Milton Meltzer Nancy Aghazarian - Essay

Nancy Aghazarian

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Statistics alone cannot convey the extent of death and human misery suffered by the Jews of the holocaust…. [In Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust] Milton Meltzer tries to give meaning to these statistics by relating the fates of many individuals and having others tell their own stories through memoirs, poems, letters and songs. While no book can convey the Jewish suffering in its true dimensions, Never to Forget makes an excellent attempt. Written on a subject about which everyone should be knowledgeable, the book compels the reader to turn the pages until its conclusion. Meltzer includes short histories of anti-semitism and Hitler's rise to power. The bulk of the text, however, is devoted to the systematic rounding up of the Jews into ghettos, their deportation to the concentration camps and finally Jewish efforts at resistance. While the author acknowledges that some sympathetic Gentiles did exist, he plays this point down (much to the detriment of the book) and prefers to let it appear that the Jews were universally disliked and left completely alone. In no way does this book exaggerate the horrors of the holocaust. In fact, it practically ignores the 'medical experimentation' done on human subjects in the concentration camps. Still, Never to Forget will make the reader very uncomfortable and could conceivably cause nightmares. Recommended for older young adults only.

Nancy Aghazarian, in her review of "Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust," in Young Adult Cooperative Book Review Group of Massachusetts, Vol. 13, No. 1, October, 1976, p. 22.