On the 27th, the world again honored the victims of the Holocaust through:

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust,

Holocaust Memorial Day, and Auschwitz Liberation Day. This brought to mind 3 poignant memoirs detailing on a personal level that at times people are capable of doing the unthinkable to others, and that in real life, monsters do exist.

My 2 picks:

My two picks for this topic are perennial favorites (as well as personal favorites of mine):

Blurb:

At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an old-maid watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, a story did ensue.

Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story.

My thoughts:

5 ***** stars!

This is one of my favorite all time books. Every time I felt like complaining about something, I would be reminded of something Ms. Ten Boom went through, and pretty much nothing could compare. Very inspiring. I read this again for the fourth time  5-28-2015 to 5-29-2015. Every time I do, it is always fresh, and I imagine, because it is so moving.

Blurb:

Contemporary / British English It is 1942 in Holland and the Germans have invaded. All Jewish people are frightened for their lives, so the Frank family hide. Life is dangerous but they hope for the best – until they are finally discovered. Anne Frank was a real person, and this is her diary.

My thoughts:

5 ***** stars!

I can’t imagine being a kid at that time in history and going through what millions of kids did. Adolescence is hard enough without experiencing the daily terror of living at that time, constant deprivation for bare bones basics, and the horror of watching unbelievable suffering. The Diary of Anne Frank is especially touching though because Anne communicated such indomitable optimism despite everything. The books speaks so well of the resilience of the human spirit and the will to keep the vision of a better tomorrow at the forefront.

Daisy’s pick:

Blurb:

..”.the author is a legend for all that she survived and held on to her faith thru it all. Remarkable and inspiring story.” — Kevin and Shana Scott

[UPDATED AND REVISED FOR 2017] Dorothea Wollin was just a young girl when American bombs demolished her German town. Uprooted overnight, she and her family found themselves on a journey of survival across Europe.

“Many people bury their memories so they don’t have to deal with the pain. For whatever reason, my mother buried hers. I was hard-pressed to get any stories from her. She was not one who shared easily. However, one night was different. It was many years after the war, in 1987, and I was visiting my family in Germany. I felt there were things Mother and I needed to talk about, and I pressed for discussion. I was pleasantly surprised when she stayed up until the wee hours sharing memories.”

When American bombs demolished her German town, Dorothea Wollin and her family found themselves on a journey of survival across Europe.

This is a true story of a little girl’s quest for meaning in a dark world that led to faith in Christ, and to a freedom greater than that of country or politics.

“What I want most for my story to convey is that the Lord led me through the trials and tribulations of my life in order that I could find meaning, joy, and peace. Because I am approaching the end of my life, I want to inspire my readers to question their own choices, priorities and values in order to find peace with the Lord and joy in their hearts.” — Dorothea Wollin Null

Daisy’s Review:

5 ***** stars!

This is a nonfiction memoir about a girl who survived WWII, and it covers not only the war years but also the years after the war. It took place mainly in Germany, but also partly in the United States. This is not the average war-time memoir… it tells the story from the perspective of a Christian German girl who saw the atrocities of both sides, and was caught right in the middle.

This is a very good, very interesting, must-read book for everybody interested in World War Two history. The author writes well, drawing with words vivid representations of her experiences as a youth during the war. She seasons her book with her deep love for the Lord, and attributes her and her family’s survival through bombings and devastation to His mercy and love. She does still have a little bit of wartime brainwashing that stuck with her over the years, but this is common and to be expected, and it does not effect my rating any.

From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, there is a collection of music written during the Nazi occupation and even in the concentration camps. One can read about each individual song, the artist and listen to them. 

Music of The Holocaust

“Music was heard in many ghettos, concentration camps, and partisan outposts of Nazi-controlled Europe. While popular songs dating from before the war remained attractive as escapist fare, the ghetto, camp, and partisan settings also gave rise to a repertoire of new works. These included topical songs inspired by the latest gossip and news, and songs of personal expression that often concerned the loss of family and home.

Classical music—instrumental works, art songs, opera—was also produced and performed during this period, notably by prisoners at the Theresienstadt (Terezín) ghetto and transit camp in Czechoslovakia, as well as in several other ghettos and camps.

For many victims of Nazi brutality, music was an important means of preserving and asserting their humanity. Such music—particularly the topical songs—also serves as a form of historical documentation. Like “audio snapshots,” these works offer a telling glimpse into the events and emotions that their creators and original audiences experienced firsthand.”

Here is a song I picked to honor those victims…. It is called “Schubert’s Serenade (Dedication to the Holocaust)” (not from the site, though)…. according to notes regarding this song, “This song, composed by Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828) would be played many times by Jewish musicians in concentration and death camps, and many victims would hear this classical piece and others like it before their deaths.”

To close, a bookish thought for the day: from poet Hannah More–

“The world does not require so much to be informed as reminded.”