Our weekend mornings are spent on the couch reading The Wall Street Journal in print.

He and I pass sections back and forth (over great coffee) until we’ve read it front-to-back. The Weekend Journal is particularly colorful, offering dependably great ideas for travel, decor, fashion, eats, and new reads.

When Friday’s Arena section made it’s way over to me, I tore into it. On the cover page were upcoming fall books worth looking at, many of which tackled a subject, the Holocaust, that has since adulthood, shaped my views of humanity and inhumanity. Even my area of study was influenced by a Jewish Holocaust survivor.
I pursued a hands-on clinical approach to aging vs. an administrative focus in graduate school after reading "On Aging: Revolt and Resignation" by Jean Amery, a French Jew who after surviving the Holocaust, ultimately committed suicide in his later years.
For Amery, witnessing the decline of his own body in old age was too much to bear. In his memoir he states that despite the conditions he withstood in a concentration camp, at least there was hope. He felt that old age however did not offer such hope.
His view of aging and comparison to a concentration camp provided me with the empathy needed to assist aging folks in navigating physiological breakdown. Could growing old truly be that difficult? According to Amery, the answer is absolutely.
Five books endorsed by The WSJ this weekend are poignant stories of a subject matter that never tires because the accounts are six-million+ strong. Even the fiction bears witness to some truths, so the Holocaust may well inspire novels into the next century and beyond. Friday’s recommendations include Mischling by Affinity Konar, Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forgers Life by Sarah Kaminsky, The Gustav Sonata by Rose Remain, Irena’s Children: The True Story of Courage by Tilar J. Mazzeo, and Judas by Amos Oz.
But if you’re short on time and seek a laudable illustration of a true or based-on-true story addressing the Holocaust, then add these Netflix offerings to your queue…they are guaranteed to stir your blood, Jew or Gentile.
Black Book. 2006. A Dutch flick that has more mammaries than I’ve ever seen in one setting. That’s not exactly what I look for in entertainment, but because it’s based on real events, I could tolerate it. The acting is a little corny at times, but the story is so heartbreaking, twisted, and so unbelievable, that it’s worth watching if nothing else then to know why money is indeed deemed "the root of all evil".
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas. 2008. WWII through the eyes of an eight-year-old German child. A parent’s worst nightmare and a movie that kept me from sleeping.
The Counterfeiters. 2007. The acting in this movie is superb and the history behind it fascinating. It’s about how one man decided to finally do the right thing and changed the course of WWII because of it.
In a time when the validity of the Jewish State is being questioned and folks fail to recognize what series of events led to the west collectively establishing Israel as a safe haven for Hebrews, familiarizing oneself with the details of the Holocaust is imperative.
I was once told by a Turkish friend that the Holocaust was "fabricated by the United States and American Jews". He wasn’t a friend for much longer but my point is that such words were muttered twenty years ago by an educated, somewhat westernized man. And such opinions have since become acceptable.
I’d encourage anyone who wonders why Israel matters to become familiar with the Holocaust through print and film.
And if there are any others that I need to read or see, I’d love to hear about them.

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