Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Willa Johnson

Second Advisor

William Schenck

Third Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Relational Format



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.



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