Literary Responses to the Holocaust: Novels, Stories, Plays, and Poems
Select Bibliography (English)

Compiled by Dr. Karin Doerr©
Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

(*Signifies by or about Women)
(#Signifies recommended Readings)

Updated: June 8, 2017

Some literary responses to the Holocaust are anchored in actual experiences and/or memoirs of survivors. Others are fiction pieces based on extensive research of writers and poets who were, in one form or another, touched or influenced by the German judeocide in Europe during World War II. The listed works here include both categories.

There is a separate bibliography for Holocaust Memoirs, Testimonies, and Histories, one for Secondary Sources on the Holocaust, and one for Critical Writing On Literary And Artistic Responses To The Holocaust. See also Antisemitism: Select Bibliography.

#Amis, Martin. Time's Arrow or The Nature of the Offence. New York: Harmony Books, 1991. [Reversed- time narration from the viewpoint of a Nazi doctor]

#Amis, Martin. The Zone of Interest. New York: Alfred Knopf, 2014. [Auschwitz]

*Anglada, Maria Angels. The Violin of Auschwitz. Trans. from the Catalan (1994) Martha Tennent. New York: Bantam Books, 2010.

Appelfeld, Aharon. The Iron Tracks. New York: Schocken Books, 1998. [A post-Holocaust story]

*Appelfeld, Aron. Katerinah. Trans. from the Hebrew Jeffrey M. Green. New York: Random House, 1992.

Begley, Louis. Wartime Lies. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1991. [Based on the experiences of the author]

Belfoure, Charles. The Paris Architect. Naperville, IL Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013. [German occupation of Paris]

*Bittersweet Legacy: Creative Responses to the Holocaust. Art; Poetry; Stories. Ed. Cynthia Moskowitz Brody. Studies in the Shoah. Vo. XXIV. New York: University Press of America, 2001.

*Boland, Eavan. Ed. and trans. After Every War: Twentieth-Century Women Poets. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. [Includes Holocaust poems by Rose Ausländer, Nelly Sachs, Gertrud Kolmar, a.o. in German with English translation.]

 *Boraks-Nemetz, Lillian. Ghost Children: Poems. Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press, 2000. [The poet stands ‘transfixed at the edge of the apocalypse.’]

Borowski, Tadeusz. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, trans. Barbara Vedder. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.

Canetti, Elias. The Human Province. Trans. Joachim Neugroschel. New York: Paulist, 1967.

Celan, Paul. Poems of Paul Celan. Trans. Michael Hamburger. New York: Persea Books, 1980.

Croci, Pascal. Berlin. 2005. [A graphic novel with stark, black-and-white illustrations]

Edelman, Gwen. The Train to Warsaw. Grove Press, 2014.[A couple survived the Warsaw ghetto and returns to Warsaw after forty years]

*Fink, Ida. The Journey. Trans Joanna Weschler and Francine Prose. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992.

*#Fink, Ida, A Scrap of Time and other Stories New York: Schocken Books, 1987. [A collection of stories about life in wartime Poland]

Goes, Albrecht. The Burnt Offering. Trans. from the German Michael Hamburger. New York: Pantheon, 1956.

Keilson, Hans. The Death of the Adversary. Trans. from the Dutch by Ivo Jarosy. Paris: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010. [Self-portrait of a young man in hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland]

#Kertész, Imre. Fateless. Trans. from the Hungarian Christopher C. Wilson and Katharina Wilson. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1992.

Kertész, Imre. Kaddish For A Child Not Born. Trans. from the Hungarian Christopher C. Wilson and Katharina Wilson. Evanson, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1997. [Nobel prize winner in 2002]

#Kertész, Imre. Liquidation. Trans. from the Hungarian Tim Wilkinson. 2003; New York: Alfred Knopf, 2004. [Nobel prize winner in 2002]

Klein, A.M. The Hitleriad. New York: New Directions, 1944.

*#Kolmar, Gertrud. Dark Soliloquy: The Selected Poems Of Gertrud Kolmar. Trans. from the German and Introduction Henry A. Smith. Foreword Cynthia Ozick. New York: Seabury Press, 1975. [Poems in English and German]

*Konar, Affinity. Mischling. Little Brown & Company, 2016. [Based on Dr. Mengele’s experiments on twins at Auschwitz.]

*#Laskey, Heather. Night Voices Heard in the Shadow of Hitler and Stalin. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003.

Littell, Jonathan. The Kindly Ones. Trans. from the French Charlotte Mandell Harper. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 2009. [Fictional memories of an SS officer during World War II and the Eastern Front.]

Lustig, Arnost. Darkness Casts No Shadow. Trans. Jeanne Nemcova. Washington: Inscape, 1976.

*Michaels, Anne. Fugitive Pieces. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 1996.

*Modiano, Patrick.  Dora Bruder. Trans. from the French. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, [The “life-world” of Paris under German occupation]

*Morante, Elsa. History: A Novel. Trans. from the Italian by William Weaver. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1977.

*Némirovsky, Irène. Suite Française. Trans. Sandra. New York: Alfred Knopf, Smith 2006. [Two novellas portraying life in France from June 4, 1940 through July 1, 1941]

*#Ozick, Cynthia. The Shawl; Rosa. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1989.

Oz, Amos. Touch the Water, Touch the Wind. Trans. from the Hebrew Nocholas de Lange. New York: Harcourt, 1974.

*Reichart, Elisabth. La valse and Foreign. Trans. from the German Linda C. DeMeritt. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 2000. [Collection of short stories; see “How Close to Mauthausen?”]

*Rosenay, Tatiana de. Sarah's Key. New York: Gale, 2007. [France during the German occupation, 1940-1945]

*Rosenfarb, Chava. Survivors: Seven Short Stories. Toronto, ON: Cormorant Books, 2004.

Rymkiewicz, Jarosław M., The Final Station: Umschlagplatz. Trans. Nina Taylor. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1994. [A sensitive Polish view of the persecution and murder of the Jews]

*Schaeffer, Susan F. Anya. New York: Macmillan, 1974.

*Schlink, Bernhard. The Reader. Trans. Carol Brown Janeway. New York: Random House, 1998.

Schwarz-Bart, André. The Last of the Just. Trans. Stepen Becker. London: Secker and Warburg, 1961.

#Sebald, W.G. [Winfried, Gunther]. Trans. from the German Austerlitz. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2002. [History & architecture, memory, Theresienstadt, Kindertransport]

Sebald, W.G. [Winfried, Gunther] The Emigrants. Trans. Michael Hulse. New York: New Directions, 1996.

#Semprun, Jorge. The Long Voyage. Trans. Richard Seaver. New York: Grove Press, 1964. [Narrating the transport from France to the concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.]

Sem-Sandberg, Steve. Transl. Anna Paterson. The Chosen Ones. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016. [The story of a hospital in Nazi Vienna where 800 children were murdered.]

Shepard, Jim. The Book of Aron. New York: Alfred Knopf, 2014. [Holocaust narrative through the eyes of a child]

#Spiegelman, Art. Maus [Vols I & II]. New York: Pantheon, 1991. [Comic strip with Nazis as cats and Jews as mice]

Steinfeld, J.J. Dancing at the Club Holocaust: Stories New and Selected. Charlottetown, Canada: Ragweed, 1993. [Holocaust images as clichés]

*Szeman, Sherri. The Kommandant's Mistress. New York: Harper Collins, 1993. [Simulated Auschwitz memories of a concentration camp commander and a female Jewish inmate presented as two viewpoints]

#Tisma, Aleksandar. Kapo. Beograd: Nolit, 1987. Trans. from the Serbo-Croatian by Richard Williams. New York, San Diego, London: Harcourt Brace, 1993. [Memoir-like story of a man who was both a concentration camp perpetrator and victim]

*Thomas, D.M. The White Hotel. New York: The Viking Press, 1981.

#Wilkomirski, Binjamin. Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood. New York: Schocken Books, 1996. [Fictional Holocaust and post-Holocaust experiences narrated from the perspective of a small child] 

*Witterick, J.I. My Mother’s Secret. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2013. [Based on a true Holocaust story]

*Zeitlich, Simone. Judenstaat. New York: Tor Books, 2016. [An imagined, alternate sovereign state for Jews in Saxony, Germany, and questions of how one goes on living after the loss of family in the Holocaust].


© Copyright Judy Cohen, 2006.
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