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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

contemporary Jewish Historical Novels

Contemporary Holocaust Fiction

What Messages Do Holocaust Novels Convey?
This blog is an update to my review of books with Holocaust themes and my reflections on the messages they convey. I most recently read
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. The plot centers on Josef and Lenka, two young lovers, and how their lives are shattered by the Nazi invasion of Prague. Read More...

Munk Polish Holocaust Movie

"Perhaps we would not be seeing the resurgence of neo-Nazi criminal activity today if a better job had been done convicting and punishing perpetrators for their crimes during the Holocaust.”Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Simon Wiensenthal Center Chief Nazi Hunter Read More...

Holocaust Remembrance Message

Messages from The Holocaust

The Levite Jewish Community Center, Birmingham Jewish Federation, Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and N.E. Miles Jewish Day School hosted a touching and meaningful Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) program.

Messages from Holocaust Memorials

Part 1. The number of memorials dedicated to the Holocaust now reach into the hundreds more to come.  What lessons do we as take away from these tangible testaments to the brutal events of the past? Do they serve to fuel hate against the collective perpetrators of evil, or as warning to never give in to hatred? Do they fill us with despair, or with hope for the future of humanity? What message do we take away from visits to Memorials?   Read More...

Messages from Holocaust Books

What Message do Holocaust Books and Memorials Send?

The number of books and memorials dedicated to the Holocaust now reach into the thousands with hundreds more to come. What lessons do we as take away from these tangible testaments to the brutal events of the past? Do they serve to fuel hate against the collective perpetrators of evil, or as warnings to never give in to hatred? Do they fill us with despair, or with hope for the future of humanity? 

A review of four novels and a memoir may help to tease out the answer.    Read More...

Prague Jewish Museum

History is repeating itself, Abraham thought and he felt the hairs of the back of his neck rise. He was escaping the fearsome menace of Nazism, but what would become of his friends?
The Nine Inheritors, Chap 20, p. 239
In one of the most grotesquely ironic acts of WWII, the Nazis seized control of the area that would eventually become the Prague Jewish Museum. Lonely Planet


Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park

Great Synagogue (Dohány Street Synagogue)

[As a survivor] Bunka has dedicated his life . . . to immortalize the memory of the lost Jews of Lithuania. He has carved dozens of memorial sculptures , and erected them on the sites where the mass murders took place.
The Nine Inheritors by Claire Datnow, Chapter 44. p. 555
We stand craning our necks upward, gawking at the impressive facade of the Great Synagogue in Budapest. Opened in 1859, it is the second largest in the world—only Temple Emanu-El in New York is slightly bigger. Stepping inside, we marvel at the rich, glittering and ornate Moorish Revival architecture.

Holocaust Memorial Budapest

Shoes on the Danube Holocaust Memorial
[The memorial] calls on us never to repeat the evils of the years gone by; it urges us to acknowledge that whatever our race, heritage or religion, we belong to the same human species.
The Nine Inheritors, by Claire Datnow Chapter 42
On a trip down the Danube you get caught up in the beauty of the land, the magnificence of the cathedrals and inviting public squares, the friendly people, the hearty food and tasty beer. Yet, somewhere along the way, like an electric probe, something is there to remind you of the Holocaust

Family History Woven Around Inherited Objects

Inherited Objects Inspire Family History and Storytelling
When I came across a review of
The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal, I was immediately struck by the book’s premise, so strikingly similar to my historical novel The Nine Inheritors: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Family and Their Ancient Torah Scroll. Read More...

Jewish Historical Fiction Torah Travel

Readers Connect with Authors to Bring Their Stories to Life

“To keep our stories and our traditions alive, we should tell them to our children and our children’s children. In that way we can pass on the wisdom they contain.”

--Claire Datnow, The Nine Inheritors: 

Extraordinary Torah Journey

 In my historical novel, The Nine Inheritors, I created a fictional story about the journey of a family and their ancient Torah scroll. Recently, I came across the true account of a Torah’s Journey to Uganda, which begins in the early 1900s with an elephant hunter named Semei Kakungulu, connects with a 51-year-old Jewish physician from Plano, Texas, and ends with him delivering an ancient Hebrew text to a remote village in the foothills of Mount Elgon, a towering, dormant volcano in eastern Uganda. I swear I’m not making this up. To read more of this fascinating story, go to this link:

What Defines Jewish Historical Fiction? The Odyssey of a Torah

What Defines Jewish Historical Fiction? The Odyssey of a Torah
Jewish historical fiction explores themes that relate to the Jewish experience, primarily that of being an outsider in society, and an outsider as a Jew living among Christians. While Jewish historical novels have Jewish-historical content, Jewish fiction does not seek to proselytize. Authors of Jewish fiction do not need to be Jewish. Conversely, just because an author is Jewish does not make his or her book a work of Jewish fiction. Authors not only portray significant events in Jewish history, including the Holocaust, but also show Jews as fully functioning members of the society and times in which they happen to be living. As the Author of The Nine Inheritors: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Family and Their Ancient Torah Scroll, I hope that my novel will serve to promote true empathy for Jewish history and experience.

Historical Novels about Nazi Propaganda and Torah Odyssey Novel

How Ordinary Germans were Swept up by Nazi Hysteria
Do we need another book about how ordinary Germans were swept up by Nazi hysteria? Yes, because they provide real insight into how ordinary people—like ourselves, our family, our friends and neighbors can easily be caught in a vicious web of deceit and destruction—if we are not vigilant. I recommend three books that tell a compelling story, which reinforces this powerful message. Read More...

Multicultural Literature and Historical Fiction and Torah Odyssey Novel

Multicultural Literature and Historical Fiction Multicultural literature helps readers connect with their own cultures and exposes them to other cultures. By reading these stories readers develop more positive attitudes towards different cultural, racial and ethnic groups. A good story does more than changing a reader’s mind—it can change a heart. Multicultural literature emphasizes the differences as well as the similarities across cultures. Let’s celebrate these differences and similarities!