The lost children of Europe : narrating the rehabilitation of child Holocaust survivors in Great Britain and Israel / by Mary Fraser Kirsh.
"The Lost Children of Europe: Narrating the Rehabilitation of Child Holocaust Survivors in Great Britain and Israel," explores how child Holocaust survivors were used as symbols of renewal by relief organizations working towards the rehabilitation of the "lost children of Europe." Financial, material, and moral support were supplied by a complex and often conflicting network of organizations, each of which had a vision for the future of Europe and for the future of the Jews. This dissertation investigates the competing discourses of muscular Judaism, victimization, martyrology, and redemption, as well as how the process of the discursive played out in professional and promotional literature. Comparing Israel's reception and absorption of survivors with that of Great Britain illustrates that Israel's policies towards survivors were neither exceptional nor solely born out of social Zionism. As two ideological divergent countries with different goals for the future of Jews in general and child survivors in particular, one would expect Britain to be the antithesis of Israel. By studying these two countries in tandem, it becomes evident that while ideology shaped propaganda in the two locales, the differences in their rehabilitation programs are largely a reflection of material conditions. Neither Britain nor Israel accepted child survivors out of simple compassion alone; rather, they based public policies on the belief and expectation that the children could be assimilated fully into the nations' wider goals. Using early post-war writings of educators, administrators, wardens, and social workers, my dissertation analyzes "outsiders'" perspectives of child survivors. How did professionals and the public at large construct damage? How and why did countries seek to rescue and redeem the youngest survivors of the Holocaust? How was the Jewish child used as a symbol of degeneracy and renewal, and what can these symbols tell us about anxieties over the past and present and projected visions for the future?
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 16:28:00
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