"Maus: A Survivor's Tale" vol 1 & 2, by Art Spiegelman.
Actually, I read this last year, but could never bring myself to write about it. This has got to be among the most brutal and gripping memoirs I have ever read, and the fact that it's presented as a graphic novel gives it an emotional impact that no other medium could deliver. I outright sobbed at parts.
For those who don't know, "Maus" is the story of a son drawing out his father's tale of surviving the Holocaust. In it, the Jews are represented as anthropomorphized mice, while the Nazis are cat-like creatures. At the same time, the characters are all so strikingly human in their expressions and body language that it will give you chills. One facial expression in particular haunts me still-- the mouse seen from the front, with head thrown back, crying out in the agony of having just experienced an unendurable tragedy. Somehow, I can't imagine that any other face could be capable of showing such pain. You can almost hear the broken cry of despair.
I've read so much about the Holocaust, yet no book or movie has ever brought it home to me the way this did. Despite growing up very estranged from the Jewish community, I heard such echoes of my grandmother and even my mother in the way the father speaks and acts. He is sarcastic and serious, an inexplicable mix of over-sensitive and stoical, stubborn as hell about the little things but able to shrug off the larger problems of life; in short, utterly infuriating in many ways-- traits that anyone who has known a Jew of their generation will instantly recognize. And this book makes you /almost/ understand why.
Read it. Read it for them. But don't say I didn't warn you.