Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Some Vignettes of Jewish Children’s Lives in Early Postwar Poland

October 18, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm America/Toronto Timezone
764 Kaneff Tower
Dr. Joanna B. Michlic

In this talk, Dr. Joanna B. Michlic examines the situation of Jewish child survivors in Poland in the early postwar period. She argues that each of the young survivors had his own or her own special life story that consisted of a unique universe of experiences, interactions, reactions, and beliefs. Yet at the same time, certain patterns in the children’s relations with the adult world in the early postwar period can be delineated, allowing us to conceptualize the macro-history of Jewish child survivors in that period. Starting life anew was a turbulent process, filled with enthusiasm, naiveté, trust, and hope on the one hand, and with fear, uncertainty, and emotional upheaval on the other. Child survivors’ accounts attest to the great vulnerability of children in the adult world not only during the war-time era, but also during the early post-war period. Joanna Beata Michlic is a social and cultural historian, and founder of HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust at Brandeis University. She is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL Centre for the Study of Collective Violence, the Holocaust and Genocide, UCL Institute for Advances Studies, and an Honorary Senior Associate at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) in London.