In Honor of Yom Hazikaron leShoah ve-leG’vurah (Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and Heroism) most commonly referred to as Yom HaShoah, our International MA students in Holocaust Studies have compiled a list of the Holocaust books they found most thought-provoking, impactful, and moving. From the philosophical to the purely historical, here are ten recommended, non-fiction and fiction books to read today.
1. Our Holocaust, Amir Gutfreund 2006
Translated from the original Hebrew and written by a second generation Holocaust survivor, ‘Our Holocaust’ shares with the reader the difficulty, confusion, and heartbreak of growing up in a family with survivor parents.
Polish historian Jan Grabowski is concerned about the future of Holocaust research in his native Poland, in the wake of its controversial Holocaust law.
The new bill states that “whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich … shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years.”
Speaking at the Centre of Organisations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Grabowski warned: “If you’re a student of history or a journalist, are you really going to want to dig into these issues if you’re going to lose your work, your grant or your possibility of promotion?”
Jordanna Gessler, a graduate of the Weiss-Livnat International MA program in Holocaust Studies and now the Director of Education at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, tells The Times of Israel why Holocaust studies matter…
In 1927, a boy named Elek was born in Belsko, Poland. He was born to an upper middle-class family, had two younger siblings, dozens of cousins, and enjoyed accompanying his mother, Deborah, to Vienna to see concerts and the opera. He had a very happy childhood. He spoke German at home and Polish in school, and he liked to play catch with his friends. He had a good arm. On the holidays, he went to synagogue and always remembered that his mother made the best gefilte fish. For his bar mitzvah, he received a potato. It was 1940 and the Germans had already invaded, World War II had broken out, and the Holocaust had begun. At that time, he did not know that he would never see his mother again. This was something that he never got over. He never forgot his mother, I would know. He was my grandfather.
Thesis: Jews saving Jews – Individual Initiatives during the Holocaust, 1939-1945
Experience: Volunteer at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Archive since October 2014.
- Gidron, N. “Jewish Physicians rescuing Jews during the Holocaust, 1939-1945” at the 17th Nahariya Conference on Medicine and the Holocaust
Olga Kartashova, Russia
What brought you to the University of Haifa?
After completion of an MA in Comparative History and Jewish studies at the Central European University in Budapest, I had in hand a decision to devote myself to the career of a Holocaust scholar and pursue further opportunities in academia. What supported my decision was a serious reputation of this very “young” program worldwide and the recommendations of alumni. And, of course, discovering Israel by living here for a year seemed to be a great adventure.
Professor Stefan Ihrig received his BA degree in Law and Politics at the Queen Mary University in London, his MA degree in History, Turcology and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin and his PhD in History at the University of Cambridge. Professor Ihrig spent four years as a project assistant and researcher at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research and has also spent four years as a Polonsky Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He has previously lectured at the Free University of Berlin and the Univesity of Regensburg. In 2016 the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies had the pleasure of welcoming him to the faculty. He is also a professor in the Department of General History at the University of Haifa and at the Haifa Center of German and European Studies.
Cohort V Student Mallory
It has already been a month since we said goodbye to Cohort V. Our student Mallory reflects on her life changing year, shares her plans for the future, and gives advice for the students of Cohort VI, who we have the pleasure of welcoming to Haifa later this month.
What were some of your highlights from the past year?
Highlights from the past year circled around learning from the wonderful professors who are instrumental in the field of the Holocaust. Every single professor has a unique teaching style and they all have their own niche. I can only wish we had more time with them! Another major highlight was to see classmates grow into colleagues. Meaning, I look forward to the next few years, staying in touch to learn who earned what job position, or doctorate, or where they will be speaking next – or, how I can get an advanced copy of their amazing book or article! I am certain there are some of us who, because of the education we received at Haifa, will contribute greatly to the new generation of Holocaust academics. We have experienced something special and I think that experience will sustain for years to come.