January 27th marks Holocaust Memorial Day. On this day we remember the millions of Jews that were murdered in the concentration camps by the Nazis during World War II. It is very important that each generation of children learn about the Holocaust and the atrocities that occurred.
At Blackhen Education we believe that one of the best ways for a child to learn about the Holocaust is through reading about the subject, whether it be autobiographical books (Anne Frank’s Diary) or fiction (The Book Thief) and studying the subject in one of our English courses.
There are lots of resources to help children research this subject; be it books, films, online, documentaries etc. Due to the nature of this topic, parents do need to exercise some discretion and guidance for their children when finding out about this shocking episode in history. We would probably suggest that 13 years plus is probably the best age for children to first approach this subject. This is in line with most schools in the UK.
We have complied a list of 5 books for teenagers and young adults to learn about the Holocaust and the issues raised by it.
Number the Stars – Lois Lowry
‘It is 1943 and for ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen life in Copenhagen is a complicated mix of home and school life, food shortages and the constant presence of Nazi soldiers. She knows about bravery from the stories of the dragon-slaying knights that she reads to her younger sister. But Anniemarie’s best friend Ellen is a Jew. As the German troops begin their campaign to eradicate all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie is called upon for courage and a very real-life feat of bravery’. Amazon books.
Milkweed – Jerry Spinelli.
‘The book is about a boy in Warsaw, Poland in the years of World War II during the Holocaust. Over time he is taken in by a Jewish group of orphans and he must avoid the German troops (or “Jackboots”) while living on the streets with other orphans’. Wikipedia
The Holocaust – Susanna Davidson
‘Under the cover of the Second World War, the Nazis set out to kill every Jewish person in Europe, in what is now known as the Holocaust. This book looks at the events leading up to it and describes what happened, using historical fact and survivors’ stories to give a moving and sensitive account’. – Google books.
The Earth is Singing – Vanessa Curtis
My name is Hanna Michelson. I am fifteen. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing – taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend. When he holds my hand,everything feels perfect. I’m training to be a dancer. But none of that matters now. Because the Nazi have arrived and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
‘This book follows a 9-year-old boy named Bruno growing up during World War II in Berlin, Germany. He lives in a huge house with his parents, his 12-year-old sister Gretel and servants, one of whom is called Maria. After a visit by Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, Bruno’s father is promoted to Commandant, and the family has to move to “Out-With” because of the orders of “The Fury“.- WikipediaD