I was fortunate to be able to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum last summer - I was deeply impressed by the exhibits and the meticulous documentation of the Holocaust. The exterior is suitably stark in appearance, and the interior compellingly brings the Holocaust "alive" for visitors. This is not a museum for really young children (I'd recommend it for ages 10 and up, with great caution). Except for the ground level exhibit, the others truly convey the horrors and realities of the Holocaust. When I saw this book at the museum bookstore, I purchased it immediately, even though I have dozens of scholarly works on the subject (having taught Holocaust history for many years whilst overseas). It was to serve as a memento of my visit to the museum (the other book I purchased was I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a beautiful, lyrical, and heartbreaking work based on the writings and artwork of Jewish children incarcerated in Terezin during WW II, many of whom later perished in the Holocaust).
"The World Must Know" aligns with the institution's mission to memorialize the Holocaust and its millions of victims. It compellingly and vividly narrates the story of how the Holocaust occurred and the horrific consequences of this period, not only then, but the lasting impact till the present day. The book is divided into three main sections, i.e.:
The Nazi Assault - there's a brief overview of the vital and thriving Jewish culture which existed in many parts of Europe before the Nazis came to power and put an end to it. The rise of the Nazis, the anti-Jewish policies, racial science, Nazi medicine, and many more are covered to some extent, made all the more compelling by the archival B&W photographs which are abundantly peppered throughout the book. This section not only documents the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews but also the oppression suffered by the handicapped, and Gentiles who dared to oppose the regime.
The Holocaust - this section documents the Holocaust as it occurred in Europe and Greece; the formation of the ghettoes (Warsaw, Lodz, Kovno); the Wannsee Conference which discussed the Final Solution to the Jewish problem and which led to the mass extermination of European Jewry; dozens of photographs of the mass killings and extermination of Jews through firing squads, mobile gas vans, and of course the infamous gassings in death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Majdanek, etc. The photographs here clearly document the meticulous methods employed by the Nazis in their zeal to rid Europe of Jews - the deportations (how heartbreaking to see pictures of young, innocent children being taken away, almost surely to their deaths!), and the chemicals and rooms used for gassing these innocent victims. This section also includes photographs of the exhibits found in the Holocaust Memorial Museum such as the thousands of shoes confiscated from prisoners in Majdanek, and scale models of the crematoriums complete with plaster figures of victims going through the entire process from arrival-selection-undressing-gassing-cremation.
The Last Chapter - covers the heroic efforts of some communities to save the Jews such as the miraculous rescue of the Jews in Denmark; Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, a village in the south of France which provided refuge to 5,000 Jews during WW II; individual heroes who risked everything to save Jews such as Raoul Wallenberg; and many more. It also covers the uprisings, the death marches, and finally, liberation and its aftermath (the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, displaced persons, and exodus to Palestine).
There's an extensive index at the end of the book for easy cross-referencing. What else is there to be said but that this is an excellent work which portrays the history of the Holocaust as has been archived, documented, and narrated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Recommended!