Literary Trove

September 30, 2014 General 0 Comments

Lois and Ellen
Literature may motivate us to explore our family history… and our family history research may motivate us to read books that give us insight into our own family story

This book list was first compiled by Lois Ogilby Rosen and Ellen Cassedy for a presentation at the IAJGS conference in Boston in the summer of 2013. Lois then presented a revised list in Salt Lake City in the summer of 2014.


Abramowicz, Hirsz  Profiles of a Lost World: Memoirs of Eastern European Jewish Life before WWII

Aciman, André Out of Egypt

Adler, Joan For the Sake of the Children: The Letters between Otto Frank and Nathan Straus, Jr.

Alexi, Trudi The Mezuzah in the Madonna’s Foot

Antin, Mary The Promised Land

Apple, Max The Jew of the Home Depot and Other Stories

Appleman-Jurman, Alicia Alicia: My Story

Aronson, Chaim A Jewish Life Under the Tsars: The Autobiography of Chaim Aronson, 1825-1888

Babel, Isaac The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel [Including The Odessa Tales]

Bendavid-Val, Avrom The Heavens are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod

Berenbaum, Michael In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezín

Bernstein, Harry The Invisible Wall: A Love Story that Broke Barriers, The Dream: A Memoir, & The Golden Willow

Berr, Hélène The Journal

Blatt, Thomas Toivi From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival

Boehling, Rebecca Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family’s Untold Story

Boyne, John Boy in the Striped Pajamas [Children/Young Adult]

Brooks, Geraldine People of the Book

Buck, Pearl S. Peony

Buff, Fred The St. Louis Diary of Fritz Buff [Children/Young Adult]

Burstein, Chaya M. Rifka Grows Up [Children/Young Adult]

Cahan, Abraham The Rise of David Levinsky

Carvajal, Doreen The Forgetting River: A Modern Tale of Survival, Identity and the Inquisition

Caspary, Vera Thicker Than Water

Cassedy, Ellen We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust

Chemerinsky. Haim Ayarati Motele [In Hebrew. No credible English translation yet]

Cohen, Kate The Neppi Modona Diaries: Reading Jewish Survival through my Italian Family

Crane, Minnie and Smadar Belkind-Gerson Stored Treasures: A Memoir

Datnow, Clare Klein The Nine Inheritors: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Family and Their Ancient Torah Scroll

Dawidowicz, Lucy S. From That Place and Time: A memoir, 1938-1947

Desbois, Patrick The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews

De Rosnay, Tatiana Sarah’s Key

De Waal, Edmund The Hare with Amber Eyes

De Waal, Elizabeth The Exiles Return

Ehrlich, Elizabeth Miriam’s Kitchen

Eliot, George Daniel Deronda

Englander, Marlene S. My Dear Hindalla, Remeber Me: Letters from a Lost World, May 1937-January 1940

Englander, Nathan What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories

Epstein, Helen Where She Came From: A Daughter’s Search for Her Mother’s History

Feuchtwanger, Lion Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo (The Spanish Ballad)

Fisher, Leonard Everett A Russian Farewell

Fishman, Boris A Replacement Life

Frank, Anne The Diary of a Young Girl  [Children/Young Adult]

Fremont, Helen After Long Silence

Foer, Jonathan Safran Everything is Illuminated

Gavron, Jeremy The Book of Israel

Gay, Ruth Unfinished People: Eastern European Jews Encounter America

Gluckel The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hamelm [Translated by Marin Lowenthal]

Golabek, Mona The Children of Willesden Lane

Gold, Michael Jews Without Money: A Novel

Goldin, Farideh Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman

Goldsmith, Martin The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany 

Goldstein, Lisa The Red Magician

Gordon, Noah The Last Jew

Grade, Chaim My Mother’s Sabbath Days: A Memoir

Greider, Katharine The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set on Thousand Square Feet of the Lower East Side

Grimbert, Philippe Memory

Gross, Joel The Books of Rachel

Hahn, Hannelore On the Way to Feed the Swans [Children/Young Adult]

Halter, Marek The Book of Abraham

Hamerow, Theodore Remembering a Vanished World: A Jewish Childhood in Interwar Poland

Hersey, John The Wall

Hess, Ronnie Whole Cloth: An Illustrated Poem Cycle

Hesse, Karen Letters from Rifka [Children/Young Adult]

Hoffman, Alice Incantation and The Dovekeepers

Hoffman, Eva After Such Knowledge: Memory, History, and the Legacy of the Holocaust

Hofman, Ethel G. Mackerel at Midnight: Growing Up Jewish on a Remote Scottish Island

Hollander, Richard S. Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland

Horn, Dara, All Other Nights and The World to Come and A Guide for the Perplexed

Hornstein, Gail A. To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World: The Life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann

Howe, Irving & Eliezer Greenberg (Editors) A Treasury of Yiddish Stories

Ish-Kishor, Sulamith The Boy of Old Prague [Children/Young Adult]

Jacobson, Howard Kalooki Nights

Joselit, Jenna Weissman The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950

Kaplan, Mitchell James By Fire, By Water

Karpin, Michael Tightrope: Six Centuries of a Jewish Dynasty

Karski, Jan Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World

Kassow, Samuel D. Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive

Kazin, Alfred A Walker in the City

Kirshenblatt, Mayer They Called me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust

Klemperer, Victor The Klemperer Diaries

Kotik, Yekhezkel Journey to a Nineteenth-Century Shtetl: The Memoirs of Yekhezkel Kotik

Krall, Hanna Chasing the King of Hearts and The Woman from Hamburg, and Other True Stories

Kranzler, Bryna The Accidental Anarchist

Kreitman, Esther Singer Deborah

Kulbak, Moyshe The Zelmenyaners

Lagnado, Lucette The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years

Lansky, Aaron Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books

Larson, Erik In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Famiy in Hitler’s Berlin

Laskin, David The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century and The Long Way Home

Lasky, Kathryn The Night Journey [Children/Young Adult]

Lazan, Marion Blumenthal Four Perfect Pebbles [Children/Young Adult]

Levi, Primo Survival in Auschwitz

Levitin, Sonia Journey to America and The Return [Children/Young Adult]

Lipschitz, Chaim Uri & Neil Rosenstein The Feast and the Fast: The Dramatic Personal Story of Yom Tov Lipman Heller

Liss, David The Coffee Trader

Lowry, Lois Number the Stars [Children/Young Adult]

Maimon, Solomon An Autobiography

Manseau, Peter Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter

Marcus, Morton Pages from a Scrapbook of Immigrants [Narrative poetry]

Marrin, Albert Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy

Meed, Vladka On Both Sides of the Wall: Memoirs from the Warsaw Ghetto

Mendelsohn, Daniel The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million

Metzker, Isaac (Editor) A Bintel Brief: Sixty years of letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward

Michener, James The Source

Milgrom, Genie My Fifteen Grandmothers

Miller, Nancy K. What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past

Modiano, Patrick Dora Bruder

Moustafine, Mara Secrets and Spies: The Harbin Files

Nattel, Lilian The River Midnight

Némirovsky, Irène Suite Française

Olczak-Ronikier, Joanna In the Garden of Memory: A Family Memoir

Orringer, Julie The Invisible Bridge

Perera, Victor The Cross and the Pear Tree: A Sephardic Journey

Perloff, Marjorie The Vienna Paradox: A Memoir

Potok, Chaim The Chosen and The Promise

Ragan, Naomi The Ghost of Hannah Mendes

Rakovsky, Puah My Life as a Radical Jewish Woman: Memoris of a Zionist Feminist in Poland

Reichl, Ruth Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table

Richmond, Theo Konin: One Man’s Quest for a Vanished Jewish Community

Ringelblum, Emmanuel Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto

Roiphe, Anne 1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir

Roth, Henry Call it Sleep

Roth, Joseph The Wandering Jews

Roth, Philip Goodbye, Columbus

Sabar, Ariel My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for his Family’s Past

Salomon, Charlotte Life? or Theatre?

Schild, Erwin A Very Narrow Bridge: A Memoir of an Uncertain Passage

Schulzinger, Morris S. The Tale of a Litvak

Seth, Vikram Two Lives

Shalev, Meir  My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner: A Family Memoir

Shapiro, Malkah The Rebbe’s Daughter: Memoir of a Hasidic Childhood

Sharenow, Richard Berlin Boxing Club [Children/Young Adult]

Sholom Aleichem From the Fair and Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories

Shteyngart, Gary Little Failure: A Memoir

Shulevitz, Uri The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela: Through Three Continents in the Twelfth Century [Children/Young Adult]

Sierakowiak, Dawid The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak

Singer, Isaac Bashevis The Slave and Stories for Children

Singer, Israel Joshua The Brothers Ashkenazi and The Family Carnovsky

Slobodzianek, Tadeusz Our Class [play]

Smith, Betty A Tree Grows in Brooklyn [Children/Young Adult]

Sohn, Joan 36 Letters: One Family’s Story

Solomon, Anna The Little Bride: A Novel

Spiegelman, Art The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale and MetaMaus [graphic novels]

Stavans, Ilan On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language

Steinberg, Janice The Tin Horse

Stern, G. B. The Matriarch

Suberman, Stella The Jew Store

Suhl, Yuri Uncle Misha’s Partisans [Children/Young Adult]

Suhl, Yuri One Foot in America

Taylor, Sydney All-of-a-Kind Family [Children/Young Adult]

Tolan, Sandy The Lemon Tree

Uris, Leon Exodus

Vishniac, Roman A Vanished World

Weilerstein, Sadie Rose Ten and a Kid [Children/Young Adult]

Wengaroff, Pauline Rememberings: The World of a Russian-Jewish Woman in the Nineteenth Century

Wenger, Beth The Jewish Americans [Companion book to David Grubin PBS series]

Whiteman, Maxwell Copper for America: Hendricks Family and a National Industry, 1755-1939

Whitney, Kim Ablon The Other Half of Life [Children/Young Adult]

Wiesel, Elie Night

Wincelberg, Shimon and Anita The Samurai of Wishogrod: The Notebooks of Jacob Maratec

Wisse, Ruth R. A Shtetl and other Yiddish Novellas

Wolf, Emma Other Things Being Equal

Yolen, Jane The Devil’s Arithmetic [Children/Young Adult]

Yoran, Shalom The Defiant: A True Story of Jewish Vengeance & Survival

Yezeirska, Anzia Bread Givers and Red Ribbon on a White Horse: My Story

Zalewski, Andrew Galician Trails: The Forgotten Story of One Family

Zheutlin, Peter Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride

Zimmler, Richard The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon  [First novel in The Sephardic Cycle]

Zorach, William Art is My Life

Zunser, Miriam Shomer Yesterday: A Memoir of a Russian Jewish Family

Zusak, Markus The Book Thief [Children/Young Adult]

Zwi, Rose Last Walk in Naryshkin Park