Monday, September 13, 2010

People of the Holocaust

People of the Holocaust by Linda Schmittroth and Mary Kay Rosteck is a two volume reference set which is an excellent resource for young people interested in the Holocaust and the many different people who were involved. The two volumes are comprised of biographies of 60 women and men who participated in or were affected by the Holocaust.

Each individual main entry biography is written at the students' level and is often accompanied by interesting photographs or primary source documents. In addition, the editors have included short related mini-biographies which are cross-referenced within the main entries. Each biography contains a "Words to Know" and "Further Reading" section.

I found the main entry biographies interesting and engaging, and feel that the volumes would be extremely useful in terms of research for middle school students. The choices made by the editors were wide and included people on all sides of the Holocaust.

A review of the 2 volume set found in the Voice of Youth Advocates (December 1, 1998) highlights some of the problems, or errors, with the text:

The text states that 1938 was the year Hitler and the Nazis began "implementing anti-Jewish regulations in Germany." This ignores the boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933 and the Nuremberg race laws of 1935, as well as the beginning of property regulations in 1937. In a paragraph describing the forced emigration of Jews in Europe, the text states that "millions of Jews were left behind in Germany": Europe is meant here, not Germany. One bibliographic entry gives the wrong date, and there are a number of typos. The following two mistakes were the most worrisome: An entry about a victim at Auschwitz reads "During the camp's [Auschwitz-Birkenau] existence, between 1940 and 1945, an estimated 400,000 people were admitted to the camp, and approximately 261,000 died there." This is a gross underestimate?nother entry states that at least 1.3 million Jews were killed there. In a sidebar on the war in Hungary a statement declares that Raoul Wallenberg helped to save 4,500 Hungarian Jews?yet another entry on Wallenberg claims he "saved as many as 100,000 Jews."

The author also includes a glossary, bibliography, and index to assist the reader. This should be in the library in every middle school across America - even with a few errors!

TITLE: People of the Holocaust, Volumes 1 & 2
AUTHOR: Linda Schmittroth and Mary Kay Rosteck
PAGES: Volume 1 & 2 - 508
TYPE: non-fiction, reference
RECOMMEND: I think this is a very good reference source for middle grade students. The errors noted in one review can be addressed with students, but the biographical information and primary sources are worth the trouble.

1 comment:

Cristiana C. said...

Hi there! I just wanted to signall quickly this book (for the moment it has just been edited in French and Italian): Les Arbres Pleurent Aussi by Irene Cohen Janca and Maurizio Quarello. It's a picture book, pure poetry I shall say.
You can find my review here if you want to take a look: more images are to be found on the italian page. Hope you'll find it interesting. Cris