I have been totally engrossed in books, primarily historical novels about World War II and the Holocaust, over the last several years. Surveying the New York Times Books Review section each week, this huge interest, some also would say a near obsession, is shared by the reading public. The Best Seller List has seen titles such as, “The Nightingale,” “The Lilac Girls,” the “Tattooist of Auschwitz” and “All the Light We Cannot See” remain solidly entrenched amongst the top 20 for months, if not years.
My latest “read,” a book entitled, “The Plum Tree” was a wonderful, quick – too quick – read, and most unusual in relating the sorrowful, disgraceful story of WWII as it affected ordinary Germans – Germans who lived amongst, worked with, and even loved the Jews in their midst; the Germans who did try to assist their Jewish neighbors – albeit a minority, and who lived and died attempting to oppose Hitler.
It is with a sad heart I read about the rise of anti-Semitism, especially in the US and France, and the rise of the neo-Nazi, right wing in Germany. Human beings are quite capable of forgetting – in fact, it is indeed – I suspect – a survival mechanism. But, as these books remind us – We should never forget!