Wicked Son

Holocaust Holiday: One Family’s Descent into Genocide Memory Hell


In this alternately humorous and horrifying memoir, a Jewish father drags his reluctant children around Europe on a hard-charging tour of Holocaust sites and memorials in order to impress on them the profound evil of Hitler’s war against the Jews and the importance of combatting genocide.

In 2017, renowned author and celebrity rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, decided to take his family on a European holiday. But instead of seeing the sights of London or Paris, he took his reluctant—and at times complaining—children on a harrowing journey though Auschwitz, Treblinka, Warsaw, and many other sites associated with Hitler’s genocidal war against the Jews. His purpose was to impress upon them the full horror of the Holocaust so they would know and remember it deep in their bones. In the process, he and his children learn a great deal about the scope and nature of the European genocide and the continuing effects of global hatred and anti-Semitism. The resulting memoir is an utterly unique blend of travelogue, memoir and history—alternately fascinating, terrifying, frustrating, humorous, and tragic.

“It is my honor to contribute a foreword to his important book, in which Rabbi Shmuley Boteach details the excruciating journey he took with his wife and children in the summer of 2017 to the killing fields of Europe, a pilgrimage which every person of conscience should attempt at least once in their lifetime. It is our universal obligation to dedicate ourselves to the memory of the martyred six million, just as it is our obligation to confront and defeat genocide wherever it rises.”

—From the foreword by Amb. Georgette Mosbacher