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Salt: A World History ~ Mark Kurlansky
If you like history or want to learn about it, this book offers a very interesting way to do so. Salt is universal, every civilization has had a need for it. Rich, poor, all used salt. This book talks about different places in the world and how salt was used, including minority civilizations and not just the major ones. It has some fascinating facts about salt use through the ages as well. A good read. However, each chapter is not connected, but can stand on its own.
One fascinating fact not included in the book: Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in Poland. A church has been carved out of salt in the salt mine. Go ahead and Google it, the images are amazing.
Words cannot begin to express the emotions that bubble up when “the holocaust” is mentioned. During the years of the Second World War, at the hands of the German Nazi soldiers, under Adolf Hitler, approximately six million Jewish lives were taken. The reason was: race. Hitler believed that the Jews were “racially inferior” to the Germans, or Aryans, that he favored; thus began a series of wretched attacks on the Jewish population of Europe. Destroying Jewish temples, Jewish-owned shops, forcing them to leave their homes and everything they knew to enter filthy, overcrowded ghettos. Then finally, deporting those they did not already kill, to concentration camps all over Europe. In these camps, nearly two out of three European Jews were murdered. It is an extremely horrifying and sad time in our history, as human beings. So we must remember and never forget those who did not make it, and those who did.
Quote by Elie Wiesel (Holocaust Survivor):
“I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead, and anyone who does not remember betrays them again.”
“Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.”
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Most of us know the book, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, which is the published diary of a young Jewish girl’s life in hiding – this is how most of us learn about the Holocaust in the first place. However, there are many other memoirs available so that we can all remember and never forget. The following books are not for everyone, some may find them too hard to read, due to the sometimes graphic recounting of life and death, but if you can, you will be affected and genuinely moved:
Night ~ Elie Wiesel (New Translation by Marion Wiesel): A truly moving memoir, that will make you ache to the depths of your soul; unforgettable, Elie Wiesel expresses desperation so movingly, “Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.” Night brought me to tears because Elie Wiesel holds nothing back and is so real, and so honest in his recounting of his experiences. At the end of the book, his recounting of his last days with his father are heart-wrenching and shattering. Take comfort in the fact that Elie Wiesel was one of the lucky ones, he survived to tell this story, and became a writer and poet, even winning the Nobel Prize. A man with much to celebrate, yet so much to lament over.
Survival in Auschwitz ~ Primo Levi: Primo Levi tells of his experiences in Auschwitz, and through his testimony wecan learn what it means to merely exist in this world. Primo Levi chillingly points out that, “I am not even alive enough to know how to kill myself.” One cannot even imagine what life must have been like. Through this memoir we can attempt to understand what “inhumane” really means, and we glimpse the thought process behind extermination and brutal living conditions. This book is a shock to the system, and jolts new revelation about human survival into the reader.
I Was A Child Of Holocaust Survivors ~ Bernice Eisenstein: A creatively told recounting of the authors’ relatives experiences during the Holocaust, and what “moving on” was like for them. It shows that not all survivors were open about the harrowing things they experienced, but would rather leave them behind. The author tells of how her parents’ experiences impacted her own life and led her to search for answers and information about the Holocaust. To remember. The illustrations add a sense of a child-like perspective, but clearly hold a deeper meaning.