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Classical Childrens Books

Books About the Holocaust

Why would we list books about the holocaust on a children's classic book site? As unthinkable as the holocaust was, it is more unthinkable that people and organizations are committed to denying it ever occured.

The best proof of the holocaust is the testimony and pictures of those who lived it - the prisoners and the liberators.

If our children are to live in a world free of holocausts, they must be aware that they can and do happen. The voices of those who lived it must be heard.

The Garden

By Franta Bass
Imprisoned at Terezin at age 12, Executed age 14

A little garden,
Fragrant and full of roses,
The path is narrow
And a little boy walks along it.

A little boy, a sweet boy
Like that growing blossom
When the blossom comes to bloom,
The little boy will be no more.

Excerpt from "I Never Saw Another Butterfly"
A collection of holocaust poems and drawings by children



We have divided the books about the holocaust into two sections: children and adults. Like many other events in life, children experienced the holocaust and concentration camps different than their parents.

Children During the Holocaust

I Never Saw Another Butterly

Collection of Holocaust Poems and Drawings by Children
Terezin Concentration Camp

This is one of the most heart-wrenching books about the holocaust. It is comprised of a collection of drawings, poems, and prose written by children in the Terezin Concentration Camp from 1942-1944.
Less than 1% of the 15,000 children imprisoned at Terezin survived.









The Diary of Anne Frank

By Anne Frank

Diary of 12 - 13 year old girl
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Anne Frank and her family left Germany to go to the Netherlands when Hitler came to power. With the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, her family went into hiding in a secret annex in an office building for two years. During this time Anne wrote her diary, which has become the most widely read diary in the world. Her family was found and deported to concentration camps, where Anne, her mother and sister died.






Twenty and Ten

By Claire Hutchet Bishop

True Story
Occupied France

Twenty Catholic students are playing a game at their rural school during the Nazi occupation of France. A visitor comes and asks if they school will hide ten Jewish children. The game becomes very real and dangerous when German soldiers come looking for the children.

Unit Study Lesson Plans for Twenty and Ten



When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

By Judith Kerr

Autobiographical Novel
Germany, Switzerland, France

The author's father was hunted by the Nazis because he had spoken out against them. Her family fled the country and lived as hunted refugees.








Number the Stars

By Lois Lowry

Historic Fiction
4th to 6th Grade
Copenhagen

Based on the true childhood events of the author's friend, this story is told from the perspective of Annemarie, a fictitious Gentile girl, whose best friend's family is hunted by soldiers. Annemarie has to help find a way to help her friend escape, and find what really caused her own sister's death.






Milkweed

By Jerry Spinelli

Historic Fiction
5th to 8th Grade
Warsaw Ghetto
A young orphan boy survives on the streets of Warsaw by stealing food. He does not remember his name, nationality, or where he comes from. When he joins with a group of Jewish street orphans, it doesn't appear he doesn't have much to offer. But as the Nazi's entrap the Jewish population behind the wall of the Warsaw Ghetto, he finds a way out - at least for a while. Soon he looks back at his time as a thief on the street as the "good days."





True Stories From Holocaust Survivors

The Hiding Place

By Corrie Ten Boom

True Story
Harleem, Holland

Corrie and her family have a watchshop in Harleem. They become an active part of the Dutch Underground, hiding Jews in their home and helping them escape to other areas. The home is raided and Corrie and her sister are sent to concentration camps, including Ravensbruck. Her life story includes an incredible message of faith and forgiveness in the presence of hate.






Man's Search for Meaning

By Victor E. Frankl

True Story
Young Adult to Adult

The true story of a psychiatrist's imprisonment at Auschwitz. Like many others, he lost everything including his family, his home, his lifelong research; and only narrowly escaped with his life. Makes his description of meaning of life compelling. Not written for children, much of it could be understood and appreciated by students in middle school and above.






The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw

By Wladyslaw Szpilman

True Story - Autobiography
Warsaw Ghetto - 1939 to 1945
Young Adult to Adult

The author was a successful pianist who lived with his family in Poland during the occupation. He accidentally was separated from his family as they were bound to the concentration camps and death; escaping death multiple times.
An appendix with extracts from the diary of Captian Wil Hosenfeld, a German officer in the Nazi army, makes this one of the most unique of the books about the holocaust. At one point he played a crucial role in helping Wladyslaw escape. His own thoughts regarding the war and the National Socialist revolution are recorded.
The book is not appropriate for young children.







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