Homework Help

I need some good non-Jewish authors who wrote about the holocaust or included Jewish...

user profile pic

jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 19, 2011 at 10:24 AM via web

dislike 4 like
I need some good non-Jewish authors who wrote about the holocaust or included Jewish characters in their novels after WWII. Any suggestions?

I need some good non-Jewish authors who wrote about the holocaust or included Jewish characters in their novels after WWII. Any suggestions?

9 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted May 20, 2011 at 4:51 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

Lois Lowry is not Jewish, but she wrote a young adult novel about the holocaust entitled Number the Stars. It is about a family who takes in a Jewish girl and tries to pass her off as their own daughter so that she is not taken by the Nazis. I have read and enjoyed the novel. I'm not sure what grade level you are looking at books for, but I'd say this would be appropriate for 5-9. It is the only one I could think of immediately. I've linked to a summary of the book on Lois Lowry's webpage.

user profile pic

jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 20, 2011 at 9:52 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Thanks a lot for your answer but I am rather looking for literary works for adults.

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 21, 2011 at 5:51 AM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

A brilliant novel that does not discuss the Holocaust but definitely includes Jewish characters is The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. This brilliant book imagines an alternative history as the anti-semitic movement sweeps through America in the run up to World War II.

user profile pic

carolinasimon | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 21, 2011 at 7:15 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

I have been vigorously searching for a list of authors and their work for you, however all I have been able to come up with so far is Michael Chabon author of  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I am not sure if he is not Jewish, but I have not been able to find anything stating that he is.

I believe the reasons why this is so difficult to research is twofold. One, the Holocaust is a topic that is generally seen as a Jewish issue and therefore only of interest to Jews. Clearly 5 million non-Jews died and millions others were affected just as much as Jews. However, the Nazi persecution of Jews was distinct in that they were the only group singled out for annihilation. As a result, the Holocaust is and was a primarily Jewish historical event. Secondly, because it was a historical event like none other, literature dealing with the subject tends to be of an autobiographical nature, primarily because Holocaust denial is extremely prevalent. Due to the near annihilation of Europe's Jewish population, Jews are the primary authors of this genre. I believe this will soon change as survivors are increasinly dying due to old age and in order for this genre to survive, non-Jews will need to study and write about this topic too.

user profile pic

carolinasimon | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 21, 2011 at 7:23 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like
I need some good non-Jewish authors who wrote about the holocaust or included Jewish characters in their novels after WWII. Any suggestions?

I need some good non-Jewish authors who wrote about the holocaust or included Jewish characters in their novels after WWII. Any suggestions?

I almost forgot, John Biguenet is the author of The Torturer's Apprentice a collection of short stories. In that collection the short story I am Not A Jew can be found. I believe this is exactly what you are looking for as teh author is of Cajun Catholic heritage.

user profile pic

Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 21, 2011 at 5:21 PM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

Well, I realize that you are probably referring to writers of novels when you mention "authors" in your question; however, because this is in fact a discussion, I thought I would mention the author of an awesome screenplay and movie called Life is Beautiful.  It is truly one of my favorite movies of all time and considered a "tragicomidy" about the holocaust.

Roberto Benigni (who also acted in the film) is actually Roman Catholic and wrote the story with Vincenzo Cerami.  The really neat tidbit about the story is that Benigni's father (also a Catholic) was put into a concentration camp under the Nazi regime.  Life is Beautiful is at least partially based on Benigni's father at the concentration camp.  I suppose the moral here is that the Nazi's persecuted all types of people, with members of Judaism being the most prevalent.

In short, the movie is about a young Jewish father (Benigni) who is put into a concentration camp with his wife and son.  Throughout the story, the father manages to continue to show love for his wife and convince his son that this is a special "game" that is important to win.  It is an incredible moment at the end of the film when the son runs to his mother and shouts, "We won, Mamma!"  Tearjerker for sure, ... but a FABULOUS one!

Noelle Thompson

user profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like

Corrie Ten Boom was not Jewish and she wrote the book The Hiding Place which is a fabulous account of how she and her family risked their lives in Amsterdam to hide Jews from the Gestapo.  Eventually, she and her family were caught and sent to the concentration camps as traitors and enemies of the state.

Charlotte Delbo is a non-Jew who wrote Auschwitz and After.

Jorge Semprun is also another fine example of a non-Jew writing about his survival in the Buchenwald camp.  He is a Spanish writer and politician.

user profile pic

sarahc418 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted May 26, 2011 at 11:09 AM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

What about Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally - he is Austrian, but I can't find anything that says that he was or wasn't Jewish. I know it is a fairly obvious choice as it was made into Schindler's List the famous film.

I also don't know if she is Jewish or not, but Susan Campbell Bartoletti wrote a few books regarding Hitler's Youth. One title is The Boy Who Dared which is a fabulous book. It is not about a Jewish boy though and is an interesting perspective from the viewpoint of a German youth.

user profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:21 AM (Answer #10)

dislike 0 like

Marcus Zusak is not Jewish, but wrote a wonderful book titled The Book Thief which is a great book for young adults and adults.  The main character and her adopted family are not Jewish, but they hide a young Jewish man in their home and the relationship between the main character and this young man is the focus of the novel.  I can't recommend it more highly!

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes