Children and the Holocaust

How many times have we hesitated before letting our children read or watch something with gory details and images? We  want to protect them from the harsh realities and depressing events, wistfully wishing to preserve their innocence for a while longer. ‘Should we?’ ‘Should we not?’ is the eternal dilemma.

Perhaps, the answer to the question above lies in Hana’s Suitcase — the true story of Hana Brady, a little girl from Czechoslovakia, who had died in a concentration camp. This suitcase of a child of the 1930s is helping children in Japan connect with and know about others like her, thanks to Fumiko Ishioka, an educator and director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center.

But even before the book Hana’s Suitcase was published, much literature had been written about the Holocaust and its horrors. Many films have been made too. Of these, Anne Frank’s Diary, which chronicles her life in the concealed, tiny and cramped apartment which her family shared with another, has become legend. The young girl has poured out her dreams, aspirations and zest for life under the most trying circumstances. Sadly the hideout was discovered and she was deported to a concentration camp, where she succumbed to the brutal conditions. Reading her book, one feels admiration and affection for the young girl which override any other emotion.

Living through such privation and fear is terrible, especially when it is a child — and can easily give rise to negative emotions and feelings both in the victims and the readers, not to speak of bias in the writer’s words. To be able to rise above bitterness and hatred while making the stories fit enough for children, make this genre one of the most challenging ones to write. Just as Anne Frank…., which is an autobiographical account, many other books have been written based on real stories of child victims and survivors.

An Israeli children’s writer, Uri Orlev  has written many books for children on the Holocaust.  Himself a survivor of a concentration camp, his stories on the Holocaust with children as protagonists have been widely translated into many languages from the original Hebrew. He was about the same age as Anne Frank, when he had lived through it all, but unlike her, he had been liberated and sent to the then Palestine, now Israel. Having lived in hiding in Poland, one of the worst affected countries during the Holocaust, he writes with authenticity and an endearing sense of humour, weaving in drama and adventure – the staple of any children’s book. As the jury of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award for the best children’s literature — which he won in 1996 – noted, “Whether his stories are set in the Warsaw Ghetto or his new country Israel, he never loses the perspective of the child he was. He writes with integrity and humor, in a way which is never sentimental [and] shows how children can survive without bitterness in harsh and terrible times.”

I have read the translated versions of three of his books – The Island on Bird Street, The man from the other side and Lydia, Queen of Palestine, and loved them all as they are woven so interestingly to transcend the horrors per se.

The Island on Bird Street which is semi-autobiographical, is thrilling and full of adventure, as it unfolds the story of the little boy Alex, who awaits the arrival of his father — taken away by the Nazis – much like the boy on the burning deck! He refuses to be rescued since his father had told him to wait for him in that shelled out building and would not find him if he left. As he waits, he has to avoid capture, scrounge for food, stay out of sight of neighbours who might rat about him or steal his food and worse. He makes himself a comfortable home with his pet mouse Snow, in the abandoned building and even finds love, when he makes contact with the girl on the Polish side beyond the ghetto wall! What comes through is not horror, though there is enough of it, but the hardiness of spirit and the adventure of the young boy in such impossible conditions, than a chronicle of survival.

The Man from the other side is told from the perspective of Marek, a Polish boy, who is more of an observer than a victim. He gets to see life in the ghetto when he helps his stepfather clandestinely deliver food and other items to the Jews — working their way through the sewers of the city. He is shaken by the hopeless condition of the children there and feels deep compassion for them. He grows up into a man from the young teenager, in the few months that he makes the supplies — as he helps a Jew to his freedom, gets caught in the uprising of the Jews inside the ghetto and even helps smuggle a baby out of there. This is perhaps the one of Orlev’s books with the most violent scenes and death and yet it is not unfit for children, since the perspective all through is that of a child.

Lydia….is about a Romanian Jewish girl who goes through the twin traumas of the separation of her parents and being relocated alone to Palestine to live in a kibbutz there. The spunky girl narrates her story with humour, making one almost forget the horrors of the times as one gets caught up with her pranks.

Still from the film The Boy in Striped pyjamas

Still from the film The Boy in Striped pyjamas

One book that haunts me with its story is The boy in Striped Pyjamas. Written by John Boyle, it tells the story of two little boys Bruno and Shmuel – the former the son of the commandant of ‘Out-with’ (Auschwitz), sent there by the Fury (Fuhrer) — and the latter a Jewish boy who had been deported there. The two, divided by miles of barbed wire, still manage to strike up a touching friendship without the knowledge of the commandant and his family or the guards of the camp. Bruno’s naiveté in believing that the children on the other side of the fence were happy because they had so many others to play with — while he is all alone in the big mansion — is endearing. The two never manage to convince each other of the misery of their respective lives, so sure each is that the other is having a wonderful time!

The age group for which it is meant is not mentioned, but I would say it is for teens. It has very little direct horror, but the implied horror is quite disturbing. The systematic dehumanization of the Jews is depicted in this story very effectively.

All the protagonists in these novels are children first – with normal lives despite living under such impossible conditions. Their innocence, playfulness and naiveté are endearing and yet they are very aware of the political situation (except maybe in The Boy in the…….), the plight of the Jews, the existence of the underground resistance to the Germans, and matters of survival like the bunkers that the Jews built and stocked with food and water to last for several months, and most of all — death. They take such things as having to do without basic amenities as much a part of life, as being betrayed by neighbours and the possibility of being captured. In The Island… Alex’s mother is taken away and never returns, but his ordeal of survival makes him take it in his stride.  And yet, these children take life as it comes, finding ways to survive and even thrive under the circumstances, be it Hana, Anne Frank, Alex or Lydia and all those others who are stars in the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem.

Coming to films, I can only recall one of them off-hand, which is suitable for children.  Remember that wonderful movie Life is beautiful? Roberto Benigni has used humour effectively to make something as terrible as even the Holocaust watchable. Based on a true story, the hero smuggles his little son into a concentration camp and makes an elaborate game out of it. The boy earns points for remaining hidden, not crying and or complaining, with the promise of getting to ride a tank if he earns enough points. The most poignant scene perhaps is where he goose-steps his way to his own execution to reassure his son who is watching him from his hiding place — not knowing that he would never see his father again.

When the theme is handled sensitively, with lots of adventure, thrill and humour thrown in for good measure, stories like these can be one of the ways to sensitise children to the sufferings of others. Life is not all about rosy things, though we would like to protect our children from suffering and depressing stuff. But unless we let them see the world around them in all its sweetness and ugliness, they will not be able to empathise with those less fortunate than them or even appreciate what they have. (Children and Sensitivity)

I would certainly recommend the above books (I have read them all, except for Hana’s Suitcase, which I have ordered), for those of you who would like your kids to get to know about those unfortunate children, who were so different from them and yet so like them, for in the end, aren’t they all children?

Image credit: Homepage: www.yadvashem.org.

65 comments

  1. Just finished The Book Thief. Now looking for The Island on Bird street, it is not there in our library. Need to watch the movie now.

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    1. I bought it on Flipkart and you will be able to find it on Amazon. Read the book first and then watch the movie.

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      1. I was almost about to buy it on amazon yesterday and then held back to check in the library again. They didn’t have it. They requested from a neighboring library. I should get it in a week or two…Rushi cannot wait to read it…somehow, he is so eager now.

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        1. Good for you. I am sure both of you will like it.

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  2. The Holocaust was one of the saddest events in the history of mankind! And Life is Beautiful, also Boy in Stripped Pajamas are one of the best movies I’ve ever watched. I remember watching the BinSP at the Chicago Film Festival in 2008, nobody in the audience could get up till almost 10 minutes after the movie got over. It was that shocking. Later, some time last year, I also happened to visit Dachau, near Munich, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. I think everyone must know about this gory past, however, I am not sure what would be right age to introduce them to such details.

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  3. Ravindran nair · · Reply

    Speaking of the holocaust, I am surprised and disgusted at the number of Hitler apologists in India.

    truly disgusting

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  4. Hema subramanian · · Reply

    Thank you giving an insight and review about the books for children during the holo cast . My co teacher and me were taken aback when a child glorified Hiler and was quite impressed by his deeds. We then spoke about the boy in the stripped pyjamas and Anne Franks diary to the children. Both of us strongly felt that the children needed to be enlightened about the hardship faced so that they can be more sensitive to things happening around them today. Thanks again for this lovely post.

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    1. I am glad you liked the post, Hema. We indeed need to make children aware that being powerful is not sufficient if it means having a cruel and demonic streak. Unfortunately today we see so many such characters being glorified and our children are learning all the wrong things by watching them. Criminals in the Parliament, scamsters going free and such. Do get the books for the school library and then have discussions on the topic. Children only need a little nudging before they begin to see the larger picture.

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  5. Thanks to you, I read Lydia. That was the first time ever that I read a story clouded by the holocaust. It was a heartening yet entertaining read and the fact that it was a true story made it even more easy to connect with. I could very well imagine Lydia’s hatred towards her step mom (even though she turned out to be a nice person) and also how upset she was when she found out about her mother’s intention towards her male friend. But most of all, her journey from her hometown to kibbutz and how she adjusted with the life there was intriguing. A girl her age and yet so spunky and smart, not knowing how her next day would turn out to be and yet living each day with zest and adding excitement to everything she is part of is quite inspiring.

    It’s a very lovely and sensitive book for anyone to read and not just children though it’s written in a way that children can easily comprehend.

    I will be borrowing the rest of the books soon enough 😉

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    1. Oh, you completed that? Good. Didn’t I tell you Lydia and the others are real children, with childlike feelings and reactions? The only sad thing about the whole holocaust literature for children is that those kids were living in the shadow of death and they knew it too. You are welcome to borrow the books, but you know the rules of borrowing, right? 😀

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  6. Hi, writing after a long while. While reading your post, what kept coming to my mind are the death of 22 children in Bihar or many children falling sick today in Tamilnadu after having had mid day meals. It seems that we are celebrating “kill children week” in the country now. It makes me disgusted, angry and enraged. and yet, apart from writing on social network, there is very little sense of potency that I have about this.

    your post reads lovely, beautiful review and I have watched a movie based on “the boy with a striped pyjama” its heart wrenching and like you said, haunting. The other holocaust movie that stayed with me was I think A beautiful world or something like that. Holocaust has been written about a lot and at times I do find great similarities with partition of Bengal and Punjab and if you have seen any early movies by Hritik Ghatak of Bengali, you will find the similarity. Actually so little has been written about the partition of India and its impact that at times, I am not sure young people today even know much about the horrors that were unleashed and continues to haunt even today in many ways.

    great post. look forward to many more.

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  7. Would love to read them all myself!!

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    1. You must, Deepak. They are all worth the effort!

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  8. I must get cracking and catch up on my reading! The Holocaust has always been an extremely intriguing subject to me, especially so when I got to meet many Jewish people during my years in New York and got to know their histories and customs better. I remember watching Schindler’s List many years ago…the mere mention of the film still gives me goosebumps!
    A very informative read. Thank you.

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    1. Schindler’s List was one movie which I couldn’t watch. I have read many books on the holocaust and have read Jewish history too but somehow watching it all on screen was something I couldn’t go through. These books meant for children are so well written that they make even such a horrible event in history readable, and that too by children. Do get them.

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  9. Welcome back. 🙂
    Thanks for introducing all those books to me. Have you read The Book Thief? It is another touching book on similar lines.
    This is a post worth treasuring.

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    1. I have not read The Book Thief and will look it up. I am glad you liked the post, Amit 🙂 How is the little one?

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  10. I am so glad you wrote this. “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them” These were the words displayed at the entrance to the Dachau concentration camp near Munich. On a year’s sabbatical in Germany, we took the children there 20 years ago, when they were 12 and 6. Each processes the info appropriate to their age, and the visuals and reports there, however shocking, were an education of sorts. Gave rise to many questions, and answers. But I think it opened another world to them, far away from slapdash superhero stories, and predictable mysteries on TV and elsewhere.

    I think it sensitizes them towards judging what they see later on life around them. Anne Franke’s book has been read , but I wish I had the others at that time. But will look out for them. .I’ve seen too many insensitive kids go “Ewww” and stare at suffering and parents indulgently shaking their heads.

    Feels nice to see you back with this post. So heartfelt. But then all your posts are.

    Now dont disappear again… 🙂

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    1. I am so happy to know that you had taken your kids to one of the concentration camps and even answered their questions. I am sure they must have had many, but as you have pointed out, they would also have learnt about the world so different from their own, just as kids in modern day Japan are learning, from Hana’s Suitcase. I have seen these kids going Ewww, too Suranga and it makes me very sad, not just for them, but also their parents. Thanks for the compliments and I sure wish I could be more regular in posting too!

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  11. What a wonderful post, Zephyr. I have seen “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ and ‘Life is Beautiful’ and read Anne Frank’s Diary. Beyond that all the books mentioned are new to me. And why only children? Even adults need to read these books. In these days of growing intolerance and polarisation, the Holocaust seems more real than ever before.

    Thank you, Zephyr, for such a beautiful, poignant post.

    PS: Lovely to see you back here.

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    1. Lovely to see you here, Sudha! These books indeed are for adults too, if only to make them realise that there is life beyond hate, persecution and death. Do read them if you can. I am sure you will like them.

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  12. Better late than never. Phew!

    In our quest for providing an idyllic childhood for our kids, we try to protect them from the harsh realities of life. I’m not sure what goes on in their minds when they read tales of flying carpets and wizards and see death and destruction on television.

    I believe they need a healthy balance between stark reality and fantasy. After all it’s fantasy that gives wings to their imagination.

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    1. Children certainly need fantasy and the world of make believe. I am sure most children are able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. But as you have rightly said, they need a balance between the two, and who better to provide it than the parents?

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  13. Thank you so much for these recommendations!You are quite right that children should have a clear picture of the world as it is and was. At what age do you think we should introduce these stories to our kids?

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    1. You are welcome, Roshni. The age at which you can start introducing such books is around 12. That is when they begin seeing the injustices and start making their observations. But you have do it gradually since these events are not pleasant. Let them see around them and begin making their observations before they graduate to the more serious stuff. But do encourage them to ‘see’.

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  14. So happy to see you back in action, again 🙂

    I haven’t read any of these books except I think Anne Frank’s diary which I had taken from my school’s library. I can truly appreciate the whole essence of this post though and what a meaningful one it is! In fast moving times like these, books can help bridge the gap between what children generally observe around them and the abstract concepts of existence. I myself should look out for some of these books, especially the ‘Boy in striped…’ one. That picture itself is so intriguing.

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    1. Thank you Arti! Yes, you should pick up one of these books and I am sure you will find it interesting. The holocaust was a blur on the face of humanity, but we have a lot to learn from it.

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  15. I missed reading you all these days, Aunty! So good to see you back.. and that too, with a bang! 🙂

    Loved this post. I know very little about concentration camps and what exactly happened back then. I haven’t really read any stories like these. I would love to read your recommendations.

    I have seen Life Is Beautiful, though, and loved it.

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    1. Thanks for the warm words of welcome, TGND 🙂 You liked Life is beautiful, didn’t you? And it was about the concentration camps, right? Real life stories when handled well, don’t end up disturbing but enlightening. Try them. I am sure you will like them, that is, if you like children’s books 🙂

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  16. Ah! and you are back 🙂 you have been missed!

    I am going to book mark this post for R to grow up and read the books..honestly I do find books on the Holocaust a bit disturbing…Infact, even Anne Frank’s diary I thought was very upsetting!

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    1. Sorry to be replying the comment so late, R’s Mom, especially since I have been missed 😀 I know these events are disturbing, but by not acknowledging them, can we make them go away? Maybe we can learn how to live by learning about them. These books are not explicitly horrifying but the holocaust itself was 😦

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  17. good to see you after a long time..

    Over protecting children is never good, but they should be exposes to all the holocausts in a sensitive way..I saw the movie..the boy in striped pyajama…..and the face of the boy haunted me for a long time, still feel sad for him..

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    1. That particular story is meant for older children, for sure, Renu. The books by Orlev are much more suitable for younger children who are first given a background by their parents or teachers so that they know what Holocaust had been. Good to see you too, Renu!

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    2. That particular story is meant for older children, for sure, Renu. The books by Orlev are much more suitable for younger children who are first given a background by their parents or teachers so that they know what Holocaust had been. Good to see you too, Renu!

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  18. Thank you for this wonderful post, Zephyr– have bookmarked it for future reference. My elder daughter is eleven and I’d surely want her to read these books maybe two or three years hence,

    “The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank and ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel are the only books I’ve read on the Holocaust. After ‘Night’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to read any more on it– I had taken quite some time getting over it– but this post makes me want to check out ‘The Boy in Striped Pajamas’ and the books by Uri Orlev.

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    1. That is the difference between adult fiction and children’s books, if the latter are written by sensitive authors. While I had read all I could lay my hands on holocaust — fact and fiction, what I found so good about these books is that they are not explicitly horrifying or biased though written by victims looking back on their childhood. I would recommend The Boy in Striped Pyjamas only for older children. The message is implicit and can’t be understood by young children. But the books by Orlev are about ordinary children facing the tribulations with guts and gumption, with lots of action and adventure thrown in for good measure. But I would like you to first read them and satisfy yourself as to their suitability for your daughter 🙂

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  19. G.N. Balakrishnan · · Reply

    The modern children, being exposed to the print and electronic media are more capable of meeting such holocausts in life, than aged people like me, having no exposure to such explosive situations.

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    1. It is less about being able to weather it than being sensitive to the sufferings of others, GNB. Being passive consumers of everything, our children are woefully inadequate in meeting even small discomforts, leave alone big disasters. Of course, in the face of impossible hardships the resilience of children does come to the rescue.

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    2. It is less about being able to weather it than being sensitive to the sufferings of others, GNB. Being passive consumers of everything, our children are woefully inadequate in meeting even small discomforts, leave alone big disasters. Of course, in the face of impossible hardships the resilience of children does come to the rescue.

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  20. I agree- children should learn about the events of the Holocaust through The Diary of Anne Frank and similar personal accounts. In any case how long can parents shield them from the truth -however horrific it may be- about such chapters in history?

    I think that the manner in which the the truth is presented to children is important.

    After the terror attacks of 9/11 in the US, the clips of the twin towers collapsing were shown repeatedly for many days on television. I read that because of the extensive TV coverage, some children thought that the attacks were still going on for days afterwards. Would have been better for parents to have them read balanced newspaper accounts and know exactly what happened.

    I have not read the books by Uri Orlev that you have mentioned. Will do so soon.

    Have seen both Life is Beautiful and The Boy in Striped Pajamas. Both superlative films- very moving.

    Welcome back! Glad to see you posting again. 🙂

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    1. You are right about moderating news and historical events for children so that they are able to get the right perspective and are not traumatised by them. But if the parents are unwilling to do it, instead preferring to keep them away from it, it does more harm than good. As Harshal has pointed out, children will not remain children forever. I have not seen ‘The Boy…’ but the book is very moving. It feels good to know that I was missed 🙂

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  21. Life is Beautiful was a memorable poignant movie. But I have not read the other books. What a sensitive post Zephyr. Welcome back.

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    1. Thank you Alka, for the words of welcome 🙂 Do read them if you can get them. They are well worth it.

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  22. Forget suggesting to kids, I can never even bring myself to read such stuff. Too heavy and emotionally draining. I love the way you have described this in the post though. The story of “Life is beautiful” – the last scene you mentioned – is particularly chilling. And heart-breaking.

    I prefer crime thrillers where I can try to race ahead of the author and guess the culprit before the author announces him/her.

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    1. It is precisely for the reason you have mentioned that these and other books of this genre need to be given to children to read. And let me assure you, they are not depressing at all. Possibly because Orlev survived the ordeal and he wrote about that. Also they have nothing about concentration camps except in ‘The boy…’and that too is written in such a fabulous manner that it doesn’t hit one till the end. Crime thrillers? Not for me 🙂

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  23. I haven’t read any of the books. The only book I read about the concentration camps is “Night” by Elie Wiesel. It took me a few days to come out of it. Such pain, even the worse of enemies also shouldn’t face such miseries. I got the Dairy of Anne Frank, but due to various reasons, I never got to read it and returned it. Thank you for this wonderful informative post, BM. I would definitely read them and would want Rushi also to read them. May be a couple of years later. And do I need to say that I’m happy to see you back? 🙂 I so missed this space..hugs!!!

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    1. I have not read Night, but the books of Leon Uris were graphic enough to make one’s skin crawl. I also read the Rise and Fall of Third Reich before reading Uris. These are specific children’s books and am sure will not make you feel too disturbed. The storyline is exciting, and so children will be able to relate to it. All one needs to do is to tell them a little about the times and the events that led to these stories. I am sure Rushi would love them too. Do get the books and read. The Island….is really good.

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  24. Welcome back! And back with a bang!

    Life, in its own way, teaches you the facts and foibles that surround it. While one may try preserving the innocence of childhood, one has to be aware that children will not remain children forever. To ensure that what went wrong in the past does not recur, we have to train our future into understanding that it was wrong, and why it was wrong.

    I prefer to read about history – especially the parts that aren’t rosy – in clinically written textbooks and articles, the stories are not of interest to me except perhaps as anecdotal insights. But when I want to talk to the future about it, I try to make it as interesting as possible, for that is how they will remember their morals, and be able to store the learnings in the deepest recesses of their minds, to learn the right and the wrong, to be able to differentiate between the two.

    There is perhaps more to write about this, but this is not the time to build that debate. We shall just bask in the glow of your return to blogging.

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    1. Thanks Harshal, for the warm words of welcome 🙂 You are right about children not remaining children forever. We need to educate ourselves first to be able to talk to them and give them a perspective on historical events that have impacted mankind. And making truth palatable is an onerous task. That why I loved all these books, since despite being written by victims and survivors, they hold the child’s perspective intact and so can be said to be clinical. Do share your views on this since you have more to share 🙂

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  25. I have read Anne Frank’s diary and many other adult books related to the holocaust. I agree that children should know about the hardships of life which most of them see through the car window. They can learn to have empathy for children who beg on the streets and the downtrodden amongst us. Books are one of the best ways to make a child experience and learn about some of the tough situations life throws at you.

    Good to see your post 🙂

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    1. You are right, children do see hardship only through the car window! Why children alone, even adults are in the same boat. I am happy to see you here too, Vinita 🙂

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  26. Lovely post, Zephyr!!! I have missed reading your posts, and loved this one especially. I havent read any of these books except Anne Frank’s diary, and its been a while since i read that too…. there was a time when I read a lot of holocaust related stuff, but it kept depressing me, so i gave up. but maybe i shd read these now…. and i would so like it if samhith read them too. thanks for listing the books and making it easier for me 😀

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    1. It feels good when my readers give me such lovely compliments 🙂 It is quite natural for all of us to have read Anne Frank because it became a cult book and still is. But these others are also based on real life incidents and are more action oriented, to hold the interest of children. It is perhaps because Orlev had gone through the horrors of surviving in hiding as a boy. And since he lived in a Warsaw ghetto, he had seen more grim stuff on the ground. And yes, you should first read them. I am sure you will enjoy them.

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  27. I think that children should know (or at least should have an idea) of the various good and bad things about this world. There is no point of bringing up children with rosy dreams only for many of them to be broken brutally, later on. Truth doesn’t hurt, it heals. Eventually, that is.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. How true that truth heals eventually and not hurts! But we have to present it in palatable ways for children, otherwise they might get biased or traumatised.

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  28. Have read some literature around suffering of Jews and Anne Frank’s story which really tell the grim realities of the time and life in concentration camps. The Holocaust Museum in Tel Aviv has so many tales and pictures of the sufferings. BTW most of the stories I still remember are from school days when I read Exodus, Mila 18 etc by Leon Uris a perfect read for all ages! Good to see you back, Zephyr and hoping you are keeping well:)

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    1. The Holocaust Museum has apparently got a makeover and is now more hi-tech with the history leading to the progrom against Jews replaced with other things. I had seen the older version and couldn’t complete the tour, racked by sobs as I had been. And works of Leon Uris had been at the top of my reading list during my school/college days too.

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    2. The Holocaust Museum has apparently got a makeover and is now more hi-tech with the history leading to the progrom against Jews replaced with other things. I had seen the older version and couldn’t complete the tour, racked by sobs as I had been. And works of Leon Uris had been at the top of my reading list during my school/college days too.

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  29. I concur. You can add ‘Angela’s Ashes’ to your list.

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    1. Anitha’s Desai’s Village by the Sea is a damn sweet one in this genre.

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    2. Though it is one of my favourite books, I am not sure about giving Angela’s Ashes to children. It contains far too many adult incidents and perspectives. The books I have talked about are all literature for children. They are just right for their ages 10 years and above.

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  30. Such a beautiful post to read while horrors of Uttarkhand floods unfold, of children trapped there with little to no food. We adults don’t understand the inner resilience of children, that they are way more capable than us to triumph pain and tragedy, that they teach us, mentor us into hope. Thanks for this heart-warming post this gloomy morning. And so good to see you back, Zephyr!!!

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    1. Children indeed are very resilient but in our misplaced sense of protecting them from unpleasant things, we shield them and thereby make them incapable of handling grim situations or even feel empathy for those undergoing hard times or are less fortunate than them. The tragedy of Uttarakhand is too shocking to even sink in, in all its enormity 😦

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  31. Now this post is a treasure trove on information about books suited for children that will sensitize and empathize our kids. Except for Anne Frank’s diary, I haven’t read any. I would love Siddharth to read them. Thank you for sharing the titles and your views on them.

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    1. Siddharth would surely love Orlev’s books. But you might have to give him an introduction to the holocaust and that’s where your expertise in presenting grim facts to children would come to play 🙂 You would love them too!

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