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Hidden Children of the Holocaust$
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Suzanne Vromen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181289.001.0001

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 The Children

 The Children

(p.9) 1 The Children
Hidden Children of the Holocaust

Suzanne Vromen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The chapter is based on interviews with formerly hidden children and is illustrated by numerous quotes. It describes various responses to the wearing of the yellow star and the desperate search for hiding places that follows the sudden and brutal roundups of the Jewish population in the summer of 1942. Life in the convents in which the children are hidden is detailed through the reactions of the children to prayers, baptism, confession, and communion. These reactions vary greatly from resistance to acceptance; remnants of Judaism persist for some. New attitudes to the body considered as shameful are learned, and lice fought, hunger endured, native language and identity concealed. Relationships with priests and nuns range from caring, tender, and maternal to cruel and punishing. In the aftermath of the liberation, the impact of Catholic institutions varies; many hidden children return to their Jewish identity and a few remain converted. The children face great difficulties due to the ravages in their families, and gender differences in opportunities offered to orphans are resented to this day.

Keywords:   yellow star, hiding places, prayers, baptism, confession, communion, lice, hunger, identity, language, relationships with priests and nuns, gender differences, converted, maternal

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