This Sunday, 27th January, is Holocaust Memorial Day 2013. Souvenir Press has two eye-opening books on the tragedies and atrocities faced by Jews all over Europe during the 1940s.
Ashes in the Wind by Dr Jacob Presser is a first-hand account of the tragedy of 1940-45. Beginning in 1940, 110,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands to concentration camps. Of those, fewer than 6,000 returned. Ashes in the Wind is a monumental history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a detailed and moving description of how the Nazi party first discriminated against Jews, before segregating them and finally deporting them to the gas chambers (a process fully outlined in the mass of administrative documents discovered by Dr Presser). At a time when there are increasingly fewer survivors of the Holocaust the eye-witness accounts and contemporary descriptions in Ashes in the Wind powerfully outline, for future generations, the process of dehumanisation, and the silent conformity by Dutch civilians, that allowed the Holocaust to happen.
Address Unknown by Kressmann Taylor is a rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938 – and now an international bestseller. Described by the New York Times Book Review as “the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction”, Address Unknown is written on the eve of the Holocaust as a series of letters between an American Jew and his German friend. It is a haunting tale of immense and enduring impact, exposing the poison of Nazism. This memorable story survives in an age of racial, ethnic and nationalistic intolerance as a searing reminder that history can repeat itself.