Fave Five Friday: WWII Books

This might seem like an odd choice for a ‘Fave Five’ but I have an admiration and fascination with WWII literature. This time period inspired some of the strongest tales of perseverance the world has ever seen. I took a couple classes in college about the Holocaust and WWII so I have read my fair share on the topic. It’s just something important to me that I’d like to share.

5. Maus by Art Spiegelman

Maus Cover

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.

(Description from Amazon)

For me, Maus was especially hard to read because it’s about a son trying to connect with his father over the horrors of the Holocaust. We see the trickle down effect that history has, and it’s interesting and terrifying.

4. Mischling, Second Degree: My Childhood in Nazi Germany by Ilse Koehn

Mischling, Second Degree Cover

The memoirs of a German girl who became a leader among the Hitler Youth while her Social Democratic family kept from her the secret of her partial Jewish heritage.

(Description from Amazon)

This book is fascinating because it gives you an inside glimpse of the Hitler Youth. Ilse doesn’t realize that she is a Jewish descendant, she thinks she’s just another German girl. It creates an interesting and dangerous narrative that is unique to anything I’ve read before.

3. From the Ashes of Sobibor by Thomas Toivi Blatt

From the Ashes of Sobibor Cover

From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival is an invaluable, firsthand account of a child’s survival in a Nazi concentration camp in Poland during World War II. When the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Thomas Toivi Blatt was twelve years old. He and his family lived in the largely Jewish town of Izbica in the Lublin district of Poland—the district that was to become the site of three major Nazi extermination camps: Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek. Blatt tells of the chilling events that led to his deportation to Sobibor, and of the six months he spent there before taking part in the now-famous uprising and mass breakout. Blatt’s tale of escape, and of the five harrowing years spent eluding both the Nazis and anti-Semitic Polish nationalists, is gripping account of resilience and survival.

(Description from Amazon)

This book was hard to read because it’s so real. Blatt was just a child and he is forced to make decisions and alliances we couldn’t even imagine having to make today. Blatt’s story is inspirational and one of the greatest stories of human resilience that I’ve ever read.

2. Night by Elie Wiesel

Night Cover

Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz and then Buchenwald. Night is the shattering record of his memories of the death of his mother, father, and little sister, Tsipora; the death of his own innocence; and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man.

(Description from Amazon)

Night is one of the most renowned pieces of literature about Holocaust survival, and there is good reason for it. This book is frighteningly surreal, you can feel every point of pain and fear. Night asks questions about evil that we can’t even begin to fathom. It says a lot about human nature, in good ways and bad ways.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief Cover

When Death has a story to tell, you listen.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. 

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

(Description from Amazon)

If you’ve read some of my other posts you probably already know how much I love this book.

While fictitious, this novel captures raw emotion that I haven’t read anywhere else. This novel is so unique because it’s narrated by death itself, to me that was so powerful and painful. This novel will make you cry but you will fall in love with this story.

4 thoughts on “Fave Five Friday: WWII Books

  1. Great compilation. I love WWI books as well. The Book Thief has been on my TBR for a while now. Two books that might interest you are: When a toy dog became a wolf and the moon broke curfew by Hendrika De Vries and Quest for Eternal Sunshine by Mendek Rubin. I posted about both on my blog if you want to check reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list – I definitely agree about Night, which is the only book on this list I’ve read. But I’ve been really wanting to read Maus, especially since I am the daughter of a survivor. I’ve heard that it’s an incredible book. Thanks for sharing on this important topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this post, I had never herd Mischling, Second Degree: My Childhood in Nazi Germany by Ilse Koehn before. I hope that you continue to write articles like this, If you feel up to it, please take a look at my articles found on my website at Vocal.com.

    Liked by 1 person

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