Lost Childhoods, Families, and Homes

Narrating Jewish Child Survivors’ Displacement and Resettlement After World War II

  • Sharon Park
Keywords: Jewish Child Survivors, oral history, gender studies


This article analyses Jewish child survivors' meaning-making strategies and how they addressed the loss of their childhood, families, and homes, including physical and national homes, after the Second World War. Using age and gender as analytical lenses, it draws upon oral history interviews with refugees from Western, Central, and Eastern Europe whose childhood or adolescence were interrupted - or defined - by displacement, and who came of age during or shortly after the war. In addition to comparing refugee perspectives with the expectations of American and British social workers for resettling displaced children, this paper will demonstrate the role of age categories and the life cycle in shaping how child survivors processed and formed strategies for moving on.