It will always be an indelible image stamped on my memory (memory after all is one of God’s greatest gifts): I opened a door outside the education wing at Yad Vashem, Israel’s venerated Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. Squinting into the sunlight, I saw a group of about 20 Israeli soldiers listening to a lecture by an officer. They were standing on a large patio area; next to the soldiers was a ghastly iron statue – an image of a person enduring a death camp.
It was a painful scene, until I realized the turn of events. The whole patio area looked out over hillsides dotted with Jewish homes, the ultimate triumph over Hitler.
Here was a group of soldiers – from the era of the first Jewish fighting units in 2,000 years, complete with guns (I love seeing Jews with guns!) – and they were hearing a lecture about the attempt to murder every Jew. And they were doing this in the Land of Israel.
Publishing Holocaust materials remains a central goal for Yad Vashem, as well as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
My good friend, Dr. Alex Grobman, one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars, understands that basic questions must be asked: “One of the fundamental questions is what is the Holocaust and why do we study it?”
The Holocaust, of course, refers to the campaign to exterminate every single Jew during World War II. Though a plan of madness, it was implemented by the Nazis and carried out with horrifying consequences.
We study it so that it never happens again.
A huge problem – one that Dwight Eisenhower anticipated – is that of the deniers. Folks in our culture in many cases are predisposed to disliking Jews. Someone coming along to cast doubt on the historicity of one of civilization’s biggest attempts at mass murder only buttresses that dislike.
Grobman’s book “Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?” addresses this and remains the best book I’ve read on the subject.
Grobman understands the stakes:
At a time when historical truth is under siege, it is critical for us to be actively engaged in this war to preserve the history of the Holocaust. This is not an esoteric problem, but one that affects everyone concerned with historical truth. If Jewish history is distorted, manipulated and abused, then the history of other groups is also in danger. For this reason, publishing books on the Holocaust becomes a historical imperative.
There are other important works in this area, of course, from a wide range of individuals and organizations.
Sherri Mandell’s contribution to the Global Profiles series, “Writers of the Holocaust,” is a valuable addition to any classroom or personal library. And there are many, many personal stories that have been published.
In publishing, everyone understands how fierce the competition is, and so when a Holocaust survivor publishes his or her story, the author obviously wants the account to be read. Yet in a real sense, it becomes “another book” looking for placement. Such titles need some help.
One such example is “Cry Little Girl: A Tale of the Survival of a Family in Slovakia,” by Aliza Barak-Ressler. Published by Yad Vashem in 2003, it is an amazing story of a family imprisoned, who also hid in a forest. Eventually finding her way to Palestine, the author has recorded an important story that deserves to be read.
“Nazi Europe and the Final Solution,” edited by David Bankier and Israel Gutman, was also published by Yad Vashem; I highly recommend it.
Perhaps my “favorite” Holocaust book is “The Holocaust and the Christian World,” which details how “Christian” Europe was prepared for and aided the Nazi extermination effort. In particular, the efforts to minimize the Jewish nature of the Bible (incredibly ironic, since the book was recorded by Jews) were hugely instrumental in furthering the Final Solution.
A book that greatly aided my thinking was “Fragments of Memory: From Kolin to Jerusalem,” a small memoir written by the mother of my good friend, Gefen publisher Ilan Greenfield. Hana Greenfield’s book can help Christians understand the Jewish experience and how Christian Europe impacted millions of Jews.
Another extraordinary project, this one published by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.” A 225-page, four-color hardcover book, this title deals with German eugenics and Nazi euthanasia. Perhaps most fascinating is the discussion of Darwinian philosophy and how it impacted the Germans who justified their ghastly treatment of the unfortunates who found themselves in the grip of these evil people.
In particular, WorldNetDaily readers are wired into communities that can promote such titles. Homeschool sources, private Christian schools, ministries and organizations … even public schools (where Christian or Jewish teachers are looking for material that promote a certain worldview) can find Holocaust titles through networking. Grassroots is still effective in the marketing of books.