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Abraham Verghese wrote "Fiction is the lie that tells the truth." But the truth about what? Human feelings, relationships but not necessarily a historic event that is always molded into the service of a narrative. Elie Wiesel famously said about Holocaust fiction, "A novel about Treblinka is either not a novel or not about Treblinka." Yet, Wiesel also hewed a line between fiction and nonfiction in his books. Everyone is conflicted!

Quite a few of the Holocaust novels in the SaddleBrooke libraries can be described in three categories: the effect of the Holocaust on the young; perilous rescues and dual narratives. Books focusing on young people include “The Book Thief”, “Cilka’s Journey”, “Forest of Vanishing Stars”, “The Little Liar” and “The World We Knew”. Rescue books that emphasize harrowing escapes include “Code Name Sapphire”, “The Orphan’s Tale”, “Our Darkest Night”, “The Paris Architect” and “The One Man”. The most popular novels about the Holocaust have dual timelines. In these books, a person, years removed from the event, explores a link to the past that resolves a mystery. These include “The Book of Lost Names”, “Eli’s Promise”, “Shadows of Berlin”, “Song of the Jade Lily”, “Three Sisters”, “The Lost Family” and “The Accomplice.”

The nonfiction collections in the SaddleBrooke libraries contain a new Holocaust book (2024), “The Holocaust: An Unfinished History”, as well as an incredible account, “Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World”. Survivors’ stories are also represented in “Mitka’s Secret: A True Story of Child Slavery and Surviving the Holocaust” and “One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World,” a survivor’s account of the fate of the 1,700 member Jewish community on the island of Rhodes. In “The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive,” the author used as one of her sources the last surviving seamstress. “The Windermere Children”, a DVD, is based on the true story of the relocation of Holocaust orphans to the United Kingdom.

Extended bibliographies for both novels and nonfiction Holocaust books, DVDs and audios held in the SaddleBrooke Community Libraries are available at the SaddleBrooke HOA-1 and DesertView libraries. Catalog searches can also yield these titles by doing a Keyword search for terms such as Holocaust, Auschwitz or World War Jews.

The Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries (FSL) lecture will feature Laura Markowitz, project producer for the AZPM (Arizona Public Media) series, “Children of the Holocaust”, at 4 p.m. in the DesertView Theatre on Thursday, March 21. Laura Markowitz will discuss her experience interviewing 20 child survivors of the Holocaust who now live in Southern Arizona.

The lecture is free for members of Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries (FSL) and $5 for non-members to attend. FSL provides the funding to purchase new books, DVDs, and audiobooks for the SaddleBrooke Community Libraries. To learn about FSL, visit sbfsl.org.


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