Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
From 1940 – 1942, hundreds of Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Russia, and France were hidden from Nazi and Vichy French authorities in children’s homes in France. These homes were administered by the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, a Jewish aid organization that assisted children in need during World War II. This study employs a quantitative content analysis of the testimonies of twenty Holocaust survivors who were hidden children in France between 1940 and 1942 to investigate to what extent the experience of outsider status and trauma affected these children’s personal and religious identity formation. The analysis finds that the experience of forced familial separation and trauma had adverse effects on survivors’ formation of a personal identity and affiliation links and had other unexpected consequences in their lives. This thesis integrates scholarship about Vichy France and its persecution of Jews with modern literature about identity, racialization, and immigration in France. Finally, this thesis uses the historical analysis and modern scholarship to provide insight into the experience of contemporary refugee children in France and the world.
Watson, Michaela Maria Gouge, ""We Missed Our Youth": The Identity Formation of Child Migrants, Refugees, and Jewish Children in France From 1940 to 1942" (2020). Honors Theses. 1574.