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Year 9 English: Shoah Literature

Research links: The Holocaust

What was the Holocaust?

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Introduction to the Holocaust

Path to Genocide: Propaganda

What is Genocide?

Holocaust Encyclopaedia

Timeline of Events

Aftermath of the Holocaust

History: The holocaust - World War 11

Yadvashem.Organisation Resources

Jewish Holocaust Centre: Melbourne

Jewish Holocaust Centre: Melbourne 

Our Museum

Eyewitness: The Survivor's Voice


Comparative Study: Shoah Literature


Night by Elie Wiesel

View the movie below for Comparative study: Night and Denial

"Night" is the true story of the childhood experiences of Elie Wiesel,  and his family, in Hungary,

during World War 11. 

Goodreads: Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of hope, it remains one of the most important works of the twentieth century.

Biography: Elie Wiesel

       Shmoop: Night Summary 

     View the movie below for Comparative study: Night and Denial


Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson 

 View the movie below for Comparative study: Boy on the Wooden Box and Woman in Gold

This is an autobiograhical novel and a recount of the experiences of Leon Leyson, a young Jewish boy and his family, in Poland during World War 11. When the Nazi's invaded Poland, Leon and his family were sent to Krakow Ghetto.

Boy on the Wooden Box Timeline of Events

Simon and Leon Leyson Biography

ReadPlus review by Julie Wells:

This book is a memoir, recollecting the author's experiences over a period of years. Encouraged by his wife and a publishing friend, Leon Leyson decided to tell his story.  As a Jewish boy of fifteen years, he and his family were rounded up by Nazis and placed in unbearable circumstances; at times separated from each other, suffering hunger, exhaustion and extreme neglect and hatred. Oskar Schindler thought this young boy's life was of value and went to great lengths to ensure the survival of most of his family members.

View the movie below for Comparative study: Night and Denial


The Wrong Boy by Suzi Zail

View the movie below for Comparative study: Wrong Boy and The Book Thief 

The story of a Jewish girl sent to Auschwitz with her family who falls in love with the wrong boy

.....the son of the German Commandant of the concentration camp.

ReadPlus review by Colleen Tuovinen

Insideadog: Wrong Boy

Goodreads: Suzi Zail

Hanna is a talented pianist, and the protected second daughter of middle class Hungarian Jews. Relatively late in World War II the Budapest Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Hanna and her mother and sister are separated from her father. Her mother becomes increasingly mentally ill until she too is taken away somewhere. Her sister Erika is slowly starving to death. Hanna is quite a naïve 15-year-old but when presented with the opportunity to play for the camp commander, she is desperate to be chosen. She goes each day under guard to the commander’s house and stands waiting in case the commander should want some music. Also living in the house is the commander’s son, Karl. A handsome young man who seems completely disengaged from what is happening around him. Hanna hates him as he sits drawing in the music room. But the longer Hanna goes to the house, the more she realises there are other things going on. Secret things. Karl may not be the person she thinks he is. Before she knows it she has fallen in love with the wrong boy. 

View the movie The Book Thief below for Comparative study: Wrong Boy and The Book Thief 

Comparative Study: Holocaust movies

ABC Resources


ABC Education Resources

Holocaust: Camps to Liberation

Follow the journey of a few Holocaust survivors through the darkness of the camps to their bittersweet liberation. What was it like to arrive at Auschwitz-Birkenau and how did they survive and rebuild their lives after the war?

Warning: The contents of this digibook contain material that is inappropriate for students 13 years and younger. We advise that this digibook is to be utilised with adult supervision for discussion of and reflection on the material and issues raised.


Schindler's List: The Life of Oskar Schindler

Holocaust Stories