The news today is filled with stories of antisemitic atrocities—abroad and at home—ranging from acts of violence to book bannings to hate speech. As always, when confronted with difficult topics, one of the best things one can do is to educate themselves about the subject, through the words, writings, history, and viewpoint of those who have been most affected. The below list of books offer a variety of stories and reflections that will help you better understand the antisemitism faced by Jews throughout history and still to this day.
From the award-winning author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction: the story of a Tel Aviv shopkeeper who visits his parents’ Polish birthplace and uncovers the sharp tragic reality of Jewish life in Poland—past, present, and future.
Nobel Peace Prize–winner Ellie Wiesel weaves a heartbreaking epic poem, based on an actual event during World War II. On the eve of Purim, an entire ghetto, at threat of being annihilated by the Nazis, gathers to reflect on the advice of legendary rabbis from the past and intercede with god by singing a niggun—a wordless, joyful melody with the power to break the chains of evil.
The National Jewish Book Award Winner—a penetrating and provocative analysis of the hate that will not die, focusing on its current, virulent incarnations on both the political right and left: from white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, to mainstream enablers of antisemitism such as Donald Trump, to a gay pride march in Chicago that expelled a group of women for carrying a Star of David banner.
From the acclaimed author of The Man Without a Face, the previously untold story of the Jews in twentieth-century Russia that reveals the complex, strange, and heart-wrenching truth behind the familiar narrative that begins with pogroms and ends with emigration.
A radical new viewpoint on how to think about the Jewish relationship to power, from an eminent professor of comparative literature at Harvard. In a compelling argument, rich with history and bristling with contemporary urgency, Wisse demonstrates how Jewish political weakness both increased Jewish vulnerability to scapegoating and violence, and unwittingly goaded power-seeking nations to cast Jews as perpetual targets.
A graphic adaptation of the classic The Diary of a Young Girl. Including extensive quotations directly from the definitive edition of the Diary, filled with stunning illustrations that interpret and add visual meaning to the text, and authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, this is the timeless story like you’ve never seen before, ready to be rediscovered by a new generation.
One of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence, arguing that if religion is part of the problem, then it must also form part of the solution. Employing groundbreaking biblical analysis and interpretation, Rabbi Sacks presents an eloquent call for people of goodwill from all faiths and none to stand together to confront the religious extremism that threatens to destroy us all.
A Holocaust survivor’s surprising and thought-provoking study of forgiveness, justice, compassion, and human responsibility, featuring contributions from fifty-three distinguished theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrist, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China, and Tibet, including the Dalai Lama, Harry Wu, Cynthia Ozick, Primo Levi, and more.
A brilliant portrait of both anti-Semite and Jew, written by a non-Jew and from a non-Jewish point of view. Nothing of the anti-Semite either in his subtle form as a snob, or in his crude form as a gangster, escapes Sartre’s sharp eye, and the whole problem of the Jew’s relationship to the Gentile is examined in a concrete and living way, rather than in terms of sociological abstractions. With a preface by Michael Walzer.
Award-winning historian Deborah E. Lipstadt takes an in-depth look at a trial that electrified the world: the trial of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, which sparked debate on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice. A gripping narrative filed with historical perspective and contemporary urgency.