Holocaust Memorial Day 2015: The 70th Anniversary of Auschwitz’s Liberation

Today (27th January) is Holocaust Memorial Day. This year marks 70 years since Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Russian soldiers. Over one million people died at the concentration camp, including Jews, Poles, lesbians, homosexuals and the disabled – anyone that did not fit the Nazi’s view of the world.

It’s also a day to remember those affected by the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur. 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia.

Souvenir Press publishes two eye-opening books on the tragedies and atrocities faced by Jews all over Europe during the 1940s.

Ashes in the Windby Dr. Jacob Presser, is a first-hand account of the tragedy from 1940-45 and a monumental history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. 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 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 few 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.

“Dr Presser has rendered a great service to the record of humanity…A monument to the memory of the Jewish citizens of Holland who were massacred.” – Times Literary Supplement

ashes in the wind

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.

“This extraordinary little book charts the rise of Hitler and Nazism…An overnight sensation at the time, it remains every bit as powerful and, sadly, as pertinent today.” – Daily Mail

address unknown

Get a copy of Ashes in the Wind here.

Get a copy of Address Unknown here.

Visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Wesbite here.


“I Have A Dream” – Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

So today is the 3rd Monday in January, a.k.a. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Since 2nd November 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill for the national holiday, Americans have celebrated a day designed to remember and celebrate the values promoted by the famous civil rights leader.

This year is particularly special – not least because Ava DuVernay’s Selma is released, but also because it is 50 years since MLK Jr. led his historic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Celebrations to mark the occasion began yesterday, with some of Selma’s stars, including David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey, marching with hundreds of others as a tribute to the original march.

Elsewhere, US channel MTV will air in black and white for twelve hours and President Barack Obama will attend a community service project in Washington D.C.

Souvenir Press publishes MLK Jr.’s ‘Stride Toward Freedom’ and John Howard Griffin’s ‘Black Like Me’ – both part of our Independent Voices Series.

Stride Toward Freedom2black-like-me1

“In 1959, a white American decided to turn himself into a ‘Negro’…John Howard Griffin would venture alone into some of the Deep South’s most virulently racist hotspots and experience life on the other side of the tracks…Black Like Me brilliantly reveals the dehumanisation of black people by the white majority…This reissued edition will introduce a whole new British readership to a work that is still an important, illuminating and fascinating read.”
Bernardine Evaristo, ‘The Times’

And if you haven’t already seen it, catch the Selma trailer here.

Go gluten-free in 2015

Let’s face it, the gluten-free trend of 2014 isn’t going anywhere in 2015. Last year, “Free-From” foods started to appear in the first aisle (you know, the one by the door), #glutenfree trended on Twitter and most importantly, Dunkin’ Donuts finally managed to produce a gluten-free doughnut.

According to The Telegraph, bread and pasta sales suffered a decline in sales throughout 2014 (-8.9% and -4.2% respectively), whilst “Free-From” sales reached £0.5bn for the first time. Despite less than 2% of the population suffering from a food allergy, millions of people are turning to gluten-free diets to lose weight and get healthier.

The trend is big in America too, thanks to the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and socialite Nicole Richie, who both stick to a gluten-free diet. Worth around $2.6 billion, the market has grown by 36% since 2006. According to the Mail, even Girl Scouts are now making gluten-free cookies.

So, can eliminating gluten from your diet help you to a new feeling of health and well-being?

Simply Gluten Free cover 2

Rita Greer, one of Britain’s leading health writers, has decades of practical experience in special diet cookery. Her book, Simply Gluten Free, offers groundbreaking ideas and exciting recipes, including 100% gluten-free flour blend bread, for anyone who is seeking a gluten-free diet.

Try a free sample recipe here.

Buy a copy of Simply Gluten Free here.

Happy Birthday Alan Watts

It would’ve been Alan Watts’ 100th birthday this week (6th January).

A key figure in introducing Eastern philosophical and religious thought to Western readers, and a source of inspiration for many (Cheryl Fernandez-Versini recently used his work in some of her lyrics), Watts was born in Kent and raised as an Anglican. He became a Buddhist as a teenager and moved to California in 1951, where he became a counterculture icon and one of the best-known writers of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The Book

The Book explores an unrecognised but mighty taboo – our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are. We are therefore in urgent need of a sense of our own existence, which is in accord with the physical facts and which over comes our feeling of alienation from the universe.

What is the cause of the illusion that the self is a separate ego, housed in a bag of skin, and which confronts a universe of physical objects that are alien to it? Rather a person’s identity (their ego) binds them to the physical universe, creating a relationship with their environment and other people. The separation of the self and the physical world leads to the misuse of technology and the attempt to violently subjugate man’s natural environment, leading to its destruction.

Explaining man’s role in the universe as a unique expression of the total universe, and interdependent on it, Alan Watts offers a new understanding of personal identity in The Book. It reveals the mystery of existence, presenting an alternative to the feelings of alienation that is prevalent in Western society, and a vision of how we can come to understand the cosmic self that is within every living thing.

Some praise for The Book:

“The best book I’ve ever read on the nature of what actually is, what the world is about, and how you should behave.” – John Lloyd, BBC Radio 4, Desert Island Discs.

“For a new generation of readers… look at this ancient philosophy from a modern counter-cultural standpoint. Alan Watts explores the subject in concrete terms, using current idioms and expressions which will also appeal to the younger reader.” – ‘Vedanta’

“Offering spiritual answers to the problems of a materialistic lifestyle, alienated from the natural world, Watts is the voice of all who seek a deeper understanding of their own identity and role in the world.” – Watkins Review’

“Reminds us how Watts presented complex theories and views in a subtle yet straightforward fashion… Still an iconic figure… he made great breakthroughs in stretching our philosophical horizons.” – Beat Scene’