Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise, and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have created the first authorized and exhaustive graphic biography of Anne Frank. This is a concise introduction to not only Anne Frank and her family but history of Nazism, concentration camps, general history of WWII and how the conflict spread as well as the years immediately after the war. I had not realized prior to reading this the first concentration camp built and opened in Germany was to house German citizens who opposed the Nazi parties new policies.
This was one of those books that shocked me. I got chills, teared up and learned something about the Holocaust that I was unaware of. I have always been interested in the history of WWII. I have learned quite a bit from various books, movies, and relatives about what it was like to live in the early to mid-40s. However, most of those were in America’s point-of-view, German’s POV, or Russia’s. But I never knew about the French involvement in the Holocaust. I didn’t think it existed. I assumed that the Germans had everything to do with the removal and extermination French Jews, hence occupied France, most specifically, Paris.
Sarah’s Key is a haunting tale about a young Jewish girl named Sarah living in Paris at the height of the Holocaust and Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in the same city sixty years later. Julia is assigned a story highlighting the Vel’ d’Hiv’, the tragic roundup of thousands of French Jews by the county’s own police. Her research leads her down a twisted road of painful secrets that eventually lead to Sarah and her story. The book’s chapters alternate from Sarah’s point of view to Julia’s and eventually stays with Julia’s voice. This story reveals a part of the Holocaust that seems to be brushed aside instead of learned openly like the rest of that tragic part of WWII. This was a very interesting historical book, a story I think should be read in schools to educate others about this part of the Holocaust. I remember learning about Auschwitz and some of the other well-known camps, so it would only make sense to learn about Vel’ d’Hiv’ and France’s involvement as well.
Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust tells the story of the Terezin concentration camp in the Czech Republic. The story is told through first hand accounts and art work from the people who were imprisoned in the camp. Terezin was a camp the Nazis used to show off to organizations like the Red Cross. They would fix it up and prove that their camps were not bad places. Unfortunately, Terezin was just like all the other concentration camps. Most of the Jews imprisoned there were transported to other camps like Auschwitz and killed. Only about 3000 of the 86000 survived Terezin.
The first hand accounts really make this book powerful. The innocence of the Jews when they are first sent to the Terezin Ghetto, the strength of the Elder Council as it tried to protect its citizens, the heartbreak of the Jews as they lost their battle to survive. Their own words are heartbreaking.
There is just something about WWII stories that really pulls at my heart. I find the people who worked for the underground movements and helped the Jewish people fascinating. There is something about their courage and heroism that really makes you look at your own life and wander what you would have done in a similar situation. Not everyone was strong enough to stand up for what was right, but Irena Sendler was definitely one of those heroes. Her story is similar to others who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, but it is definitely worth knowing. I thought this picture book biography did a good job of showing her courage and dedication to doing what is right. She is a hero from a very dark time in our history and her story deserves to be told.