In honor of Anne Frank’s birthday on June 12th, we’re granting access to the following books for free for an entire month—the top five most researched Holocaust narratives by and about individuals who were children during the Holocaust. For another look at Anne Frank’s life, check out “The Bravery of Anne Frank,” an Ellis Shuman blog post on his visit to the Anne Frank House museum. Visit Questia’s Anne Frank topic page for additional information on the Dutch diarist.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl—Perhaps one of the most memorable works to come out of the Holocaust, The Diary of a Young Girl was written by Anne Frank, a young girl forced to hide out from the Nazis in a secret annex for two years. The diary begins on Sunday, June 14, 1942, two days after Anne Frank’s 13th birthday, and continues until August 1, 1944, chronicling Anne Frank’s experiences as a teenage girl in hiding. Anne Frank passed away in March of 1945 in the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen after their annex was discovered. [Frank, Anne. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl. Trans. B. M. Mooyaart-Doubleday. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1952. Questia. Web.]
Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood during the Holocaust—In an effort for readers to better understand the Holocaust and learn from “the most cruel mistakes of European civilization” (Brostoff and Chamovitz xiii), Flares of Memory is a compilation of short stories and memories recounted by Holocaust survivors. The short, poignant stories exist just as the survivors wrote them, in their own words, in an effort to allow them to reflect on the excruciating time and express their memories as they see fit. [Brostoff, Anita, and Sheila Chamovitz, eds. Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood during the Holocaust. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Questia. Web.]
Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood—Written by a Holocaust survivor, Dry Tears chronicles the experience of the author, Nechama Tec, beginning in 1939 at age eight. Tec delves into her memories of the Holocaust as a child, including losing family members during common midnight raids. “[The Nazis] would surround a Jewish building in the middle of the night, order all Jews into the courtyard, and divide them into ‘the more and the less useful.’ Usually those who looked a little weaker or older, often women with children, were put in the ‘useless’ group and taken away, vanishing forever from sight” (Tec 9). [Tec, Nechama. Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. Questia. Web.]
Hope is the Last to Die: A Coming of Age Under Nazi Terror—In Hope is the Last to Die, author Halina Birenbaum discusses her life during the war and occupation of the Warsaw ghetto, as well as time spent at four concentration camps: Majdanek, Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and Neustadt-Glewe. Birenbaum was ten in 1939, and the book chronicles her experiences from then until 1945 when her camp was liberated. In the introduction, Birenbaum is described powerfully, “her conversation makes the same impression as her writing: that of a woman who saw so much death that she marvels at life” (Birenbaum v). [Birenbaum, Halina. Hope Is the Last to Die: A Coming of Age under Nazi Terror. Trans. David Welsh. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1996. Questia. Web.]
Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz’s Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France—Your Name is Renee was written by Stacy Cretzmeyer, a former student of high school French teacher and Holocaust survivor Ruth Hartz, chronicling Hartz’s experience as a hidden child of the Holocaust. The title is a nod to attempts made by Hartz’s family to protect her during the horrific time, as children who spoke French and denied their German-Jewish ancestry had slightly better chances for survival. Your Name is Renee is the result of a 13 year collaboration between the former student and teacher, allowing Cretzmeyer a chance to hone her writing craft and Hartz to make peace with the happenings of her past. [Cretzmeyer, Stacy. Your Name Is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Questia. Web.]