Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party!
Today’s featured books share four incredible and powerful stories of survival, resilience and redemption during WWII. These are their stories.
Their stories are truly inspiring and a testament to the strength of the human spirit. I was honored to meet Marthe Cohn in 2018 – an unforgettable experience. She’s now 100 years old and still traveling and sharing her story.
Title: The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz: A True Story of Family and Survival
Author: Jeremy Dronfield
Synopsis: Where there is family, there is hope.
In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholster from Vienna, and his sixteen-year-old son Fritz is arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Germany. Imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp, they miraculously survive the Nazis’ murderous brutality.
Then Gustav learns he is being sent to Auschwitz–and certain death.
For Fritz, letting his father go is unthinkable. Desperate to remain together, Fritz makes an incredible choice: he insists he must go too. To the Nazis, one death camp is the same as another, and so the boy is allowed to follow.
Throughout the six years of horror they witness and immeasurable suffering they endure as victims of the camps, one constant keeps them alive: their love and hope for the future.
Based on the secret diary that Gustav kept as well as meticulous archival research and interviews with members of the Kleinmann family, including Fritz’s younger brother Kurt, sent to the United States at age eleven to escape the war, The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz is Gustav and Fritz’s story–an extraordinary account of courage, loyalty, survival, and love that is unforgettable.
Title: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Synopsis: In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
Appearing in paperback for the first time–with twenty arresting new photos and an extensive Q&A with the author–Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.
Title: Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany
Author: Wendy Holden and Marthe Cohn
Synopsis: Marthe Cohn was a young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz and the rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France.
Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army and became a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army. Marthe, using her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé, would slip behind enemy lines to retrieve inside information about Nazi troop movements. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight–risking death every time she did so–she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders.
When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had helped defeat the Nazi empire. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.
Title: The Choice: Embrace the Possible
Author: Edith Eva Eger
Synopsis: At the age of sixteen, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were killed, Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele, forced Edie to dance for his amusement and her survival. Edie was pulled from a pile of corpses when the American troops liberated the camps in 1945.
Edie spent decades struggling with flashbacks and survivor’s guilt, determined to stay silent and hide from the past. Thirty-five years after the war ended, she returned to Auschwitz and was finally able to fully heal and forgive the one person she’d been unable to forgive–herself.
Edie weaves her remarkable personal journey with the moving stories of those she has helped heal. She explores how we can be imprisoned in our own minds and shows us how to find the key to freedom. The Choice is a life-changing book that will provide hope and comfort to generations of readers.
What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
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