Further Reading

Further Reading

Below is a compilation of works that I happened across during my research that I did not include in the site. Included are books and website that pertain to the subject of trauma during World War II from all angles of the conflict.

Soldiers’ Memoirs

The Forgotten Soldier

By Guy Sajer

This book recounts the horror of World War II on the eastern front, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged German soldier. At first an exciting adventure, young Guy Sajer’s war becomes, as the German invasion falters in the icy vastness of the Ukraine, a simple, desperate struggle for survival against cold, hunger, and above all the terrifying Soviet artillery. As a member of the elite Gross Deutschland Division, he fought in all the great battles from Kursk to Kharkov.

His German footsoldier’s perspective makes The Forgotten Soldier a unique war memoir, the book that the Christian Science Monitor said “may well be the book about World War II which has been so long awaited.” Now it has been handsomely republished as a hardcover containing fifty rare German combat photos of life and death at the eastern front. The photos of troops battling through snow, mud, burned villages, and rubble-strewn cities depict the hardships and destructiveness of war. Many are originally from the private collections of German soldiers and have never been published before. (Amazon)

Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front

By Gunter K Koschorrek

For the German soldier fighting under Hitler, keeping a diary was strictly forbidden. So Gunther Koschorrek, a fresh young recruit, wrote his notes on whatever scraps of paper he could find and sewed the pages into the lining of his winter coat. Left with his mother on his rare trips home, this illicit diary eventually was lost—and did not come to light until some 40 years later when Koschorrek was reunited with his daughter in America. It is this remarkable document, a unique day-to-day account of the common German soldier’s experience, that makes up the memoir that is Blood Red Snow.Amazon)

The Last Soldiers of the King: Life in Wartime Italy, 1943-1945

By Eugenio Corti

In the sequel to the highly acclaimed Few Returned, Eugenio Corti, one of Italy’s most distinguished postwar writers, continues his poignant account of his experiences as an Italian soldier in the Second World War. In the earlier book, Corti, a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant of artillery, recounts the horrifying experience of the soldiers who were sent to Russia to fight alongside their German ally. On the River Don, the Red Army surrounded Corti and the other members of the Italian force. Of the 30,000 men in the Thirty-fifth Corps, Corti was one of only an estimated 4,000 soldiers to survive the ordeal. Mussolini’s dreams of empire were shattered, and his ill-fated Eighth Army no longer existed.

In 1943, after recurrent military defeats, the Italian government and its king, Victor Emmanuel III, forced Mussolini to resign. Italy then signed an armistice with the Allies and ended its alliance with Germany. The Germans immediately occupied northern Italy, which the Axis still held, and reinstated Mussolini in the north. Some Italians remained loyal to fascism; many others aligned themselves with the Allies, who were now advancing in southern Italy. Corti’s sympathies were with the Allies, and after a harrowing escape from the German-occupied north, he rejoined the Italian Army fighting on the side of the king. The Last Soldiers of the King is Corti’s account of the Italian Army’s experiences fighting the Germans during the remainder of the war.

In this unforgettable narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death. Painting vivid pictures of the sights, sounds, and smells of war, he shows how these men fought alongside the Allies against the Germans. They fought without hatred, driven by a sense of duty and love for their country and a desire to quickly put an end to a war that was destroying so many lives. Corti superbly relates the wandering of the remnant of Italian officers and men as they sought to reestablish themselves as Italian soldiers. The Last Soldiers of the King tells the story of a proud people forced to endure death, poverty, and the virtual destruction of their nation. (Amazon)

Jewish Victims

Final Letters: From Victims of the Holocaust (From the Yad Vashem Archive)

Edited by: Reuven Dafni and Yehudit Kleiman
Corporate author: Rashut Ha-Zikaron La-Shoah Vela-Gevurah Arkhiyon Ha-merka Yad Va-Shem

This is a compilation of last letters and notes written by Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The writings were gathered from the Yad Vashem Archives in Israel. They were written in desperation and were often dropped from transport trains in the hope that their thoughts and feelings would reach their loved ones in Israel or America. The book can be opened to any page, and the writings will be sure to move the reader. The letters can best be symbolized by one brief document addressed to the unknown and written by simple Jews. Each name is spelled out so that it may be recalled by future generations; the exhortation to remember is par amount. This book provides a pathway into the writings of the Holocaust. It is recommended for most large popular collections; libraries with strong Judaica and Holocaust holdings will surely want it. (Paul Kaplan, Library Journal)

Hidden Letters

Adapted by: Deborah Slier and Ian Shine
Translated by: Marion Pritchard

Discovered hidden in a bathroom ceiling in Amsterdam in 1997, this collection of letters from Philip Flip Slier, a Dutch Jew killed in the Holocaust, displays a spirit as indomitable as that of Anne Frank’s. Slier was 18 when he was sent to a Dutch labor camp in April 1942. Described by friends as good-natured and gregarious, he maintained an optimistic air in the letters to his parents, asserting that he and his fellow laborers were better off in the labor camp than at a concentration camp. One also gets the sense that his constant references to food and fun are part of his expressed message to his parents: Be strong, you hear! Don’t despair. I don’t either. Deborah Slier, Flip’s cousin, and her co-editors add documents, other recollections and a general history of the war, making this book more than the story of one young man, but an addition to the history of the Holocaust in Holland that could be particularly effective as educational material. Slier escaped from the camp but was rearrested, and as with all Holocaust tales, this one is devastating. (Publishers Weekly)

The Holocaust Collection: Read Their Stories

Website: http://go.footnote.com/holocaust_stories/

The website for the Holocaust Collection, created by the United States Holocaust Museum, is an interactive and comprehensive site containing stories from more than 600 victims from the Holocaust. Also included in the site are pages devoted to the history of the concentration camps, as well as a list of looted items. Lastly, the Holocaust Collection site has a link to the National Archives Records, where one can view original documents and photos from the Holocaust.


I Am First a Human Being: The Prison Letters of Krystyna Wituska

Edited by: Irene Tomaszewski

This collection of letters documents the trials of a young Polish woman who was arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo in 1942 for working as a spy for the Polish Underground, imprisoned in Berlin, and executed two years later. In the last year of her life, she wrote over 60 poignant letters that, through the kindness of a courageous prison guard, were smuggled to her parents or to the guard’s daughter, who became her pen pal. (Amazon)


Kurt Gerstein: SS Officer with a Conscience

Website: http://www.gerstein.dk/index.htm

This website describes story of one remarkable man who refused to surrender his conscience in the face of mass murder as one of the few SS officers in the Third Reich. Kurt Gerstein showed true heroism, tirelessly denounced Hitler’s Nazi genocide and alerted the Allies, the Pope, the Germans and the church of the crimes during World War 2. The mission of Kurt Gerstein was to expose the horrors of the Nazism to the world and to mitigate the suffering around him. The conscience-stricken Gerstein left one of the most horrifying testimonies of the Holocaust – he visited the death camps Belzec and Treblinka in August 1942 and witnessed the mass gassing of Jewish men, women and children. Kurt Gerstein, thirty-seven-year-old head of the Waffen SS Technical Disinfection Services, was shocked by what he had seen. Yet, he realized that as a witness, his position was unique, and he was determined to expose what he knew to the world to stop the atrocities. Eventually he risked his life to inform the Allies. Kurt Gerstein continued to tell people what he had seen, anyone he felt would spread the word about the atrocities. Later during the war evidence shows how a despairing Gerstein risked everything stopping shipments of gas by marking it no good and ordering it buried.

All his efforts proved futile and Kurt Gerstein died in a French prison on July 25, 1945 – overwhelmed by a sense of personal responsibility and guilt. Whether he committed suicide out of despair and guilt in not being able to stop the Holocaust or whether he was murdered by other SS officers in the prison to silence an accuser remains a mystery. (Homepage)


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