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Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Holocaust is a term that etymologically is defined as “sacrifice by fire, a burnt offering,” while I cannot debate the origin of this term and appropriateness of its use in the context of the genocide, As an Indian-American aka Desi aka South Asian, I prefer to use the word Shoah when it comes to the genocide of European Jews during the World War II (השואה, HaShoah, “the catastrophe”). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum can serve as one of the many starting points for those who want to teach about the Holocaust. UC Berkeley Library subscribes to USC Shoah Foundation Virtual History Archive that our students and faculty can access after authenticating from an off-campus location.
Irrespective of the terms we use the essence of tragedy and crime that was perpetrated against one group of people by the other cannot be forgotten. Before Shoah and after it, many Jews migrated to Latin America and their subsequent generations produced exemplary writers. Professor Ilan Stavans has authored an article on Latin American Jewish Literature. Below are some of the books that one can read and reflect upon on this day of the remembrance of all of the victims of the different genocides whom we have lost.