World War II Reads

I live in The Netherlands and today marks 75 years of freedom in The Netherlands. Yesterday (4th of May) we remembered all the lives lost during the war and today we celebrate freedom. These are strange times to celebrate freedom when we are all stuck at home. Still I am so grateful that I grew up in a country with freedom. I never feared for my life because of who I am, what I believe, what I say etc. It saddens my that not everybody has that. I hope that in the end we all can enjoy freedom.

I always think it is important to learn from the past. World War II was horrible. Many people lost their lives in inhuman ways. Since this years marks 75 years of freedom my goal is to read more books about the war. Here I share a list of 3 books about World War II that I think everyone should read.


The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

In 1942, with the 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, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” 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 surprisingly humorous, 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.

If there is one book you need to read about World War II it is this book. Firstly, because it is a diary written during the war. Everything in the book are real emotions felt at that moment. There are no memory biases that we all tend to have when we try to tell about what happened in the past. Thus this book gives a realistic view of how life was during the war. Secondly, it was Anne Frank her dream to become a author. With publishing this book after the war her father could make her dream come true when she herself could not anymore. I like the idea that by reading this book we help her with her dreams. In short this book is a must read about the World War. It gives a realistic view and it is important for people to know and learn what happened. Honestly the only thing I did not like about this book is that it tends to be slow. However this book is a must read.


The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

This book follows a unique point of view, death himself. It gives a original perspective of the war and how it effects the people. This book is fiction. For me it was the easiest book from this list. It is really well written. It is less heavy as other books and with this I think it is more suited for a younger audience than the other books in this list. However because it is fiction and with how it is written I think it does not fully show the horrors that happened.


last stop Auschwitz, Eddy de Wind

In 1943, amidst the start of German occupation, Eddy de Wind worked as a doctor at Westerbork, a Dutch transit camp. His mother had been taken to this camp by Nazis but Eddy was assured by the Jewish Council she would be freed in exchange for his labor. He later found out she’d already been transferred to Auschwitz.
While at Westerbork, he fell in love with a woman named Friedel and they married. One year later, they were transported to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, Friedel and Eddy were separated–Eddy forced to work as a medical assistant in one barrack, Friedel at the mercy of Nazi experimentation in a nearby block. Sneaking moments with his beloved and communicating whenever they could, Eddy longed for the day he could be free with Friedel…

This book was the hardest to read. First because of the writing style. Which makes it a book that sometime is harder to follow. Secondly because it is written by a Holocaust survivor during his imprisonment in Auschwitz. This makes it emotional hard to read all the horrors that have happened. This book is so unique. There are not many (if any) books written by survivors in Auschwitz during the war. It is so insightful and gives you a look in the horrors of Auschwitz.

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