Holocaust reading for post-millenials

Essential books to help Jewish young people be Shoah-literate.

By ELLIOT JAGER
April 4, 2018 14:43
Two boys hug in front of the main railway building of the former Nazi death camp Birkenau (Auschwitz

Two boys hug in front of the main railway building of the former Nazi death camp Birkenau (Auschwitz II) during the 'March of the Living' in Oswiecim, Poland. (photo credit: KATARINA STOLTZ/ REUTERS)

 
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For many now in their early twenties, a cohort the Pew Research Center labels post-Millennials, Hitler’s destruction of European Jewry must seem only slightly less remote historically than the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. While social media arguably drains the time and shortens the attention span of those born after 1997, the good news is that young people, especially college graduates, still do read. However, this first generation for whom the smartphone has always existed has a different way of consuming news, information and probably history than previous generations.

Though no one wants young people to anchor their Jewish identity exclusively in the Holocaust, the fate of the Jews of Europe between roughly 1933 and 1945 is integral to the contemporary Jewish experience. And it is perhaps the final commonality or universal bond for a Jewish world that is at constant odds over religion, social mores, politics and Israel. Post-Millennials must come to their own conclusions about how and why the Holocaust matters, about the lesson of a world without a Jewish national homeland.

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