Educational experiences of Jewish adult child survivors of the Holocaust / by Wendy Pollock
Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-212)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
During the Holocaust European Jewish children were targeted and suffered enormously from the laws and restrictions promulgated by the Nazi German policies of persecution, isolation, incarceration and deportation to death camps. More than one million Jewish children died during the years 1939-1945. Only ten percent of the Jewish child population of Europe survived World War II.The Nazi government issued the Nuremburg decrees in 1935 which began the process of segregating and then expelling Jewish children from all formal education in public and religious schools in Germany and throughout the occupied countries of Europe during the course of the six year war. Surviving children found that their educational lives were disrupted, interrupted, or delayed for a three to six or seven year period. During that period children were consumed with finding ways to survive in hiding in convents, monasteries or in sympathetic Christian homes or in transit camps, ghettos and concentration camps. There is documentation of intermittent educational activities that took place in transit camps, ghettos, and in Displaced Persons camps in an effort to provide some sense of normalcy for children experiencing personal losses as well as deprivations of food and minimal medical attention.This study explores the educational experiences of seven Jewish adult/child survivors ranging in age from four years old to fifteen years at the onset of the War. Their collective experiences include going into hiding, being interned in a ghetto, deportation to concentration camps and living and fighting with a partisan group. Two of the participants attended organized schooling in the ghetto. Another attended school in a Displaced Persons camp.Upon their arrival in the United States, three of the participants resumed their formal education and a fourth embarked upon a commercial course of study. Three of the participants chose not to pursue further study. The study explores the nature of the participants' adaptation experiences in their English language acquisition, their relationships with their American teachers and their attempts to resume friendships and familial ties amidst devastating personal losses of parents and extended family members.Now seventy to eighty years of age the participants' descriptions and memories of their struggles to gain a foothold on life following the Holocaust are vivid and riveting. This particular group of participants have endured other hardships during their adult years but find that it has been, for them, a life of significance and that education continues to be a fundamental cornerstone in a purposeful life.
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