Holocaust reading

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By one of those quirks of fate, I’ve been doing a lot of Holocaust reading lately.

It all started when a reservation I’d made for Searching for Schindler by Tom Keneally came in. I’d reserved the book via the library but came across a copy on CD read by Humphrey Bower, one of the best book narrators out there, and started to listen to the amazing story of how Keneally came to write that spellbinding tale of “humanity man to man”, Schindler’s Ark or as most would know it because of the film of the same name, Schindler’s List. I spent the ANZAC Day long weekend reading Searching for Schindler and immediately on returning got my hands on a copy of Schindler’s List for, while I had seen the film years ago, I’d never read the book. I also borrowed a copy of the video and wept my way through that the other evening.

At the same time my other book group read for this month is Maus I : a survivor’s tale : my father bleeds history by Art Spiegelman. Now this book is interesting because the story is presented as a graphic novel, or comic book. It is the story of how Spiegelman’s father survived the persecution of the Jews in occupied Poland, including a time in the dreaded Auschwitz concentration camp. It also tells how his father’s experiences has affected the relationship the author has with his father and how, through telling his son of his experiences, the author comes to understand his father a little better. Despite the comic book presentation this is a powerful and moving story with the Jewish people portrayed as mice and the German soldiers portrayed as cats. This book won a Pulitzer Prize Special Award in 1992. If you enjoy Maus I you will be pleased to hear the library has a copy of Maus II also.

And new to the library is Auschwitz by Pascal Croci. Also a graphic novel, this is a fictional account of a husband and wife who survive Auschwitz but who lose their daughter there. At the end of the book there is a Q&A section where Croci explains his decision to tell the story in graphic novel form and the stories of some survivors he interviewed during the course of his research. Fascinating stuff.
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