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My Recent Visit to Yad Vashem: The Experiences of Child Survivors in the Immediate Years Following the End of WWII

I just returned from a meeting at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The meeting opened with a welcoming comment by Sharon Kangisser-Cohen and Iael Nidam-Orvieto, from the Hebrew University and Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem. It was followed by a presentation by myself and by my colleague Danny Brom, Ph.D., from Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, entitled : “Child Survivors Communicating About Their Holocaust Experiences: The Early Post-War Years”.

Sergio Dela Pergola from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel discussed “Demographics of Child Survivors of the Shoah”. The other participants, most of whom are historians from the USA, Israel, Germany, and England, presented documentation pertaining to issues such as adoption and foster care of children and youth who survived the Holocaust, the return and retrieval of Jewish children saved by hiding in monasteries and convents in France, the search for children and family reunification in the Post-War years, as well as education of children and youth in DP camps and health care services for Jewish Children in the American Zone of Occupation in Germany between 1945-1949. Dalia Ofer, a veteran in the field of Holocaust studies, led the discussion among the interdisciplinary group of researchers about issues of methodology, archival documents, oral history and the overall plan of the project.



The collection of studies are planned to come out as a book including a interdisciplinary perspective and covering the experiences of Child Holocaust Survivors in various countries and in multiple different settings in the early post-war years. This will be an important addition to our understanding of the experience of Survivors, since those who were children have not been represented well in studies or clinical reports.

              Irit Felsen

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