Where We Once Gathered: Lost Synagogues of Europe

Where We Once Gathered, Lost Synagogues of Europe - Andrea Strongwater

Summary: This non-fiction picture book includes beautiful illustrations of various synagogues that were destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. It tells their stories - when they were built, their importance to the Jewish community, and what is left of them today. 


Interview with Andrea Strongwater:

Artist Spotlight: Andrea Strongwater | What was once Lost has been Recreated from WiredJersey.com on Vimeo.




This book keeps things short and sweet. Rather than showing gory images of death and destruction, Strongwater chooses to convey the horror of the Holocaust by using images of Jewish holy sites, places of beauty and peace, that the Nazis systematically destroyed. She refrains from including graphic descriptions of the Nazis' atrocities, and instead states the facts briefly and succinctly, which, in my opinion, actually makes them seem all the more awful.


This book is short and uses simple language that even elementary students can understand. I think that this is a very strong text to use in a classroom. The illustrations are beautiful and I really like that Strongwater uses something so peaceful to show the violence of war. 


Recommended to: 


This book would be a great tool for introducing the Holocaust to young students. While I think that it could be useful even in a high school classroom, it's best suited for mid-level students. I think that many projects and discussions could be introduced after reading this book and it definitely has great didactic value - a must have for the classroom library or home-schooling curriculum.