03. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtbau, 266 pages, read by Kim Bolton, on 04/02/2015

Thousands of Nazis — from concentration camp guards to high-level officers in the Third Reich — came to the United States after World War II and quietly settled into new lives. They had little trouble getting in. With scant scrutiny, many gained entry on their own as self-styled war “refugees,” their pasts easily disguised and their war crimes soon forgotten. But some had help and protection from the U.S. government. The CIA, the FBI, and the military all put Hitler’s minions to work as spies, intelligence assets, and leading scientists and engineers, whitewashing their histories.

For the first time, once-secret government records and interviews tell the full story not only of the Nazi scientists brought to America, but of the German spies and con men who followed them and lived for decades as ordinary citizens. Only years after their arrival did private sleuths and government prosecutors begin trying to identify the hidden Nazis. But even then, American intelligence agencies secretly worked to protect a number of their prized spies from exposure. Today, a few Nazis still remain on our soil.

Investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau, relying on a trove of newly discovered documents and scores of interviews with participants in this little-known chapter of postwar history, tells the shocking and shameful story of how America became a safe haven for Hitler’s men.

–From Goodreads.com.

I was truly shocked about how many Nazi criminals made into America after WWII and our own government’s participation and cooperation in bringing them to and keeping them in our country. This is a very well-written and researched book. I enjoyed it for its historical truth and content and its shocking revelations.

16. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

The Last Nazi: Joseph Schwamberger and the Nazi Past by Aaron Freiwald and Martin Mendelsohn, 362 pages, read by Kim B, on 03/02/2015

The Last Nazi: Joseph Schwamberger and the Nazi Past details the one of the last major war crimes trials in modern Germany. It contains a lot of discussion on whether these aged former Nazi soldiers should be brought to trial and argues that Germany as struggled for over fifty years to put its Nazi past behind it but the world will not allow the country to do so. The book also hashes out the controversial subject between older generation Germans and the younger generations. It is a very good read for Holocaust readers.

02. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust's Hidden Child Survivors by R.D. Rosen, 257 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/01/2015

Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust’s Hidden Child Survivors by R.D. Rosen is a good read for those of us interested in this aspect of history. The author features three women who survived the holocaust by being taken  in by Christians, their journey through those dark years and after when they were faced with the fact that they were Jewish and not Christian and how they dealt with it and the psychological and emotional impact it had on them. They faced a lot of anger issues as well as issues with the biological mother who gave them up to save them. As children, this was hard for them to understand, as adults they learned of the strength their mothers had in doing what they did to save their lives. Not many of the mothers survived to be reunited with their daughters. A very moving and emotional book.

17. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction, Teen Books · Tags: ,

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 08/16/2014

Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi commander in charge of emptying Europe of its Jews. He commanded the transportation of Jews from their homes to the ghettos to the camps and to their extermination. He was an essential part of the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem. At the end of WWII, he escaped Germany and ended up in Buenos Ares, Argentina. He lived there in freedom for 15 years before he was identified by a local girl and her Jewish father. Israel was contacted and soon a team of Mossad agents where in Buenos Ares with a plan to capture Eichmann and bring him back to Israel to stand trial. This is their story. It is a compelling story of how the Israelis tracked down Eichmann, confirmed his identity, captured him, and secreted him out of Argentina. The trial of Adolf Eichmann brought the story of the Holocaust into the public consciousness. Survivors were able to tell their stories and the world was ready to listen. This trial was a turning point in the story of the Jews. It is a powerful story and one I hadn’t heard before. Definitely worth the read.

16. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Autobiographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction · Tags: ,

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 11/14/2013

I couldn’t put this book down; I didn’t want to put it down. Leon Leyson captured my attention and held it throughout his entire story. We learn a lot about the Holocaust and what happened during those years, but I haven’t ever really read an autobiography about it. Leon Leyson was just a young boy when Germany invaded Poland. He and his family lived in Krakow and quickly began to feel the effects of the Nazi machine. Because his father had a job, most of his family was protected, but they were never really safe. His father worked for Oskar Schindler at his enamel factor and was one of the first on “the list”. Leon, his mother and his brother David also had their names added to the list. Unfortunately, two of his brothers did not; one fled to the country and one was rounded up during one of the ghetto cleansings. His sister worked for another factory and was protected until the end. Being on Schindler’s list did not necessarily mean full protection however. The family was still subjected to the ghetto and the guards who terrorized it. They were also all sent to concentration camps during the move from Krakow to Brunnlitz. This is a very compelling story of one family’s survival during the atrocities of WWII. Leon didn’t die horribly like so many others during that time. He survived, moved to America and became a teacher. It wasn’t until the release of Schindler’s List that he started to speak about his experiences. Leon Leyson was the youngest person on the list, but he was not the only one. Oskar Schindler’s bravery and dedication to saving his Jews was amazing. Reading this book made me want to learn more about Schindler (beyond what I remember from the movie!).

27. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, 274 pages, read by Kim, on 08/27/2013

It was wonderful to read this book again after so many years.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic; a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

07. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Anne Frank: A Hidden Life by Mirjam Pressler, 176 pages, read by Kim, on 08/06/2013

This book was written for teens but is an excellent companion book to the Diary of Anne Frank and you learn more of the personal background of the Frank family and those who helped to hide them. You also learn more of what the Frank sisters, Anne and Margot went through in the seven months of their captivity in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

05. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Anne Frank: The Biography by Melissa Muller, 458 pages, read by Kim, on 08/05/2013

I love learning more about Anne Frank and her family that goes beyond the diary. This is book is an updated version that gives us clues as to who may have betrayed the Frank family although we will never know for sure. It also goes into detail about the fate of Anne, her sister, Margot, and their mother after their arrest and deportation to concentration camps.

23. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Biographies, History, Kim B · Tags:

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, 382 pages, read by Kim, on 07/19/2013

Based on the true story of Irena Sendler, a Holocaust hero, and the Kansas teens who ‘rescued the rescuer’.

I loved this book. Couldn’t put it down!

05. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys by Jeffrey Herf, 527 pages, read by Kim, on 06/05/2013

There is a lot of dry information in this book, but  if you want to get a feel for how West and East Germany handled the difficulties that presented themselves in the decades after surrendering in WWII, especially how they dealt with the memory of the Holocaust and their relationship with the Jewish faction of the population, it is very interesting and very meaningful especially to the amateur Holocaust scholar.

15. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Graphic Novel, History, Memoirs, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon, 152 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/14/2012

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.

27. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Historical Fiction · Tags: ,

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, 293 pages, read by Andrea, on 07/27/2012

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.

26. June 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction · Tags:

Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust by Ruth Thomson, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 06/25/2012

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.

06. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

The boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, 215 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/06/2012

The Boy in the Striped PajamasA story of friendship between a young prisoner of Auschwitz and Bruno, the naive German boy who is the son of the commandant. Bruno never really understands what is happening around him. It’s just unimaginable to him. Which in some ways makes the story all the more poignant.

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags: , ,

Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto by Susan Goldman Rubin, Bill Farnsworth (Illustrator) , 40 pages, read by Angie, on 01/09/2012

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.