrate and his own complex feelings at the time and in later years about Germany and its people.
A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2003)
By Samantha Power
Despite the rallying cry of “Never Again,” governments today struggle with how to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. While some leaders have taken a stand on atrocity prevention, many more have chosen not to act. Power’s book explores what American leaders knew, and when, about mass killing events in the 20th century and what more could have been done by the United States to act on this knowledge.
Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust (2006)
By Scott Miller and Sarah Ogilvie
In 1939, the Cuban government denied permission for more than 900 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany to disembark from the ocean liner St. Louis because they lacked valid immigration visas. Denied entry into the United States as well, the passengers on the St. Louis returned to Europe. Over the years, the St. Louis has been cast as a symbol of American unwillingness to provide safe haven for European Jews on the eve of World War II. Refuge Denied chronicles the fates of each St. Louis passenger, from Los Angeles to Havana, from New York to Jerusalem.
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (1998)
By Philip Gourevitch
This book details the 1994 Rwandan genocide, its precipitating factors, and its aftermath, based on investigative fieldwork in Rwanda. The text includes interviews with perpetrators, bystanders, survivors, political and military leaders, and representatives from international organizations. The author discovered handwritten execution lists identifying Tutsis, as well as evidence of the Hutu militarization of refugee camps in Goma, Zaire.
For In-Depth Exploration
FDR and the Jews (2013)
By Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman
What was the role of Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II? Through primary sources and new research, historians Breitman and Lichtman explore the actions and inactions of the American president—a man who focused on domestic policy ahead of refugee assistance and who was swayed by popular xenophobia and antisemitism, but who also tried to rescue some European Jews against the counsel of advisors; a man who helped wage and win the war against Nazi Germany but who might have done more to assist those fleeing persecution in Europe.
Flight from the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933–1946 (2009)
By Debórah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt
As the Germans unleashed World War II and engaged in increasingly violent persecution, many Jews sought to escape from German-occupied Europe by any means possible. Using official documents and personal accounts, Dwork and van Pelt tell the story of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust era and in the postwar period, vividly portraying their escapes and their efforts to start new lives in new homelands.
The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of Genocide (2013)
Zoltán Vági, László Csösz, and Gábor Kádár, eds.
German troops occupied Germany’s ally Hungary in March 1944. What followed was a brutal campaign of ghettoization, deportations, and mass murder, including the deportation of more than 440,000 Hungarian Jews, mostly to the Auschwitz killing center. Through eyewitness testimony and primary source documents, the authors present a history of the destruction of the last intact Jewish community in Europe during the Holocaust.
No Haven for the Oppressed: United States Policy toward Jewish Refugees, 1938–1945 (1973)
By Saul S. Friedman
No Haven for the Oppressed examines the United States government’s reaction to the Jewish refugee problem of the 1930s and 1940s, underscoring its failure to act as a safe haven. This book begins with an introduction to the restrictive measures originating from the 19th century against immigrants and explores the unwillingness of the American government and some Jewish leaders to advocate for European Jews.
Refugees and Rescue: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1935–1945 (2009)
By Richard Breitman, Barbara McDonald Stewart, and Severin Hochberg
Previously unknown evidence presented in Refugees and Rescue challenges widely held assumptions about the attitude of Franklin D. Roosevelt toward the rescue of European Jews before and during the Holocaust. The struggles of presidential confidant James G. McDonald, who resigned as League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1935, and his colleagues to find safe haven for many who would die in the Holocaust are disclosed here for the first time. McDonald’s 1935–36 diary entries and other primary sources presented in this publication offer new insights into the response of the United States and the Roosevelt administration to the refugee crisis during the 1930s.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (2003)
By Roméo Dallaire and Samantha Power
Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, gives a firsthand account of his experiences during the brutal 1994 Rwandan genocide. Against the odds, Dallaire and his troops saved thousands of lives; however, their call for further support went unheeded. Shake Hands with the Devil also provides the reader with Dallaire’s insights into his personal and very public struggle to continue with his life after the horrors he witnessed and felt helpless to stop.
The information above is for reference purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
For additional book and film options, browse our list of bibliographies from the Museum’s library, organized by topic.