Book Review: Our Crime Was Being Jewish

“OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH” BY Anthony S. Pitch

Followers of this blog have probably figured out I read a lot of books about the Holocaust and World War II. This book which I have read twice is among the most impactful for me. The author, Anthony S. Pitch has assembled the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and published them for the world to read.  These are testimonies that comprise the film “Testimony” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

What I found so compelling in reading the accounts of these survivors is each tells their own story as only they can. They speak for no one else. These testimonies are not grouped in any specific way by age, gender, chronology or geography. Pitch states he has not used an index in his book because “many who should have been included were silenced by murder.” These are the stories of those who survived and the thing they have in common is being Jewish.

I highly recommend this book. It is heart-breaking, but so enlightening. I wish each citizen of the world could read it and remember, lest it is repeated.

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“Yet, nearly 6 decades after the Holocaust concluded, Anti-Semitism still exists as the scourge of the world.” Eliot Engel

Nearly a century later not only anti-semitism still exists, but also genocide. Think of Rwanda, Bosnia, and Cambodia.   

Book Review – The Night Trilogy

Elie Wiesel

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) authored 57 books. He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and recipient of numerous other awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

After his time in concentration camps, he received asylum in France where he completed his education. His career included being a journalist and later a professor of Humanities at Boston University. His most important work, however, was as an activist and defender of human rights.  

The Night Trilogy Contains:

  • “Night” – a memoir of Wiesel’s year as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald 
  • Dawn” – a novel about the Jewish resistance in Palestine during English rule
  • “Day” – a novel about a Holocaust survivor’s obsession with death

The novels, “Dawn” and “Day” were captivating. They each reflected the permanent pain and disability from being a prisoner during the Holocaust. There are fragments which one knows are true to Wiesel’s personal anguish. 

“Night” was heartbreaking as the young Elie tells of the horrors of daily life in the concentration camps. His mother and younger sister were killed. His father died of starvation while in captivity during a brutal winter.

Originally a 900-page book entitled “And The World Remained Silent,” it was written in Yiddish then translated in this abridged version to English and thirty other languages. 

The inhumanities suffered by Wiesel and other prisoners are difficult to accept but should be read by everyone lucky enough to live free. 

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“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel