How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives
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Drawing on testimonies, memoirs, and personal interviews of Holocaust survivors, Françoise S. Ouzan reveals how the experience of Nazi persecution impacted their personal reconstruction, rehabilitation, and reintegration into a free society. She sheds light on the life trajectories of various groups of Jews, including displaced persons, partisan fighters, hidden children, and refugees from Nazism. Ouzan shows that personal success is not only a unifying factor among these survivors but is part of an ethos that unified ideas of homeland, social justice, togetherness, and individual aspirations in the redemptive experience. Exploring how Holocaust survivors rebuilt their lives after World War II, Ouzan tells the story of how they coped with adversity and psychic trauma to contribute to the culture and society of their country of residence.

Archives and Abbreviations
Introduction: Humiliation and Life Reborn
1. From Victims to Survivors and Social Actors
2. Struggling to Rebuild in France: Concentration Camp Survivors
3. High Achievers among "Hidden Children" in France
4. Death Camp Survivors and Partisan Fighters in America
5. Visibility of Hidden Children and Refugees in America
6. "To Build and to be Built" in Israel
7. Israel, Jewish Identity, and the Diaspora
8. International Impact of Survivors and Universal Issues
9. An Unbroken Chain?



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Date de parution 24 avril 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253033994
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Editor
Indiana University Press
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
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1320 East 10th Street
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Publications of the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center
Book 193

The preparation and publication of this volume has been made possible by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and by a grant from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.
2018 by Fran oise S. Ouzan
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Ouzan, Fran oise, author.
Title: How young Holocaust survivors rebuilt their lives : France, the United States, and Israel / Francoise S. Ouzan.
Description: Bloomington, Indiana : Indiana University Press, [2018] | Series: Publications of the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center ; Book 193 | Series: Studies in antisemitism | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018000245 (print) | LCCN 2017060875 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253034557 (e-book) | ISBN 9780253033130 (hardback : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780253033956 (pbk. : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Jewish children in the Holocaust-Interviews. | Holocaust survivors-Rehabilitation-France. | Holocaust survivors-Rehabilitation-United States. | Holocaust survivors-Rehabilitation-Israel. | Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)-Influence. | Jews-History-1945-
Classification: LCC D804.48 (print) | LCC D804.48 .O99 2018 (ebook) | DDC 940.53/180922-dc23
LC record available at
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To those who lived to rebuild their lives, and to all of those who did not.
In loving memory of my parents .
Archives and Abbreviations
Introduction: Rising from the Abyss of Humiliation
1 From Victims to Social Actors
2 France: The Struggle to Rebuild after Captivity
3 Hidden Children Strive to Achieve in France
4 United States: Survivors Begin Again
5 A New Life for Hidden Children and Refugees in America
6 Israel: To Build and to Be Built
7 Jewish Identity, Israel, and the Diaspora
8 Unexpected International Impact of Survivors
9 An Unbroken Chain?
Works Cited
I T IS MY pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness to the many people who have aided my research for this book. I wish to thank the survivors, women and men, who generously shared their time and experiences with me. I want to make special mention of the fact that while I could not use all their testimonies for lack of space in this volume, I greatly profited from the insights provided by their narratives.
Researchers or authors often acknowledge a mentor who inspired them along their path. I am fortunate to have been guided by many, and the few handwritten letters I received from Elie Wiesel were golden pebbles that brightened my route. I also cherish the memory of an inspiring conversation with Simone Veil when she came to Jerusalem in June 2008. Samuel Pisar always made himself available to answer my endless questions, over the phone or in his home in Paris. After he passed away, his wife Judith and daughter Leah extended the same generosity. Numerous interviews with my friend Paula Neuman Gris, whom I met in Atlanta in the 1990s, led me to better understand the postwar experience of refugees and their daily humiliations.
The former Buchenwald boys, whom I traced in France and in Israel with the help of Judith Hemmendinger, who had directed one of the Oeuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE; Children s Relief Agency) homes in France, patiently illuminated for me various facets of their life experiences and challenges both before and after the war.
The embryo of this book originated as far back as 1993 when, at the Sorbonne in Paris, I defended my doctoral dissertation on the immigration of displaced persons (DPs) to the United States during the Truman presidency. The inquisitive professors on the committee all have a share in this present work. Historian Yosef Gorny of Tel Aviv University, a survivor from Poland who came to Israel as a young adolescent, went a step further and let me benefit from his knowledge. This book would not exist without the multifaceted portraits of the Shoah survivors who trusted me, risking again the resurgence of traumatic memories. They all believed that the mission of transmission to future generations-to which they were deeply committed-was worth the risk. I learned much from their staunch optimism, humor, and warmth.
In 2002, I was glad to find a nurturing environment at the Centre de Recherche Fran ais de J rusalem (CRFJ, MAEE), a branch of the CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research. I take this opportunity to thank the University of Reims Champagne-Ardennes, where I was an associate professor before becoming a full-time researcher. Dominique Bourel, who welcomed me at the French Research Center in Jerusalem, did not miss a chance to direct me to any survivor he had met. The support of the CRFJ staff cannot be overstated. To name but a few: Florence Heymann, Eva Telkes-Klein, and Lyse Baer, who dealt with the red tape of each international conference on survivors or postwar migration that we organized together.
I later found another home in the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University, where I was first welcomed by its former head, Jeremy Cohen (who was the first to believe in my research), followed by its current director, Simha Goldin, himself a son of Holocaust survivors, and all the staff; Ora Azta, who dealt with all types of bureaucracy; Sara Appel, who supported me with her editorial guidance; and my colleagues and friends Lylya Belenkaya, Yoram Erder, Robert Rockaway, Dror Segev, Naomi Feuchtwanger-Sarig, Aviva Rosenthal, Galit Haddad, Aviva Mezrahi, Maya Guez, Anat Shimoni, Netta Ziv-Av, Adi Moscovitz, and Ruthi Vygodski, who all surrounded me with cheerful support. This also applies to Sofia Tels-Abramov, the helpful director of the Mehlmann library and archives. Dina Porat, the chief historian of Yad Vashem, was instrumental in encouraging me along the way, together with Dalia Ofer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Hanna Yablonka at Ben-Gurion University. I am also grateful to Dan Michman, Jonathan Sarna, and Atina Grossmann for expressing their immediate enthusiasm about the importance of the book and to David Weinberg, Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Sergio DellaPergola, Andr Kaspi, Manfred Gerstenfeld, and Benjamin Balint for providing encouragement. As I completed this volume, my friend Dalia Rosenfeld kept my spirits high with her wry sense of humor, as she had just published her own book. In Paris, friendly conversations with my colleagues Annette Wieviorka and Anny Dayan Rosenman resulted in more inspiring (although barely legible) notes on my manuscript.
I was fortunate to receive fellowships at different stages of my research, starting with a grant at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri for my research on DPs, followed by the generous support of the Fondation pour la M moire de la Shoah (FMS) in Paris; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (MFJC); and, last but not least, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany. The Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University supported my work both in spirit and substance.
A book that draws largely on oral history and memoirs also requires archives. Archivists at the Center for Jewish History, the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC), the Central Zionist Archives and KKL archives in Jerusalem, the Institute of Oral History at the Hebrew University, and Yad Vashem guided me through the vast mazes of archival material. Heartfelt thanks are also extended to Shlomo Balsam, director of Aloumim, an organization of former hidden children based in Jerusalem, to Katy Hazan for showing me important OSE archives, to Annie Hier for providing me with precious documentary films from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and to Peggy Frankston from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington for being so helpful.
During my stay at the Center for Jewish History in New York, Hasia Diner alerted me to forthcoming books and shared her ideas; David Engel suggested useful leads; and William Helmreich helped me locate important materials. In Jerusalem, I benefited from Simon Epstein s wisdom, which sharpened my research, and from the suggestions of Nelly Las and Margalit Getraida. When I thought I was done, David Geffen kindly introduced me to his cousins Bert Lewyn, in Atlanta, and Professor Dov Levin in Jerusalem, both survivors.
Without Alvin Rosenfeld s judicious comments, insightful feedback on draft chapters, and accurate editorial pen, this book would not have been as rich as it is. He saw it through many revisions. I also thank my editor Dee Mortensen at Indiana University Press for her confidence in this book, Paige Rasmussen, David Miller, and Dave Hulsey for their cheerful help, as well as all the team for their efficient work, including Inigo Nancy.
I owe a special debt to my copy editor Yohai Goell for his insights on countless drafts and to Shirley Zauer, who also edited the manuscript. This assistance notwithstanding, any flaws that may remain in the final version of How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives are my own. Finally, my gratitude goes to Elisha, Raphael, Athena, Moshe, Eva, Tom, Aaron, Odelia, and Emmanuel, who endured years of my preoccupation with the Nazis genocidal crimes against the Jews and their consequences. I dedicate this book to them as I owe everything to their love.
France AIU Alliance isra lite universelle, Paris (Universal Israelite Alliance) CDJC Centre de documentation juive contemporaine, Paris
United States AJHS American Jewish Historical Society, CJH CJH Center for Jewish History, New York HSTL Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri UN United Nations Archives, New York USHMMA United States Holocaust Memorial, Museum and Archive YIVO YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, CJH
Israel CZA Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem HAG Haganah Archives, Tel Aviv JDC American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Jerusalem KKL, JNF Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, Jewish National Fund, Jerusalem OHD Oral History Division, Hebrew University of Jerusalem YV Yad Vashem Archive
Organizations ADL Anti-Defamation League of B nai B rith AFSC American Friends Service Committee CCDP Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons CIC Central Intelligence Corps (US Army) CRIF Conseil Repr sentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) DPC Displaced Persons Commission EIF Eclaireurs isra lites de France (The Jewish Scouts of France) HIAS Hebrew Sheltering and Immigration Society HICEM HIAS + JCA + Emigdirect (German) IAI Israel Aircraft Industries IRO International Refugee Organization JCA Jewish Colonization Association (British) JDC American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee ( The Joint ) JPFA Jewish Poultry Farmers Association MJS Mouvement de la jeunesse sioniste (Zionist Youth Movement) NCJW National Council for Jewish Women NRS National Refugee Service NYANA New York Association for New Americans OPEJ Oeuvre de Protection des Enfants Juifs (Program for the Protection of Jewish children) ORT Organization for Rehabilitation and Training ORTF French National Radio and Television Organization OSE Oeuvre de secours aux enfants (Children s Relief Agency) SHAEF Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces UGIF Union G n rale des Isra lites de France (General Union of Israelites in France) UJA United Jewish Appeal UJRE Union des Juifs pour la r sistance et l entraide (Union of Jews for Resistance and Mutual Aid) UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNRRA United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration USNA United Service for New Americans WIZO Women s International Zionist Organization WRB War Refugee Board
At most, it can be objected that exile is perhaps not an incurable disease, since one can make a home of foreign countries by a long life in them; that is called finding a new home. And it is correct inasmuch as slowly, slowly one learns to decipher the signs.
-Jean Am ry, At the Mind s Limits , 47
S PRING 1945-SIX YEARS of war had come to an end, leaving open wounds and shattered lives. The Nazi regime had been defeated, while throughout Europe, the disoriented Jewish survivors yearned to live normal lives. From where would they draw the strength to restore their own self-identity and dignity? How could the younger ones begin new lives while alone in the world? Where would they live when their houses had been destroyed or ransacked or when the local population was reluctant to give them back their former homes? What were their motivations for postwar emigration? What steps did they take toward integration into a new environment? Furthermore, how did the Holocaust impact their process of integration into their host countries? 1
This volume addresses major issues in the history of the Jews in the twentieth century: how survivors resettled in various parts of the world and often contributed to the development of the cultures of their countries of residence, and in some cases, of their Jewish communities. While much material can be found concerning what survivors endured in Europe during the war years, relatively little has been written about their experiences as returnees or immigrants after World War II, and even less about their reshaped identities. The subject of this book is, therefore, fairly new in the historiography of the Holocaust. It contributes to the recent field of research on Jewish life in the aftermath of World War II and to the changing conception of Holocaust survivor, which has not only evolved but also broadened over time. 2 This study unveils the tortuous life trajectories of various groups: displaced persons (Jewish inmates of postwar camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy, and those who lived outside these camps but were treated as displaced persons [DPs] by the Allies), partisan fighters, hidden children, or Jewish refugees who fled their native countries ruled by the Nazis, and those who remained hidden in France under assumed identities. Such an approach is called for to address and understand the complex issues of statelessness, rehabilitation, and resettlement after the Nazi genocide of the Jews. An emphasis on the voice of individuals adds a human dimension necessary to grasp both the mechanisms for coping with adversity and the long-term impact of the Holocaust on the new lives they rebuilt in three distinct contexts.
The insights from this multidisciplinary and comparative research emerge from some twenty-five years of ongoing conversations and collaboration with survivors that extended the bounds of my understanding, rather than from one-time testimonies.
Though multifaceted and complex, the historical context needs to be described as simply as possible. In the summer of 1945, there remained about one million DPs who refused repatriation and who languished in the DP camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. 3 The Allies considered them hard core, since they encountered difficulties in handling these refugees. Most of them feared going back to countries under communist rule. It is estimated that Jews constituted 20 to 25 percent of the remaining one million DPs. Accurate statistics are impossible to provide. The most plausible figure of Jewish survivors in 1945 (some of whom were not DPs) is around 200,000 according to leading Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer. 4 However, estimations varied between 100,000 and 300,000 Jewish survivors, as many died in the months following the liberation of the concentration camps. In a panic exodus, other groups of Jews fleeing postwar pogroms in eastern Europe entered already-crowded assembly centers in the occupied zones of Germany, Austria, and Italy. There, some survivors were transients while others stayed for years, waiting for visas. 5 When attempting to understand what motivated their emigration, three elements must be kept in mind: the postwar, often murderous antisemitism, the survivors determination not to return to countries under communist rule, and their repudiation of Europe, where their families had been exterminated. These were all push factors in their decision to emigrate. It is generally estimated that two-thirds of the survivors went to Palestine/Israel, concentration camp survivors being the first to leave, followed later by wartime refugees in the Soviet Union. One-third of the survivors went elsewhere, most of them to the United States.
In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, three main groups of surviving Jews emerged, though not distinctively in the eyes of the Allied authorities charged with the difficult task of caring for them, after having been responsible for their repatriation. The first group comprised survivors of concentration camps and labor camps, who had often participated in the death marches and had been liberated in Germany. Most of those who returned to their native towns discovered that their families had been decimated and that anti-Jewish violence persisted. 6 After the Kielce pogrom in Poland, on July 4, 1946, when seventy-five concentration camp survivors were beaten and forty-one massacred in the most barbaric way, more than 10,000 Jews fled the numerous pogroms in Poland to enter the overcrowded DP camps in the western zones of Germany. The process of dehumanization they had experienced during the war did not end with the liberation. In the DP camps, they again felt humiliated when they were contemptuously labeled infiltrees by the military and members of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. 7 As refugees who had infiltrated after having already been repatriated, they were isolated while living under worse conditions.
The partisans, the Jews in hiding, or those who had assumed an Aryan identity formed the second group. However, each group was not a tightly closed one in the war s aftermath. The third group was the largest, composed of approximately 170,000 Jews who had fled to the Soviet Union during the war and were repatriated to Poland, only to find that they had to flee again, this time to DP camps in Germany because of the postwar pogroms and overt antisemitism. Although these wartime refugees have since been recognized as survivors, they had not been under direct Nazi domination.
The narrative lens has long been used in the social sciences, especially in anthropology, as a means to link the personal to the cultural and as a tool to explore social relations and cultural meanings. 8 As an analytical tool, life history is therefore useful in understanding the various processes and strategies employed by these social actors to make sense of their experience after the genocide of the Jews. Such an approach also requires an act of interpretation when, for instance, narrative analysis turns out to be an important tool for uncovering meaning that is not explicit in historical data.
Besides their historical, social, and psychological interest, the life stories chosen in this study raise crucial existential questions that reflect those aptly formulated by Hannah Arendt after she experienced the life of a pariah as an inmate of the infamous French internment camp of Gurs. Later, she faced the challenge of starting from scratch in America. From her knowledge of the history of the Jewish people, she understood the possibility for Jews to exist as a minority. That is what led to her affection for the United States, which, unlike France and Israel, is not a nation-state. From her American experience, too, emerges her paradoxical relationship with Zionism, which she criticized but nevertheless understood as a Jewish individual response to antisemitism. A number of survivors who participated in this project admitted that their Holocaust experiences helped guide their major decisions. In France, they adapted their individual Jewish identity to the requirements of the nation-state and often valued the secular ideals inherited from the Third Republic that helped them recover a normal life. Republican ideals meant that everything could be granted to Jews as long as they ceased to identify as Jews in the public sphere. In America, a country permeated by an atmosphere of religiosity and where ethnicity flourished from the 1960s onward, the commitment to one s Jewish identity, whether religious or secular, was not contradictory to the American ethos. The young state of Israel embodied hope in the context of the disappearance of lost Yiddish worlds alongside the repudiation of a blood-soaked Europe. In Israel, the problem of the statelessness of uprooted Jews would be solved. For the survivors interviewed, it was the last stop of Jewish identity, whether secular or religious.
The processes of rehabilitation are examined from immediately after the end of World War II, in some cases even beginning in the DP camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Some narratives highlight the often understated actions of the Jewish resistance in Europe and of the OSE networks working together with the Quakers (American Friends Service Committee) to facilitate immigration of children to the United States. A long-established organization, the OSE was founded in 1912 by Jewish doctors in St. Petersburg to ensure the health of needy Jews. Its French branch was created in 1933. As the most important Jewish child welfare organization it rescued European refugee children during the war by hiding them in foster homes, and in the aftermath it housed some 2,000 Jewish children in some twenty-five children s homes. They were mostly funded by the American Jewish Distribution Committee, also known as the Joint -the major Jewish relief organization engaged in the reconstruction of Jewish communities. For OSE educators, Jewish collective living was perceived as a remedy for wartime uprooting and for life in hiding in Catholic foster homes or convents. 9 The Buchenwald children, whose life stories are considered in this study, resettled in France, the United States, and Israel. Their road paths demonstrate the necessity of a surrogate family, offered by communal life in the OSE homes. A recovered sense of belonging was crucial for their return to normal life.
For other survivors, transition to normal life was facilitated by their stay in the DP camps, if the prolonged internment was not too lengthy. 10 Some DPs felt and expressed a clear division between German civilians outside the camp and the Jewish postwar refugees. This holds true for Bert Lewyn, a former slave laborer for the Nazi Reich at the age of eighteen and a native of Berlin, who remained in the Feldafing DP camp in Bavaria for four years, living among the murderers and still feeling humiliated and demoralized. His case exemplifies both the absorption into a new postwar reality in DP camps and, later, adjustment in a country of immigration-the United States: I did not feel comfortable in the Feldafing DP camp. We were still in enemy territory and the Germans would still take any opportunity to show displeasure and disdain for the Jews. 11
However, recent research focusing on the social interactions between Jews and German civilians shows that the reality was more complex, as the former enemies were present in everyday life both inside and outside the camps. 12 An examination, through personal narratives, of both the transitory state of the immediate postwar period and the refugees assembly centers, is necessary to emphasize the fact that DPs were not the apathetic people described in early reports and newspaper articles.
For survivors whose physical or mental health impaired a quick return to normalcy, DP camps-also called assembly centers-were often conceived as a waiting room for emigration. Yet, psychologists emphasize that it was a necessary transition since, for instance, nearly everyone spoke Yiddish in the Feldafing camp, and Lewyn had to learn the language. 13 Though he did not specifically mention it, this created a beneficial link with the Jewish culture the Nazis strove to extinguish. He finally immigrated to America, where he became a successful entrepreneur, even though he had seriously considered resettlement in Palestine. 14
For this study, I attempted to provide a broad cross section of life stories reflecting major historical events and representative experiences of survivors. Most of them were either prominent or vocal in high schools or in the public sphere at large, although classifications sometimes overlap. Current political or societal circumstances provided them with the opportunity to react to various events in the media, revealing something previously untold about the meaning of their experience. This is the case with Boris Cyrulnik, who was invited to speak on a French TV channel on January 10, 2015 in the wake of two bloody terrorist attacks: one at the offices of the French journal Charlie Hebdo , resulting in the deaths of twelve people, and the other at a kosher Parisian grocery shop, which led to the deaths of four Jewish hostages. While comparing Nazi and Islamist totalitarianism, Cyrulnik interjected that he had become a psychiatrist in order to understand and explain Nazism. In similar fashion, Serge Klarsfeld publicly stated that all his life was devoted to hunting down Nazis; that is why his best weapons were his skills as a lawyer and a historian. In this light, his life story and achievements may also be read as a redemptive social narrative.
By becoming a renowned international lawyer, Samuel Pisar had a political impact on the migration of Russian Jews and a social impact on commemorations of Holocaust survivors at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where he was an honorary ambassador. Seemingly contradictory statements occurred in our interviews conducted over the years. To point to but one example, Pisar first insisted that his achievements were largely attributable to the education he received at Harvard. In 2014, during the course of a later interview, he stated, echoing Primo Levi, Auschwitz was my university, thus pointing to a redemptive social narrative apt to alleviate psychic trauma. He was trying to imply that extreme trauma had been a launching pad for him. When I insisted that he would have been a successful professional anyway, he replied that I was mistaken on that point. Similarly, psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik stressed the fact that his resilient process had greatly helped him make something useful out of his wound and become a respected scientist.
A few themes have been developed in the course of in-depth interviews. Among them, the (subjective or objective) impact of the Holocaust on professional choices, the role of the spouse in the adaptation or readaptation process, or the centrality of family life have emerged as crucial. Emotions, which account for a number of actions and decisions, are more difficult to fathom.
Humiliation is a central issue that helped to fill in the missing parts of some of the survivors narratives. In the former French minister Simone Veil s writings, it is a theme approached with modesty. Her resilient strategies and optimism transformed the frustration created by humiliation into hard work and determination to succeed as a social response. As a former undesirable Jewess in the French social landscape (as with all Jews who were deported from France), Simone Veil needed strong determination not to succumb to despair and feel bitterness toward a society that not only rejected her but also proved it could function without the Jews. Twice as much energy was then required for a woman to succeed in the political arena in the immediate postwar period. The identities of both the woman and the pariah mingled to transform the feeling of humiliation into an emotion assuming the role of a springboard from which to achieve successful integration. With a long history of persecution, Judaism considers the act of humiliating someone as a crime, and is sensitive to how painful an experience of humiliation can be. In that perspective, new historical research on World War II and its aftermath brings to light the fact that a theory of emotions related to the Holocaust as a life-changing tragedy is called for. 15
Since humiliation led to a loss of dignity, recovering from it may be turned into a lifetime endeavor, depending on the extent of the outrage, the age at which it occurred, and the sensitivity to such a loss of dignity. In that context, it is worthwhile to quote Auschwitz survivor, Primo Levi: In order to live, an identity-that is dignity-is necessary. . . . Whoever loses one, also loses the other. 16
From that perspective, dignity and identity are interchangeable. Redressing the loss of identity that occurred during the Holocaust-when men, women, and children were considered either numbers or nonentities or bore assumed identities-implied an individual dynamic related to the requirements of a certain social environment and a specific country.
Among Jewish intellectuals in France, the tension between the particular character of the various types of Jewish identities and the universality of their aspirations led them to play down its display in the open to meet the requirements of secularity in the public sphere. This is notably the case of Simone Veil, philosopher Andr Glucksman, historian and lawyer Serge Klarsfeld, psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, and writer Georges Perec. For the latter, Jewishness was expressed in the context of Ellis Island, on American territory, along with the central concepts of exile and Diaspora. The noted author managed to turn a deep wound into literary achievements, thus finding his place in the French cultural landscape from which his parents had been rejected as undesirable Jewish foreigners. His recorded interviews on a French radio station shortly before his untimely death also testify to the redemptive character of his social narrative.
The young survivors whose narratives I have examined are often the children of foreign parents who struggled to be integrated into a new homeland. In other instances, they were postwar migrants whose strategies of integration were no different from those of other groups in that same period. Such was the case in Israel. 17 Several of them did so as historians, professors, sculptors, businessmen, medical doctors (surgeons and psychoanalysts, in particular), writers, politicians, and eminent international lawyers.
For this study, I conducted thirteen in-depth personal interviews in France, ten in the United States-where existing oral archives are considerable-and fourteen interviews in Israel-where survivors are the most numerous-who formed about 70 percent of the immigrants during the first years of the Jewish state. 18 When possible, these narratives have been cross-referenced with published documents and archives. Noteworthy is the case of ten former Buchenwald boys who immigrated to these three countries. I interviewed five of them in Paris and two in Israel, while Elie Wiesel-with whom I corresponded-left vivid published memoirs, as did the brothers Naphtali and Israel Meir Lau, who became prominent public figures. 19
Social psychologists and mental health professionals often marvel at the high rate of success in this cohort, despite many documented cases of failure. 20 The immigration of survivors to the United States turned out to be an unexpected blood transfusion for American Jewish communities. It reinvigorated Jewish culture and had an impact on Orthodox Judaism in particular. 21 The DP problem and the immigration of young refugees to the land they called Eretz Israel were instrumental in the emergence of the State of Israel in May 1948.
In the aftermath of World War II, social workers were deeply concerned by the lost identities of children. 22 A number of relief organizations, Jewish ones such as the Joint, the OSE, and the National Council for Jewish Women (NCJW), and non-Jewish ones such as the American Friends Service Committee, were confronted by that crucial issue. 23 The primary objective was the return to normality. In France, numerous writings about the 1953 Finaly Affair, a sensational custody battle in France, reflected a postwar preoccupation with the fate of hidden Jewish children who had been secretly baptized. Our interviews with pediatric surgeon, Robert Finaly, who resettled in Israel, illustrate one facet of this question: is it possible to completely erase a previous identity? 24
Other cases of postwar achievements shed light on integration and cultural impact on more than one country, as is the case with Israeli and Polish-born sculptor, Shelomo Selinger, who has been living in France since 1956. Despite all that he endured in the concentration camps, he chose to fight for the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, as did former Buchenwald boy, Lolek (Elie) Buzyn, who became a surgeon, and Jo Wajsblat, a tailor and successful businessman, who was scheduled to die at age sixteen in an Auschwitz gas chamber. Although they all eventually resettled in France, Israel remains an inseparable part of their secular Jewish identities and turned out to be the home in which their hearts dwell.
The war experiences of Jews detained in concentration camps were very different from those who spent these years in hiding. For a long time, hidden children did not consider themselves survivors and some of them still do not give priority to such an identity. The professional success of the famous French singer R gine is obvious, despite the difficulties she had to overcome. Presenting herself as the First Disc Jockey and retaining first-name-only status was a somewhat unbelievable feat for a Jewish child formerly hidden in a convent. 25
Various aspects of the cultural and scientific impact of survivors can be seen in the personal histories of neuropsychiatrist, Boris Cyrulnik, whose Jewish identity is secular, and that of Serge Klarsfeld, whose professional choices have been clearly influenced by the genocide of the Jews. In contrast to them, pediatrician and psychoanalyst Ida Akerman s narrative depicts a religious woman who made an impact on the French medical milieu and on tormented Jewish souls in postwar France. Her unconditional faith and attachment to the Jewish people triggered her immigration to Israel in 1990. 26
The children and young adults who had nowhere to return to stayed in DP camps with the legal status of DPs awaiting resettlement. For them rehabilitation began behind barbed wire in the assembly centers established by the Allied military authorities and run by teams of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the International Refugee Organization. In the immediate postwar period, inmates often felt that they were liberated but not free, as exemplified by the Harrison Report about the Jewish Displaced Persons plight, and confirmed by the narrative of Bert Lewyn, who spent four years in the DP camp of Feldafing. 27 The encounters of teenagers and young adults with soldiers of the Jewish Brigade often instilled in them a sense of national pride and identification. The sight of a soldier with a Star of David insignia on his sleeve not only replaced the memory of the yellow star of shame worn by European Jews, but also created a warm contact between the survivors and the Palestinian Jewish volunteers from the yishuv (the organized Jewish community in Palestine) who had joined the Jewish Brigade of the British Army. Once again, the Magen David became a symbol of its literal meaning: the shield of David.
A few surviving young partisans (such as Miles Lerman, who later immigrated to America), ghetto fighters, and those who had escaped to the forests, wanted to return to their Eastern European countries in search of their relatives and friends. There, they were often confronted with active postwar antisemitism. Indeed, during the war it had been common to kill Jews or persecute them, and such violent treatment did not cease overnight with the end of hostilities. The flight of Polish survivors after the Kielce pogrom in July 1946-which had begun spontaneously-evolved into a mass exodus organized and led by young Jews who had survived the Holocaust. The Brichah underground movement aimed at bringing the survivors to Palestine, directing a flow to the Jewish homeland that they had not initiated, as the movement was conditioned by anti-Semitism and economic deprivation, by the mass murders that preceded it and their political and psychological consequences, as described by Yehuda Bauer. 28
After liberation day, the gates of the United States, Canada, and other Western countries remained either half-open or closed. The Truman Directive (December 22, 1945) had a limited impact on the immigration of Jewish orphans, though it gave priority to those who had suffered most. Together with the 1948 Displaced Persons Act, amended in 1950, these pieces of legislation enabled the immigration of about 140,000 Jews to the United States, giving priority to orphans and non-accompanied children as well as to refugees engaged in agricultural pursuits, indirectly discriminating against Jews as the Jewish population was known to be mostly urban. 29
In the United States, the fear of communists among European Jews reinforced isolationist attitudes among the population and within Congress. As a consequence, clandestine immigration to Palestine resumed in 1944. According to polls conducted in DP camps, the majority of survivors there sought to join the Jewish community in Palestine, motivated either by Zionism or instinctive Zionism. 30 Through the immigration network established under the leadership of the Mossad le-Aliyah Bet and availing themselves of the Brichah underground network, they left the DP camps and other places in eastern Europe to assemble in gathering points in port cities in Italy, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece. There, they boarded overcrowded old cargo ships.
A third organization, the Haganah, operating through the Palyam-the maritime unit of its Palmah commando forces-was responsible for escorting the ships and disembarking the immigrants on the shores of Palestine. But the survivors ordeal was by no means over, as they were intercepted by the British forces, which brought them to detention camps in Atlit and Cyprus.
The problems this book sets out to solve include the following: first, it provides answers to the enigma of the paradoxical success (professional and/or personal success) of Jewish children and young adults who were doomed to suffer socially and psychologically because of their fate during World War II. From this perspective the study examines the factors that contribute to success in various fields. Second, it challenges our understanding of postwar rehabilitation and lasting trauma, while throwing light on the transnational aspects of the lives survivors rebuilt. Third, it reveals the contributions they brought (in almost every field) into the countries in which they settled or resettled. In so doing, this comparative study seeks to clarify the physical, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of success in three distinct contexts. Whether it is an unintended side-effect of one s dedication to a cause greater than oneself, to borrow Viktor Frankl s words, or the result of a single-minded effort to achieve one s goals, as Samuel Pisar suggests, success remains a key concept in societies in which material success tends to overshadow other existential needs. 31 Emphasizing the impact of humiliation, Boris Cyrulnik contends that social success is the mask of shame. 32 However, happiness shares a common denominator with success. This approach adds to our understanding of values such as the pursuit of happiness, one of the inalienable rights in the United States Declaration of Independence. Perhaps the most significant line of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah (Hope), reads Lihyot am hofshi be-artzenu (to be a free people in our land), a sentence that plays a similar role in the minds of French people whose revolutionary stance lies in Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. These are the main tenets of the collective ethos or philosophy of these three nations. While the notion of freedom is shared by the three cultures, the Israeli ethos emphasizes the link to the physical element of the ancestral homeland, the French ethos stresses the importance of social justice and togetherness, and the American ethos epitomizes individual aspirations and satisfaction. 33 In the three countries that contain the largest Jewish populations today, I explore how these cultural parameters impact the survivors new lives.
A Note on Method and Organization
My methodology includes several complementary disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology. In the eyes of Marc Bloch, the historian s art lies in revealing the complexity of the individual human experience. On the one hand, the pathbreaking French historian (tortured and murdered by the Gestapo in 1944) claimed that for a testimony to be considered authentic it has to offer some form of similarity with other testimonies of the same type. On the other hand, such a statement would deny the concept of uniqueness or individual identity. As a consequence, beyond the diverging testimonies, the historian may be led to find the necessary points of resemblance. 34 While most of the case studies present the course followed by young Holocaust survivors who reconstructed their lives following the war, a few narratives of former refugee children have been included to emphasize the multifaceted role of the OSE.

To what extent did these forced migrants redress their loss of social or personal identity? In the early 1990s, Wolfgang Jacobmeyer deplored the fact that most studies conducted by international refugee organizations gave too little attention to the fact that refugees are not legal cases or groups but individuals, and that history is made of human lives. 35
From that perspective, this book offers qualitative research by focusing on some forty in-depth narratives of former child-survivors who took root in three different countries, while more than 250 testimonies have been closely examined and serve as references. Focusing on the survivors return to everyday life and on their new-found identities, this study is an inquiry into the adaptive nature of any migrant and, more generally, any human being.
I conducted the personal interviews in three languages: French, English, and Hebrew. All the translations are mine unless otherwise noted. In a number of cases, the interviews add information to an autobiographical essay by the interviewee, while archival and historical material challenge these linear narratives. For broader perspective and comparison, I made abundant use of several archives: the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Yad Vashem Oral Archives; the Visual Shoah Foundation Archives; the Spielberg Film Archives of the Hebrew University; the Oral History Archive at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University; archives of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine and the OSE (both in Paris); archives of the Oral History Division of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University; the Central Zionist Archives; those of the Ghetto Fighters House; the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv; the Mehlmann Library at Tel Aviv University; as well as those of the Center for Jewish History in New York, especially the files of the NCJW, among others. More often than not, the remarkable stories of rehabilitation they contain reveal a dynamic parallel to that of the emergence of the Jewish state, especially-but not exclusively-for those who have resettled in Israel.
In a number of interviews, the questions focus on the reaction of the interviewees to constitutive events: the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the German reparations in the 1950s, 36 the Eichmann Trial in 1961, the Six-Day War in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The participation of survivors in Israel s wars is analyzed to gauge the role of the army as a factor of integration. In relation to those living outside of Israel, I ask to what extent Israel s wars have been part of the Jewish identities of my respondents. These are only guidelines as I encourage my interviewees to tell their stories, before using my set of core questions.
In the countries in which they have resettled, these survivors have at least three elements in common: they were children or young adults when the war broke out; in its aftermath they achieved some form of professional and social success; and more often than not, they became vocal in the transmission of the memory of the Holocaust. 37

Through the wealth of life stories offered in this volume there emerges the complexity of postwar life trajectories involving multiple new beginnings that defy categorization and simplification. This approach reveals three types of redemptive narratives that help survivors cope with trauma and existential anxieties: the social narrative that highlights the occupational and social achievements of survivors, the ideological narrative representing the Land of Israel as a vital refuge for Jews faced with antisemitism, and the religious narrative expressing the debates between the defenders of faith and nonbelievers. Although the narratives of the survivors social, ideological, or religious achievements share common patterns with the life stories of other successful Jewish migrants, I argue throughout the book that the difference lies mainly in redemptive aspects, which make their experiences meaningful in their own eyes and in those of others.
Chapter 1 , which addresses conceptual and methodological concerns, contends that survivors have been perceived less as social actors than as victims of the Third Reich or as pawns in the Cold War. The life stories in chapters 2 and 3 , which focus on rehabilitation and successful integration in France, are part of a social narrative valuing the occupational and social achievements of survivors in an environment requiring assimilation. In chapters 4 and 5 , dealing with coping strategies and achievements in the American environment, such a redemptive narrative appears alongside a religious one, when survivors have kept their faith. This is the case because America is a country in which the expression of religiosity in the public sphere is not repressed. In chapters 6 and 7 , focusing on resettlement in Israel, the ideological narrative often prevails over the social one, sometimes overshadowing a major social impact of the survivors. In that context, the religious narrative conveys debates about faith after 1945, while the dialectics between the Diaspora and Israel emerge from the survivors choices. Chapter 8 bridges the three types of narratives, paying particular attention to the transnational social or cultural impact of survivors., The concepts of Diaspora and transnationalism appear as key concepts for understanding the postwar plight of survivors-and beyond their experience-and the Jewish condition which remains under existential threat today in some parts of the world. The final chapter offers the main conclusions of this comparative approach.
Collectively, the narratives presented in this book reflect Jewish efforts to respond to utter destruction. They reveal the voices of the unwanted and their determination to cling to humanity and rebuild the destroyed pillars of culture. This study therefore provides new insights that modify the perception of the Jewish survivor as an eternal victim, and emphasizes the various facets of someone who can defeat suffering-his own and others, as Elie Wiesel put it. 38 It consequently challenges our understanding of trauma and rehabilitation and highlights the underestimated social impact of survivors. Last but not least, this volume spurs hope in human abilities while encouraging a return to the past to find answers to some of the most universal and crucial human questions. Hopefully, it could, for instance, give birth to the adoption of measures in the domain of education, a crucial key to rehabilitation of traumatized groups, while emphasizing the need for supportive communities to provide a sense of belonging to migrants. Such an approach is all the more needed as the twenty-first century continues to be one of mass displacement, political upheavals, and uprooted populations in search of proper guidance.
Note: ( Note all translations into English are from the author unless otherwise mentioned .)
1. For the practical purposes of this study, the term Holocaust is considered equivalent to the Hebrew term Shoah (destruction, devastation, extinction).
2. DellaPergola, Jewish Shoah Survivors. To the best of my knowledge, to this day there has been no comparative or comprehensive study that encompasses the experiences of young Holocaust survivors in three countries while attempting to focus on their motivations for emigration.
3. In administrative memorandum No 39 of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters of Allied Expeditionary Forces), April 16, 1945, displaced persons are defined as civilians who are, by reasons of the war, outside the national boundaries of their countries, wishing to return home or find homes, but being unable to do so without assistance. Displaced Persons Operations, G5, box 5, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, KS.
4. Conversation with Yehuda Bauer, April 7, 2015, Yad Vashem Research Institute, Jerusalem.
5. Bauer, Jewish Survivors in DP Camps, 491. For a breakdown and a view on the complexity of the problem, see also idem, The DP Legacy.
6. On the Kielce pogrom and anti-Jewish violence in Poland, see Engel, Anti-Jewish Violence. See also Gross, Fear .
7. Dinnerstein, America and the Survivors , 111-12.
8. Keramida, Way to the Homeland, 75.
9. Zahra, Lost Children , 98-99. On the OSE, see Zeitoun, L Oeuvre de secours (Paris: L Harmattan, 1990); Samuel, Sauver les enfants ; Hazan, Les Orphelins de la Shoah . On debates about collective versus familial solutions for Jewish youth, see Doron, Jewish Youth .
10. Mankowitz, Life , 131-60.
11. Lewyn and Lewyn, On the Run , 321.
12. Grossmann, Jews, Germans and Allies .
13. Lewyn and Lewyn, On the Run , 320.
14. In terms of the history of the Holocaust, testimonies and oral history significantly complement the historical narrative. Yet some scholars are reluctant to use oral history on the grounds that memory is often unreliable and that testimonies may be reconstructed. However, it is a matter of fact that past memories linked to trauma are often accurately remembered, even in old age.

15. This is a point of view shared by historian Atina Grossmann iterated in her lecture Gender as a Historical Category: New Research, Recovered Stories, and Shifting Questions about War and Holocaust, delivered at the annual Marianne and Ernst Pieper Symposium on Gender, War and Antisemitism conducted at Tel Aviv University on January 14, 2015.
16. Quoted by Rosenfeld, End of the Holocaust , 192.
17. Shmotkin, Blumstein, and Modan, Long-Term Effects.
18. Sicron, Immigration to Israel .
19. How were the survivors chosen for this research? Over the years, I interviewed some survivors I had met when I was doing research for my doctoral dissertation on the immigration of Jewish DPs to America under the Truman Administration. (See Ouzan, Ces Juifs .) Personal acquaintances and colleagues helped me locate those who set out on their postwar lives in France and Israel. Often, the survivors who had written memoirs were interviewed more in depth on account of their writings; most of the interviews have been recorded. All in all, more than two hundred in-depth testimonies have been examined in various oral documentation archives.
20. Cohen, Case Closed .
21. Waxman, Holocaust.
22. For social worker Judith Hemmendinger (who took care of Elie Wiesel in the OSE homes), the lost identities of children was an acute problem in the aftermath of the Holocaust; See Hemmendiger and Krell, Children of Buchenwald .
23. For a synthetic view of the historiography on the subject, see Gemie and Humbert, Writing History.
24. See also Friedl nder, When Memory Comes .
25. R gine, Appelle-moi .
26. Akerman-Tieder, Tell Your Children , 177.
27. Earl Harrison to President Harry S. Truman, August 1945, in David Niles Papers, Box 29, HSTL; Lewyn and Lewyn, On the Run .
28. Bauer, Flight and Rescue , 321.
29. DP Act, Public Laws, Chapter 647, June 25, 1948, OF 127, HSTL.
30. Mankowitz, Life , 72.
31. Frankl, Man s Search for Meaning , xiv-xv, preface to the 1992 edition, included in the 2006 edition; interview with Samuel Pisar, Paris, December 22, 2010. The following quote is significant: I needed success as if my life depended upon it.
32. Cyrulnik, Mourir , 37.
33. Demographer Sergio DellaPergola made that remark in his foreword to my book, Ouzan, Am ricains juifs , 7.
34. Bloch, Historian s Craft , 101-02. Bloch explains the reasons why there is no reliable witness in the absolute sense. (p. 101). For Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, survivors testimonies become extremely useful and reliable when cross-checked and borne out by many other testimonies. They are, I would argue, at least as reliable as a document of the time. Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust , 24.
35. Jacobmeyer, Displaced Persons, 286. From this perspective, I have made use of some of the 236 oral histories on deposit at the Yad Vashem archives in Jerusalem. They have been taped by survivors who attended the 1981 World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors held in Jerusalem.

36. This subject is not broached in each case study, since a number of survivors refused such financial compensation on the grounds that no money could ever atone for their suffering and the cruel deaths of entire families.
37. Survivors are sensitive to distortions of the memory of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. For provocative insights on the evolving representations of what is termed The Holocaust and the examination of the sources and cultural elements that influence our sense of the past, see Rosenfeld, End of the Holocaust .
38. Jewish Values, 291; quoted in Wieviorka, Era of the Witness , 103. On the complex experience of liberation, its challenges and its sorrows, see Stone, The Liberation , 216-19.
T HE ENORMITY OF the Nazi genocide of the Jews cannot be grasped without listening to the voices of the former young victims who suffered a series of psychological blows and faced constant fear during the war years. This study attempts to understand how a number of those who survived triumphed over adversity even though their families, culture, and religion were all annihilated. The individual stories I have chosen provide a wealth of information on the survivors rehabilitation and involvement in social, economic, and cultural activities. These narratives are classified by country of return (in the case of France) or of resettlement (the United States and Israel), and also, as much as possible, by the method of survival during the war. The main distinction lies in the fact that concentration camp survivors underwent a radical dehumanization, which other categories of survivors in hiding did not. However, they all faced various forms of harmful humiliation, which is enough to destroy self-confidence. As a consequence, the two main categories I examine in this volume may be distinguished in the following way: those who experienced proximity to death, and those who fled or were hidden without experiencing direct contact with death. Indeed, the genocidal process was not limited to deportation and internment in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Sobibor, and to concentration and labor camps. It also involved mobile killing units ( Einsatzgruppen ) operating in German-occupied territories in eastern Europe during World War II. 1
While the dates of birth of those who survived constitute an important element since reactions to trauma often vary according to age, classification according to age seemed less appropriate for this project. All in all, the postwar life stories demonstrate the extent to which young Holocaust survivors, as migrants, adopted some of the social, behavioral patterns of the Jews after their emancipation. This is strikingly clear in their need to excel to gain social acceptance and recognition. In Israel, they made a point of serving as soldiers in several wars, even if they were the last remnants of their decimated families. More than a thousand lost their lives in the 1948 War of Independence. In America, many volunteered to enlist in the Korean War, thus running counter to the negative stereotype of the Jew as one who evades military service. 2 The life story of Tibor Rubin showed that strategies of survival learned in the concentration camps saved the lives of American soldiers in Korea. It also enabled the exploration of the American army as a field of belonging and identification. Yet, the numerous hurdles Rubin encountered until he was socially recognized as a war hero testified not only to the long persistence of anti-Jewish feelings in the American military but also to his resilience in that respect. 3
Definitions and Their Evolution
Displaced persons (DPs), refugees, postwar refugees, former victims of the Nazi yoke, stateless Jews, and pariahs-several terms overlap while their meanings may fall under the wide definition of survivor. The multiplicity of contexts, milieus, and individual fates account for the diversity of categories behind the heterogeneous group of survivors. It is worth noting that the degree of their integration into their new social environments appears to be closely linked to changing perceptions of the image of survivors and of the Holocaust itself. 4
In 2004, demographer Sergio DellaPergola proposed a broad definition of survivors according to the following criteria: (a) those who were in concentration camps or ghettos, or who were otherwise submitted to slave labor, (b) those who fled such confinement or subsisted illegally, or (c) those who at least for a period of time, were subject to a regime of duress and/or a limitation of their full civil rights due to their Jewish background, whether by a Nazi occupying power or by a local authority associated with the Nazi endeavour. 5 DellaPergola s definition, unlike previous ones, included North African Jews during the war years (except Egypt) and added those who lived in Syria and Lebanon. Apart from implications of consciousness, there are economic consequences linked to that definition insofar as so-called reparations are concerned. A significant number of survivors interviewed for this study were reluctant to apply for the reparations that the German government agreed to pay in 1953 to victims of the Nazis, especially those who were made to work as forced laborers. A general term for restitutions or reparation, Wiedergutmachung -made up of wieder (again), gut (well), and machung (a verbal noun of machen , to make )-appeared all the more fallacious and ironical to survivors as the verb wiedergutmachen means to make well again or to compensate. Furthermore, they were required to undergo thorough medical examinations to prove that they were entitled to indemnities. Most interviewees related to this procedure as a humiliating one, reminiscent of past experiences. Sensing humiliation once again, and having to prove that they were victims, served as deterrents, which is why some of them either did not entertain the idea or renounced it. However, later-when deadlines had not yet expired-a number of former victims convinced themselves that they should not forego that monetary compensation in addition to everything they had lost. The Claims Conference on Material Claims against Germany was cofounded in 1951 by Nahum Goldmann, then president of the World Jewish Congress, and Saul Kagan, a Lithuanian refugee who was an intelligence officer in the US Air Force and whose mother, brother, and grandparents were murdered by the Nazis. 6 The Claims Conference was conceived as a body that would engage the German government in negotiations, with eligibility criteria being determined by Germany but continually under discussion. While this matter is beyond the scope of the present study, it is worth mentioning that Article 2 Fund limited pensions to certain persons who were incarcerated in concentration camps, ghettos, or forced labor battalions, or were forced to go into hiding. 7 The amount of Article 2 compensation, which is set by the German government, is a fixed Euro amount. From 1999 onward, the German government agreed to recognize previously unrecognized camps and labor battalions of Jews in Europe for purposes of eligibility for this compensation. In 2012, the Claims Conference negotiated to reduce from twelve to six months the time that victims had to have lived in hiding or under false identity in order to be eligible for Article 2 compensation.
Distinctions within the Heterogeneous Group of Survivors
Peter Suedfeld, himself a survivor and a noted social psychologist, wrote that more subtle distinctions could be made between identified Jews and hidden ones. The former were persons who the authorities had identified as Jews during the years of persecution and had been in concentration camps, slave labor programs, or ghettos. Hidden survivors were concealed in rooms, attics, forests, underground bunkers, sewers, or other unpleasant places, or in open hiding, that is, not physically concealed but hiding their Jewish identity. Some of the survivors interviewed for this volume had false papers identifying them as Christians. As Suedfeld summed up, a high proportion of these hidden children were passing as non-Jews and sheltered by Christian families, monasteries, convents, orphanages and other kinds of homes. 8 Some of these issues are broached in the diverging narratives or testimonies of Nechama Tec, Zev Sternhell, and Robert Finaly. 9 The former rebuilt her life in the United States, the latter two in Israel.
By May 1945, at the war s end, between one and one-and-a-half million children, targeted as Jews by the Nazi genocide, were murdered, while before the war they numbered approximately 1.6 million in the territories occupied by the Nazis and their allies in September 1939. 10 Judith Hemmendinger, then a young social worker who took care of a group of Buchenwald Jewish boys, wrote about the efforts of the Oeuvre de Secours Aux Enfants (OSE) homes to rehabilitate 426 youngsters liberated from Buchenwald and brought to France, admitted that mental health professionals had said these children would never recover, an opinion she shared when she first became aware of the extent of their trauma. Hemmendinger dealt with a group of ninety young survivors who were among the thousand Jewish children detained in Children s Barrack 66 in Buchenwald and liberated by American troops. These children were the first to leave Buchenwald; about two months after the liberation of the camp, the orphaned boys, aged eight to eighteen, were sent to England, France, and Switzerland. 11
The present volume includes the life stories of ten former Buchenwald boys and focuses on their rehabilitation and dynamics of identities in different contexts and environments. 12 Six of them were personally interviewed, some of them several times over the years, like Izio Rosenman.
According to Rosenman, a physicist and psychoanalyst, children and young adolescents who survived concentration camps had abruptly been robbed of their childhood or adolescence and developed defense mechanisms, one of which was insensitivity. This was essential to protect them from cruelty and suffering. Witness to the powerlessness of their parents in ghettos, in concentration camps, or in both, the youngsters had to be constantly on their guard to save their lives. Hidden children did not experience the cruelty of survival in the concentration camps. Their hardships were different.
This is the point at which a methodological question needs to be raised: how to determine whether to use the term child survivor or young adult survivor ? It is generally accepted that any person who was sixteen or younger in 1945 may be considered a child survivor, while those who were seventeen or older are adult survivors. The arbitrary quality of this distinction is somewhat subdued by the addition of young. But, above all, this differentiation is due to the postwar issue of child placement in homes and orphanages, or the decision made by the youngsters to immigrate, often to the Jewish homeland in Palestine. In other cases, relatives in the United States sponsored the child s immigration. More often than not, emotional issues were closely connected to political ones, and the course of the postwar lives of these youngsters could sometimes lead to long years of court battles, especially when the children had had to assume a Christian identity to survive. 13
Even among the resistance fighters or partisans, in particular among French girls in the Jewish networks engaged in rescuing children and finding hiding places for them, it was not uncommon to find girls around fifteen or sixteen years of age who served as couriers. Although considered children according to the previous definition, they would perform crucial tasks when, for instance, they rode a bicycle on the dangerous French roads to hand over regular payment to the Christian families who were hiding Jewish children. This is the case of Margot Cohn, who was active in the Jewish underground. She began a new life in Israel after World War II.
Hidden children have long remained silent, feeling they were no heroes and more generally feeling guilty for having survived while most of their families had perished. Many of them did not even consider themselves Holocaust survivors, since they believed that only those who had survived the camps were entitled to inclusion in such a category. 14 Often, they had not talked about their war experience to their children. But 1991 turned out to be a turning point in their lives as they began a collective existence as hidden children who had testimonies to transmit to future generations. With the help of Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League and himself a hidden child from Poland, 1,600 former hidden children from twenty-eight countries met for the first time in May of that year in New York City at the First International Gathering of Children Hidden during World War II. As a matter of fact, the conference not only attracted former hidden children but many survivors as well. 15
Social psychologist Eva Fogelman, born in a displaced person (DP) camp, paved the way for the recognition of the importance of the emotional scars of hidden children when her efforts culminated in that first international conference. It was to be followed by numerous other gatherings of survivors, in Jerusalem and elsewhere. These gatherings and conferences fulfilled a specific aim: to help survivors come out into the open, embrace their Jewish past, share memories, and tell the world what they had endured under the Hitler regime.
Success can be defined rather objectively in relation to social status and economic success, more precisely success in the academic field, in the arts, or integration into the host society. A pioneer work in that domain by sociologist William Helmreich focused on the successful integration and achievements of Holocaust survivors in the United States. 16 However, professional success does not necessarily entail personal success consisting of personal balance and fulfillment. A number of cases of French survivors who committed suicide despite their apparent professional success in France provide a tragic indication that the global notion of social success requires more attention. Sarah Kofman, a former hidden child who became one of the best-known philosophers of her generation while a professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris, killed herself at the age of sixty, following the publication of her autobiography in 1994 (published in an English translation in 1996). 17 Her testimony appeared in March 1994; she committed suicide in October of that year. Her writings revealed both a necessary catharsis and renouncement. An explanation for her suicide may be that she was the victim of intense psychological suffering, which social success can often mask.
An opposite example of a young girl child who survived the Ravensbr ck concentration camp exemplifies rehabilitation in Israel, where she started anew, although the scars from the camp could never be erased. Interviewed by Rochelle G. Saidel, Sali Solomon Daugherty of Jaffa confessed, in a way that gives food for thought: I realize today that I am very successful in a way that I consider the success of the neshama , of the soul. I consider myself successful that I have survived the years of survival. 18 These issues were raised by Helmreich: How are we to classify, for example, an unhappy millionaire? A homeless man content with his life? Clearly, it is necessary to rely upon standards generally accepted by most members of society. These would include, but not limited to, financial wealth, promotions in one s job, influence within a community, recognition by others within one s profession, acclaim by the public, pride and satisfaction in one s accomplishments, and the like. 19
The notions expressed above lead me to introduce the concept of redemptive narratives, with redemption being defined as the act of making something better or more acceptable. My attempt is to understand the impact of the postwar environment on the survivors rehabilitation and social contributions and to analyze the extent to which their new, socially successful lives fit a redemptive pattern that helped them cope with psychic trauma and go on living. Such a pattern is more likely to be perceived in memoirs or written testimonies, in which an effort is made to make sense of a chaotic life shattered by traumatic events. The patterns of some interviews, whether videotaped or not, also underscore the act of making a survivor s life more acceptable when it ends well in a democratic country. In such videotapes, children and grandchildren are often present to demonstrate the triumph of life over adversity while suggesting that transmission to the next generation is ensured. Most of the interviews in the Spielberg Oral History Archives follow such a pattern while concentrating on life before, during, and after the Holocaust. In turn, these testimonies have shaped-and continue to shape-the development of a collective memory, as survivors in their old age tend to reconsider their past so as to make it meaningful in light of contemporary societal tensions. While it is legitimate to turn to the past to look for answers in the present, it remains important to be aware of a human tendency to make one s life account more relevant by interpretation that, nevertheless, does not challenge historical accuracy. The image of the witness as a bearer of history gradually emerged in Israel, the United States, and France after the Eichmann trial. Historian Annette Wieviorka has argued convincingly that we have entered what she called the era of the witness. 20 The status of the Holocaust witness has been considerably elevated, while testimonies are afforded a privileged place in the wider narrative of the genocide of the Jews and its understanding.
The issue of motivation in forced migration is crucial but usually understated in history books, since it implies a psychological study of emotions. In the chaotic atmosphere of the postwar period, it assumed a unique importance as the international issue of DPs who refused to be repatriated had political consequences but also because the American dream began right in the DP camps or during the survivors stay in accommodations within the American zone of occupation in Germany. Such a pull factor involved the emotional impact of various social factors, including staff members of American Jewish aid organizations, American officials, and often American Jewish GIs or chaplains. In that respect, oral histories and memoirs present a more complex picture of the interactions of Jewish survivors and their American keepers at a time when they had begun to rebuild their lives in constant negotiation with the social actors present in the occupied territory. 21 The various aspects of American compassion toward the Jews was a feeling largely shared and served as a pull factor. Auschwitz survivor Samuel Pisar, who was then sixteen years old, much later clearly expressed the fact that-deep inside-his love for America sprang from his having been liberated by a black American GI.
In other instances, the dedicated efforts of some American Jewish chaplains to combat demoralization in DP camps was crucial in shaping the survivors view of America. An example was Abraham Klausner, one of the most innovative chaplains in the DP countries. He organized lists of survivors because he was aware of the fact that it was most urgent for them to know that they were not alone in the world. American chaplains advised survivors, helped them with their immigration applications, supplied them with kosher food, and organized and celebrated events of Jewish life, such as the first and stirring Passover of 1946 in Munich. 22 In short, they helped survivors not to succumb to the threat of demoralization because they were concerned about their fellow Jews. 23
Another form of American compassion and emotional recovery was conveyed by artists. Molly Picon, a star of the American Yiddish theater, visited DP camps to boost the morale of Jewish DPs and convey what she called a Yiddish word. This was her way of letting the survivors know that the vanishing and decimated Yiddish world in Europe was still alive in America. She and Jacob Kalich, her husband, had contacted President Harry S. Truman himself in order to find a ship that would enable them to cross the ocean, as there was still no regular commercial transportation across the Atlantic. He encouraged them to find a berth on a ship, even though their journey was not officially considered a priority. After each performance in DP camps, they handed out little trinkets, pieces of cheap jewelry that they had wrapped in colorful paper, knowing that survivors had not only been deprived of food but also of small possessions. The actress confided in an interview with scholar Nahma Sandrow that on many later encounters in the Catskill Mountains, Las Vegas, and Miami, she encountered women who still wore these pieces of inexpensive costume jewelry they had received as gifts, their first for several years. 24
Among the renowned artists who traveled to the DP camps were violinist Yehudi Menuhin, singer Emma Schaver, and conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. In the Feldafing DP camp, Bernstein delivered an emotional speech to raise the morale of the internees and led them in singing the Zionist anthem, Hatikvah (The Hope). 25 Through her Yiddish and Hebrew songs, Emma Schaver strove to give back to survivors a sense of belonging. Some songs by the DPs themselves, who rapidly organized music bands and theater troupes, addressed their longing for an imagined Eretz Israel (or motherland). Musicians from Palestine and Europe also visited the Jewish DPs.
In 1946, the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry conducted polls in DP camps to determine where Jews wished to rebuild their lives. The Jewish DPs plight particularly aroused compassion in one of the twelve members of the commission, Bartley Crum, a Christian attorney who wrote a fascinating account of that period in his book Behind the Silken Curtain . The questionnaires collected by the commission in a Bavarian DP camp showed that some 90 percent of the Jews preferred the Jewish homeland in Palestine as the place where they could rebuild their lives. Obviously, some did so out of solidarity with those whose only hope was Eretz Israel and who had no relatives in America. Crum wrote: If we don t clear out the DP camps in the US zone in Germany, we will have mass suicides of Jews, or they ll try to fight their way into Palestine. 26 A number of Jewish survivors who felt too weak to emigrate to Palestine remained some four or five years in DP camps, waiting for visas to America.
What influenced the decisions of survivors to immigrate to Eretz Israel when it was thought that they had a choice? Survivors were sensitive in various degrees to diverse factors, ranging from elements in Zionist ideology or instinctive Zionism -which emerged from their painful wartime experiences-and the fear of recurring active antisemitism (could what happened in Germany occur one day in America or once again in France?), to personal contacts with representatives of Jewish aid organizations. Jewish Brigade soldiers from Palestine, who had enlisted in the British Army, came to the DP camps to provide education, moral support, and physical preparation in agricultural training farms on German soil for Jews eager to settle in the Jewish homeland in Palestine and break away from life in temporary conditions.
When it came to choosing between Eretz Israel and the United States, the lure of the American dream and the emotional memories associated with the liberators and American artists in DP camps competed with the deep-seated psychological need for a motherland. Similarly, the pioneering spirit of Jewish society in Eretz Israel could serve either to attract or to distance the survivor contemplating aliyah . Yet, those who strove to reach the Jewish homeland in Palestine were empowered refugees. Their process of rehabilitation and regained dignity began on the illegal immigrant ships when they had the courage to face British intransigence. Among the survivors on Exodus 1947 , fifteen-year-old Jacub (Jacques) Finkel-whom I later interviewed-initiated a hunger strike to oppose the British decision to make them disembark, first in France and then in Germany. Such determined opposition to the British on the Exodus was also important for Abraham Tuszynski, from Piotrk w Trybunalski, another Buchenwald boy who boarded the ship, like Jacub Finkel and his brother, but finally settled in Israel, unlike the brothers, who remained in France. 27
The complexity of the international problem of uprooted DPs, still unwanted by most countries, engendered a multitude of new trials and hardships for the survivors. Primo Levi was a witness to the chaotic period in the immediate aftermath of the war, which he aptly rendered in his book La Tregua . 28 To some extent, his accounts have endowed the statements of survivors with a value and legitimacy that they did not have prior to his publications on the Nazi genocide and the immediate postwar period.
Far fewer testimonies deal with the European Jewish refugees in Shanghai, China, a group that unlike the DPs uprooted by the Third Reich, was not on European soil. As Shanghai was the only place in the world that required no entry visa, thousands of European Jewish refugees made their way toward the crowded, fifth-largest port in the world. In 1937, the Japanese, who were at war with China, occupied Shanghai. However, their occupation did not influence the plight of the Jewish refugees, who mostly lived in an area known as the International Settlement. Following the Anschluss, and especially the Kristallnacht riots in November 1938, Jewish refugees desperately poured in via the Suez Canal. By the end of 1939, German and Austrian Jewish refugees in Shanghai totaled approximately 17,000. 29 For Henry J. Meyer, who first sailed from Germany to Kobe, Japan, and then to Shanghai, the sea voyage was memorable for his family, which had been made stateless by Nazi Germany: The whole voyage took twenty-one days. I think in these twenty-one days, I was robbed of my youth. I left as a child, and arrived in Shanghai as an adult, ready to face the world and help make a living. 30
Considering the chaotic aftermath of World War II, the Shanghai refugees added to the complexity of the three above-mentioned groups of predominantly Polish Jews who were considered the remnants of European Jewry. The US Congress s Displaced Persons Act, amended in 1950, allotted 4,000 visas to the United States for refugees from Shanghai.
When surveying the survivors who opted to relocate to America, I discuss the ways that successes (military and otherwise) of the young State of Israel constitute a healing effect for them. The trauma of statelessness triggered the drive for national recognition, which led to new struggles. Upon their arrival, Jewish survivors were perceived by American Jewish communities as refugees and for years thereafter they strove to become New Americans, as they were referred to by contemporary newspapers and journals of the resettlement agencies. Indeed, the campaign mounted by Jewish and non-Jewish organizations to have the Jewish DPs immigrate to America was not easy, nor were the four years of bitter debates conducted in Congress. Among the Jewish organizations involved in the campaign to influence public opinion in favor of DPs (Jews and non-Jews alike), the American Council on Judaism, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Council of Jewish Women all had to fight to let Jewish DPs into the country, since restrictionists and isolationists in Congress feared that communist spies would enter the United States. That endeavor was sustained by ethnic and humanitarian non-Jewish groups under an umbrella organization, the Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons (CCDP), financed by the family of Jewish philanthropist Lessing J. Rosenwald. 31 The executive members of the CCDP included Anglo-Saxon public figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Earl G. Harrison, the former US commissioner of immigration and dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, who had written a report about the appalling living conditions of Jewish survivors in DP camps, calling upon both mandatory British Palestine and America to open their doors to them.
While President Truman was sensitive to the plight of Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, when most countries kept their doors closed or half-open, the shift in American refugee policy cannot be attributed solely to the humanitarian arguments put forward by the CCDP, often called the Jewish lobby by the restrictionists in Congress, despite its efforts to focus on admitting DPs in general to the United States and not solely Jews. The 1948 Displaced Persons Act and its amendments enabled the immigration of Balts (40 percent of the visas) and Ukrainians, among whom were former Nazi collaborators, while 30 percent of the visas were allotted to immigrants engaged in agricultural pursuits. 32 Another provision of the 1948 law was interpreted as being antisemitic, since only individuals who had been granted DP status by December 22, 1945 could be considered for admission to the United States. This excluded a large number of Jews who had entered Germany or returned to DP camps after being repatriated to their countries of origin, only to discover that their families had been exterminated and that they were still unwanted there.
Considerations of national and foreign policy gave preference to populations whose assimilation was considered easy. Although President Truman believed the problem of Jewish DPs to be a world tragedy, immigration policy was still restrictive and dependent on quotas that did not favor Jews. It was only after four years of bitter debate that the immigration of refugees-Jews and non-Jews alike-was perceived as an ideological weapon in the fight against communism, refugees from eastern Europe, including Jews, having been previously perceived as communists. As such, they had been unwanted, while from 1948 onward their refusal of repatriation to their countries of origin was now conceived by members of the 82nd Congress as a failure of communism. President Truman appointed a special Commission on Immigration and Naturalization, which concluded that it was necessary to open the doors to anticommunist refugees. Such a stance was further demonstrated by the adoption by Congress of a Refugee Relief Act in August 1953, which created a special quota of 209,000 visas over and above the quota system, enabling escapees fleeing from communist-dominated or communist-occupied areas of Europe to enter the United States. 33
Even if Cold War considerations did not necessarily impact the way Jewish survivors adjusted in America, these elements cannot be ignored.
By the 1990s, when most of the 140,000 survivors who had obtained American visas were integrated into the United States, the memory of the Holocaust was to be Americanized, in particular through the educative efforts of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the evolution of popular culture. To a certain extent survivors were turned into American heroes when film director and producer Steven Spielberg created the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994, following the making of his landmark movie, Schindler s List , which contributed to shaping the memory of the Holocaust.
In France, only 2,500 Jews returned from deportation. They were called d port s . Since France was a secular society-unlike the United States and Israel-their Jewishness had been played down. Many survivors clung to associations of concentration camps survivors while still striving to reintegrate into an environment that had rejected them and functioned without them. Through hard work, most of them regained social status.
Once in America those who settled there in the aftermath of the Holocaust were called DPs, a term that had been coined by the Allied armies in the immediate wake of the war, when soldiers were in charge of DP camps together with the teams of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and then UNRRA s successor in July 1947, the IRO (International Refugee Organization). But more often than not, what stuck to displaced persons was the despicable appellation refugee -or even worse, ref, irrespective of whether they resettled in towns, suburbs, or in Jewish farming communities in America, as did about 2,000 of them. In the 1960s, industrialization made it difficult to continue that practice and survivors had to struggle to climb the social ladder. The term concentration camp survivor gradually appeared when the Eichmann trial was broadcast on television in 1961, motivating the publication of articles in newspapers and initiating radio programs. With the screening of the film Holocaust in 1978, and especially after the establishment in 1993 of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, the term became widespread, gradually becoming synonymous with hero in a culture that values those who overcome adversity. However, the term refugee, often derogatory, had a long life until survivor imposed itself.
As a Jewish German refugee who had fled her native country to live in Paris in 1933 to save her life, Hannah Arendt was personally concerned with the issue of DPs. While she found refuge in France, where she was active in relief organizations to help Jewish refugees immigrate to Palestine, she was interned in the French Gurs camp as an enemy alien. A few weeks later, she managed to escape from the camp. In 1937, she was stripped of her German citizenship.
Arendt raised major questions related to how one begins from scratch in a new country. In an oft-quoted short essay published in 1943, she clearly expressed the concerns of refugees that apply to DPs and various categories of stateless Holocaust survivors. Her lines are worth quoting at length, as they point to the major issues involved in the process of rebuilding lives after 1945, even though her accurate perception, woven with great sensitivity, applies to stateless refugees such as herself before 1945:

In the first place, we don t like to be called refugees. We ourselves call each other newcomers or immigrants. Our newspapers are papers for Americans of German language and as far as I know there is not and never was any club founded by Hitler-persecuted people whose name indicated that its members were refugees.
A refugee used to be a person driven to seek refuge because of some act committed or some political opinion held. Well. It is true we had to seek refuge; but we committed no acts and most of us never dreamt of having any radical political opinion. With us, the meaning of the term refugee has changed. Now refugees are those of us who have been so unfortunate as to arrive in a new country without means and have to be helped by Refugee Committees.
Before this war broke out we were even more sensitive about being called refugees. We did our best to prove to other people that we were just ordinary immigrants. We declared that we had departed of our own free will to countries of our choice, and we denied that our situation had something to do with so-called Jewish problems. Yes, we were immigrants or newcomers who had left our country because, one fine day, it no longer suited us to stay or for purely economic reasons. We wanted to rebuild our lives, that was all. In order to rebuild one s life one has to be strong and an optimist.
Our optimism, indeed is admirable. We lost our homes, which means the familiarity of daily life. We lost our occupation, which means the confidence that we are of some use in this world. We lost our language, which means the naturalness of reactions, the simplicity of gestures, the unaffected expression of feelings. We left our relatives in the Polish ghettos and our best friends have been killed in concentration camps, and that means the ruptures of our private lives. 34
The loss in exile of this familiarity that guarantees us security, in Jean Am ry s words, is also deplored in the writings of the noted intellectual who was born Hans Maier in Vienna in 1912. He had fled to Belgium after the proclamation of the Nuremberg laws, where he joined the Resistance, but was captured and tortured by the Gestapo and sent to several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. 35 He ended his life years later during a visit to his native Austria. The writer left a treasure trove of existential reflections when probing into his own scars. In his texts, the notion of familiarity seems to go hand in hand with the fluid notion of identity, while both were lost in the process of uprooting, displacement, and internment. The attempt to redress the loss of identity of prisoners (who had been reduced to numbers), is expressed significantly through the example of the Buchenwald boys upon their arrival at Ecouis, an abandoned sanatorium in France placed at the disposal of the OSE by the French authorities. Deprived of a self-image for years, they showed great interest in being photographed, especially because there were no mirrors in concentration camps. The mention of a name under their picture initiated the long process of recapturing an identity that would, in turn, be reshaped in the countries that hosted them.

As a refugee whose life experience differed from those who survived concentration camps, Hannah Arendt s deep insights are not only those of an intellectual and philosopher; they are written with the salt of repressed tears. Resettled in New York in 1941, she remained a stateless person for two years. Her approach to the issues she developed at length in the article encapsulates the very essence of the problems and questions with which refugees and survivors at large had to grapple. Arendt has indeed paved the way for a comparative analysis of the way the heterogeneous group of Jewish survivors (refugees, DPs, and hidden children) mended their broken lives and took steps toward new beginnings.
To what extent did the humiliation felt by survivors, when deprived of their identities, humanity, and human rights, play a role in the revenge they sought by becoming high achievers? At the root of the Nazi decision to exterminate all Jews, either in concentration camps such as Buchenwald or in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, was the Nazi belief that Jews were no different than vermin. Some survivors did their best to rid themselves of that shame, and their apparently successful lives have been a perpetual battle.
The various roads to rehabilitation and success presented in this book put this statement to the test. Hidden children did not go through the radical dehumanization experienced by concentration and extermination camp inmates. However, if distinctions are necessary in relation to life experiences during the Holocaust, they cannot be made in terms of the sufferings that were the lot of all survivors. For Jewish DPs, this process of regeneration has taken place in two stages, in Europe and in the Jewish homeland. First, in DP camps the Zionist feelings aroused by Zionist emissaries, whose language was infused with notions of family and acceptance, had a therapeutic effect as Eretz Israel conjured up feelings of home in the refugees minds, all the more because they were deprived of family. 36 On this point, it is relevant to recall the stance of an American Zionist, Marie Syrkin, who focused on the issue of the Jewish DPs to reflect on Zionism as a component of Jewish identity. She had visited the refugee camps in 1947 and did her best to boost the morale of the victims of this prolonged internment by staying with them and collecting their testimonies for her reports. For her, the DPs represented the Zionist principle of Jewish homelessness. What she called the illusion of belonging was best felt in the Hebrew-speaking DP school, which she described as an extension of Palestine. Historical archives prove that she was right in asserting that a Zionist atmosphere prevailed in most DP camps after the Holocaust. 37 As she put it: The chief and sustaining hope of the Jewish survivors was Palestine whose citizens they aspired to be. . . . The children dreamt of Palestine [and] the slogan blazoned on the classroom walls was Baderech (on the way). 38
The second point I wish to stress is that the Land of Israel became a place par excellence for rehabilitation, although the casualties among Holocaust survivors in the War of Independence place, to a certain extent, limits on this assessment. Once in Jewish Palestine, and then with the establishment of Israel, most of the Jewish survivors played some role in the development of the country, and they participated in its emergence as a Jewish state. In doing so, they redressed their loss of identity, a process that will be developed in the following chapters. Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, who himself left Czechoslovakia with his parents in March 1939 and emigrated to Palestine (then under the British mandate) and joined Kibbutz Shoval, confirmed the fact that survivors were soon made to feel part of the country, while those who felt unwelcome or looked down on, were exceptions. 39
The unique aspects of survivor Zionism characterize the ideological redemptive narrative that presents Israel as the only possible homeland of the Jews after the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. In the Jewish state, postwar refugees were not called survivors at first but instead were called immigrants ( olim in Hebrew). 40 In that respect, the absence of the survivor label helped their integration through service in the army and life on the kibbutz, the elite sectors of the country. However, among the young people who had survived concentration camps, the harsh life in hiding, or the warfare of partisans were many, poorly clothed, who disembarked directly from the frail boats that brought them to the country into a new war in which most of them could not understand the orders in Hebrew. Estimating the number of these new recruits is difficult because quite a few of them were the sole survivors of entire families, nobody reported their deaths or mourned them. Although the fledgling Israeli army had a provision for the exemption of only sons, and though imploring letters from mothers reached their sons headquarters, its enforcement was not possible because the survival of the young state was at risk. There would have been no army because so many were sole survivors, as Hanna Yablonka contended in her studies on this sensitive subject. 41 After the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, Atina Grossman explained: young DPs, mostly (but not exclusively) men from the Zionist movements, and between seventeen and thirty-three and childless, left for the front lines in the Middle East. They were given big farewell parties, presented as examples of reformed men who were ready to give up the golden calf of the black market and the fleshpots of Germany to go and defend the young Jewish state. 42
Historians have extensively debated the nature of the conscription campaign that began in Europe and the question of whether survivors were considered cannon fodder. None among those I interviewed felt this way, even though they embarked to fight for the survival of a homeland they had only imagined. While there was a discrepancy between expectations and reality, fighting for an idealized nation where Jews would live together as dignified human beings gave them back an identity. They were victims no more, even though the casualties among those who had survived the Holocaust were heavy. They had become Jewish soldiers of a fledgling Israeli state. Their transformation from victim to fighter was to have repercussions not only on their lives but also on the families they built, whether in Israel or elsewhere. 43 Survivors transmitted their fear of passivity and helplessness to their offspring, who were taught to fight back in all circumstances and never to adopt again the lowly profile of the victim. This crucial distinction between victim and fighter, with the latter shaking off the burden of anguish and despair that left its mark on many survivors and their families, runs counter to the artificial elevation of the victim as a privileged cultural type in American culture in particular, to borrow the words of Alvin Rosenfeld, from an essay on the rhetoric of victimization. 44 In Israel, on the contrary, for young men and women alike, the cathartic dimension of fighting for the state s survival and the very fact of being a part of the Israeli army was coupled with the cathartic effect of living in a reborn Jewish homeland. This fighter/hero identity is celebrated both indirectly in the ceremonies of commemoration on Holocaust Remembrance Day ( Yom Hashoah ), during which the memory of the six million victims are associated with the heroic Jewish resistance, notably in the Warsaw ghetto, and on Independence Day (Yom Ha atzmaut), the yearly celebration of the renewal of Jewish self-government.
The speedy integration of the survivors who settled in cities and towns in Israel is due to the fact that they were among the first immigrants, and often because they had relatives who had immigrated to Palestine under the British mandate. Living in such locations enabled them to successfully gain access to central, cultural, political, and economic frameworks. 45 This is demonstrated by the diverging and successful routes of the Lau brothers, both survivors of Buchenwald. Those who had survived under direct or indirect Nazi rule constituted half of the immigrants who came to Israel in the wave of mass immigration in 1948-1951, which altogether brought to the Jewish state about 750,000 Jews from various countries. Viewing the Nazi genocide of the Jews as a catalyst that sped up the Zionist endeavor initiated by Theodor Herzl had a redemptive effect and was a major element in the ideological narrative. The creation of the state had an impact on Jews of the Diaspora, especially on the remnants of European Jewry, as it transformed Zionism from one element in the Jewish polity to the central element in all the surviving Jewish communities. 46 Some American Zionist figures considered then that life in the Jewish homeland was the best strategy for Jewish survival. Such a debate was to arise again in the early 1960s after the capture of Adolf Eichmann by the Israelis. It was to reemerge with each episode of murderous antisemitism in Europe, most notably in France.
From the mid sixties on, after the Eichmann trial had elevated the status of Holocaust survivors to valuable witnesses and triggered changes in Israeli consciousness, the term survivor ( nitsol in Hebrew) was applied to them, mostly on the occasion of national commemorations. In France, the Jews who returned from deportation and those who had been resistance fighters or had survived in hiding did not seek to show the specificity of their suffering, much less point to their betrayal by the French authorities. The hardships and details of the fate of French Jews who were returnees or deportees were therefore not acknowledged by the reestablished Republic. What they had undergone was considered part and parcel of the national martyrdom of French citizens. After bitter debate, the statute defining deportees was unanimously passed by the French National Assembly on August 6, 1948. 47 Assimilation was expected of them, and in turn, survivors did not wish to be singled out. The Free French forces, together with the heroic French resistance fighters, were emphasized in commemoration ceremonies and in the construction of the memory of the Holocaust. The brave acts of Jewish resistance fighters were generally not mentioned. Similarly, in the immediate postwar period the French people did not recognize any special history of Jewish suffering. Those who had survived life in the concentration camps and death marches shared the status of deportee, along with resistance fighters who had also been held prisoner in concentration camps, although their status had been different as internees. The media in France, too, found it difficult to differentiate between the diverse classifications of deportees.
Refusing the Identity of Survivor
In order to start anew in France, a number of returnees did not assert their identity as deportees or hidden children. As a school pupil and a student, Izio Rosenman, formerly of Demblin, Poland, never hid the fact that he was Jewish, but he also never mentioned that he was a Buchenwald survivor. Only in his late seventies did he begin speaking in public about his traumatizing experiences as a boy. He admitted that studying and being a high achiever helped him cope with trauma. Elie (Lolek) Buzyn, also from Poland, and one of the Buchenwald friends Izio would meet at least every year in Paris, had his tattooed number surgically removed so as not to draw attention to it when, as a surgeon, he would pull up his sleeves. He, too, waited until his late seventies to speak about his painful memories to various audiences in order to transmit the memory of the genocide of the Jews. The singer R gine, who was forced into hiding in many places, not only suppressed her maiden name, but she also waited forty years to publish her memoirs and speak about her past as a hidden child. Noted French philosopher Andr Glucksmann only recently disclosed his being a hidden child. He authored an autobiography laced with humor in 2006. Psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik revealed a little more about himself each time he wrote a personal book, though in his younger years he refused to make public his trauma, associated with memories of humiliation. To a French reader, these books offer personal revelations about the way previously unwanted young people have successfully made a cultural impact as adults in a society which had no place for them.
As is true of the United States and France, in Israel survivors actively participated in remembrance and documentation of the Holocaust from the day they set foot in the country. To what extent were the survivors eyes turned toward the fledgling state? Was identification with the newborn state at the root of the inner strength they displayed not only in Israel but also in the Diaspora? To what extent did the rebuilding of survivors lives also depend on the way in which each culture deals with trauma?
Regardless of the country in which they chose to settle, or the personality of each individual, overcoming obstacles without injury to oneself was a challenge; and never was the road from destruction to reconstruction a smooth one. In most cases, the real personal achievement, in contrast to achievements in the public sphere, was in the creation of a family, which gave survivors the opportunity to once again express the moral and cultural values of the ancestors and parents they had lost in the Holocaust.
A significant number of survivors and children of survivors whom we interviewed have expressed the idea that the transmission of Jewish identity to children, up to the third generation, was in itself a success and a victory over Hitler. 48 However, defining Jewish identity is not an easy task. Sociologist Steven M. Cohen contends that there is no accurate definition that would include Jewish belief, behavior, and a sense of belonging. But for lack of a more suitable word, identity is used for this purpose. 49 According to Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, there are at least three ways or levels that account for the construction of identity: On the first level, it is a matter of how one views oneself. Second, how is one viewed by one s community? Third, how is one viewed by the outside world? 50
It is rewarding to observe the extent to which survivors stuck together, especially when they immigrated to the United States, recreating a form of yiddishkeit , a type of eastern European Jewish culture, thus evolving into a microcosm which buffered the shock of acculturation. 51 They created landsmanshaften , fraternal organizations made up of immigrants from the same regions. In France, they tended to join organizations of former prisoners of concentration camps, such as Amicale d Auschwitz, which first included a majority of former communists-non-Jews and Jews alike. Les Fils et les filles de d port s juifs de France, an organization created by Serge Klarsfeld, has forged a strong link between parents, children, and grandchildren who transmit not only the memory of the Holocaust but also a form of Jewish identity closely knitted to that memory. At commemorations, the social role of survivors, particularly in France, is evident in these events. Their social stature as people who had overcome evil itself gave the survivors a certain aura and invested them with a form of wisdom that is sought both in France and in the United States. In Israel, numerous organizations and landsmanshaften have been formed, and more recently Alumim, an organization bringing together former hidden children. By so doing, survivors emphasized the link between memory and identity.
Another link emerges in my interviews: that of a special mission incumbent upon those who belonged to a distinct generation, a phrase coined by Serge Klarsfeld. His reflections as a social actor on his experience as a hidden child allowed him to point to a feeling of belonging to a generation of survivors who had both experienced the Nazi genocide of the Jews and had witnessed the creation of the State of Israel, thus underlining this exceptional historical and social phenomenon of generational belonging: I have felt I belonged to a distinct generation (une g n ration part) . . ., which has seen what no Jews have seen in nineteen centuries. 52
For Klarsfeld, then, remembering and transmitting the memory of that life-changing and cataclysmic historical event are not enough. Besides the transmission of such a memory (which, as we know, evolves with time and within the framework of political and social considerations), Klarsfeld made a point of restituting their identities to the deportees from France who were murdered by the Nazis. Through the research he conducted and published, he also did his best, together with his wife Beate, to punish those who were guilty of crimes against humanity. At this point, a question may be raised: to what extent did the feeling of belonging to a distinct generation scarred by the destruction of European Jewry but strengthened by the creation of the Jewish state, impact on the trajectories of individual destinies? In other words, was Klarsfeld a notable exception or was his awareness of belonging to a generation endowed with a mission shared by other survivors? Was such a perception limited to active participation in the birth of a sovereign Jewish state? The following chapters aim to answer these questions. Furthermore, issues related to individual human existence and the rebuilding of lives in various locations remain central in the survivors journey to regain or find their homes.
Questioning the multiple existential and historical aspects of the concept of generation, Susan Rubin Suleiman, herself a survivor from Hungary born in 1939, delineates what she calls the 1.5 Generation. She draws a dividing line (the age of eleven) between young children whose memories and interpretation differ from older ones-particularly from the adults. 53 Emphasizing the intermediate position of young children draws needed attention to the specificity of their trauma and rehabilitation, as well as their search for Jewish identity, especially when they were the sole survivors of whole families, a crucial point in our own study.
When summing up this chapter, which attempts to suggest comparative aspects, four notions applying to survivors stand out. First, when overcoming the humiliation, the knowledge, and the witnessing of mass killings, survivors became symbols of Jewish resilience. While showing the extent to which the Holocaust and the 1960s still reverberate in the social landscape of American Jewry today, Hasia Diner has convincingly demonstrated that in America survivors were considered symbols of Jewish endurance by the Americans who read about their miraculous survival as early as the immediate aftermath of World War II. In particular, those who encountered them in the DP camps or elsewhere in the late 1940s saw them as both witnesses and heroes. This was the case with Leo Schwarz, who, in 1949, recorded the true story of the She erith Hapleitah , the saving remnant, in his book symbolically entitled The Root and the Bough: the Epic of an Enduring People . Hasia Diner encapsulated the symbolic meaning of the phrase, showing why and how the Jews in America took on the largest nongovernmental philanthropic relief undertaking in human history for the survivors in Europe: They invoked the image of the remaining Jews time and time again, referring to them variously as survivors, the remnant, the saving remnant, the surviving remnant, (in Hebrew) the she erith hapleitah , (in Yiddish) die geblibene (those left), or the displaced persons. 54
Second, those who had survived the Nazi genocide of the Jews were identified early as collective bearers of Jewish culture, especially in the United States. Diner also emphasized the fact that in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust they were approached as such by Jewish Americans. 55 In this light, the new life in America that former Jewish partisan fighter Miles Lerman built as a poultry farmer testifies to this immediate yearning to express and transmit Jewish culture as well as the memory of the genocide. Third, after the Eichmann trial the former victims of humiliation and persecution gradually became valued witnesses in the three countries under discussion. Fourth, the trauma of Jewish homelessness or statelessness was overcome collectively thanks to the emergence of Israel as a rehabilitative concept, functioning both for those in the Diaspora and in the Jewish state.
In historical perspective, several elements have to varying degrees shaped postwar Jewish identity in the United States, France, and Israel: the genocide of the Jews, the DP camps that indicated that Jews were still unwanted after the war, the emergence of the Jewish state, and-above all-the Eichmann trial in 1961, to which a number of our interviewees have reacted. Daniel Bell was the first New York intellectual to publicly express the trial s implication that the Nazi genocide of the Jews bore the essence of postwar Jewish collective identity, regardless of whether or not the individual was subject to this traumatic experience. For Bell, the existential impact of the Holocaust as recounted by the survivors was reminiscent of the Revelation on Mount Sinai. 56 He aptly concluded his analysis of the memory of the Holocaust in the United States with a statement that is applicable to Jews everywhere, whether in their country of dispersion or in Israel: This is the question raised when one realizes that there are responsibilities of participation even when the community of which one is a part is a community woven by the thinning strands of memory. 57
For the survivors who chose to live in Palestine/Israel, the conclusions drawn from their tragic war experiences led to the instinctive necessity for a Jewish state. The general American press had covered DP camps with much empathy since 1945, and had often presented the Zionist alternative as a means to overcome homelessness and powerlessness. This understanding was emphasized by the restrictive immigration policies of the few countries willing to accept the remnants of European Jewry, including America. For most survivors, the link was there, in varying degrees. Although American sociologists diagnosed an identity crisis among American Jewry in the 1960s, the Six-Day War in 1967 was a turning point that reinforced Jewish identity in relation to Israel. The interviews I conducted in the United States, France, and Israel show that the fear of the Six-Day War among Israeli survivors and Diaspora Jews-Arab leaders boasted that there would be no survivors-was aggravated by the memory of the Eichmann trial and its descriptions of powerlessness and victimization. The miraculous Israeli victory reinforced the ideological and redemptive narrative representing the Land of Israel as a vital refuge for Jews faced with antisemitism.
However, this stance was not adopted by most survivors in the Diaspora, even if identification with the fledgling Jewish state was central to their mental rehabilitation. Those lucky enough to receive sponsorship for American visas hailed the United States as a refuge for the oppressed, a land of freedom and opportunity, and were imbued with a sense of boundless loyalty to the nation that pressed them to its bosom. Furthermore, the advent of the Cold War increased their adulation for the traditional refuge of the oppressed, especially if they originally came from eastern European countries under Soviet rule. Others, who were either immigrants in France or returnees, also held patriotic feelings for a country that could make them French citizens as long as their ethnic and religious specificity were played down and their loyalty to France unconditional. The collective invisibility of Holocaust survivors, whether concentration camp survivors or hidden children, was implicit in the postwar French nation, which was not prepared to face the involvement of the Vichy regime in collaboration with the Nazis.
1. About the Holocaust in Ukraine, see Dubois, Holocaust by Bullets .
2. Benjamin Hirsch, a survivor who resettled in Georgia and whom I interviewed in Atlanta in August 2014, published a book about his service in the American army: Hearing a Different Drummer .
3. A Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, Rubin, immigrated to the United States in 1948. He received the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery during the Korean War as an infantry soldier and a POW from President George W. Bush in September 2005, fifty years after the event.
4. On these changing perceptions, particularly in the United States, see Rosenfeld, End of the Holocaust , 57-94.
5. Ouzan, Ofer, and Tydor Baumel-Schwartz, Introduction, 8; DellaPergola, Jewish Shoah Survivors.
6. Information on the website of the World Jewish Congress, (accessed April 5, 2015).

7. Eligibility criteria also included limits on income, established by the German government. Information on the website of the Claims Conference: . (accessed March 13, 2015). For more information on the so-called reparations, see Zweig, German Reparations .
8. Suedfeld, Life after the Ashes , 2.
9. See Tec, Dry Tears ; Sternhell, Histoire et lumi res .
10. Suedfeld notes that People who were fifteen years or younger at the end of the war were categorized as child survivors, Suedfeld, Life after the Ashes , 2. See also Dwork, Children with a Star , 254. Dwork pioneered the use of oral history as an enriching source.
11. See Hemmendinger and Krell, Children of Buchenwald , 21-40.
12. They are Izio Rosenman, Elie Buzyn, and the two Finkel brothers, all of whom became French citizens; Elie Wiesel, who became an American citizen; Binem Wrzonski, who settled in Israel and became a children s home director; and Israel Meir (Lolek) Lau, who served as Israel s chief rabbi, and his elder brother Naphtali (Lavi), who served as a diplomat, and in particular, represented Israel as a consul general abroad. The memoirs of the latter two have been analyzed, among others.
13. See Robert Finaly s narrative in chapter 6 .
14. For instance, as an introduction to his lecture Peter Suedfeld admitted that he did not consider himself a Holocaust survivor because he had not been in a concentration camp, but his psychologist and writer friend Robert Krell convinced him (together with another scholar) that he was entitled to this appellation. Suedfeld then attended the first international gathering of child holocaust survivors in New York City in 1984 and found there other friends and fellow social psychologists whose pasts as survivors presented similar points.
15. Letter of Paula Gris to the author, June 1991.
16. Helmreich, Against All Odds .
17. Kofman, Rue Ordener . Another case in point is Odette Abadi (born Rosenstock, who survived Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen) and also committed suicide after the death of her husband, Moussa Abadi, who was in the Jewish underground and, together with his wife, rescued more than 500 children from the searches of the Gestapo. To all appearances, Odette Abadi was a successful physician, well integrated into France. One possible explanation for her act, among a multiplicity of others, was the death of her beloved husband to whom she dedicated her autobiography. See Abadi, Terre de d tresse .
18. Saidel, Jewish Women of Ravensbr ck , 203. Ravensbr ck was the only major concentration camp for women, located about fifty miles north of Berlin. There, death resulted from harsh labor, starvation, torture, shooting, lethal injection, medical experiments, and gassing.
19. Helmreich, Against All Odds , 109.
20. Wieviorka, Era of the Witness , 145.
21. Grossmann, Jews, Germans and Allies , 6.
22. Grobman, Rekindling the Flame .
23. Ouzan, American Jewish Chaplains.
24. Sandrow, Vagabond Stars , 352.
25. Lewyn and Lewyn, On the Run , 317.
26. Crum, Behind the Silken Curtain , 128.
27. Interview with Jakub Finkel, Paris, June 1, 2014; interview with Abraham Tuszynsky, Givataym, Israel, April 2, 2015.

28. Levi, Reawakening .
29. Marrus, Unwanted , 181.
30. Meyer wrote a memoir initially intended for his family entitled The Last Train out of Berlin: Escape from Nazi Germany to the US via Shanghai, China. It was graciously given to me by his daughter Dvorah who lives in Israel with her family. We discussed a number of related issues when he came to Jerusalem in May 2012.
31. Dinnerstein, America and the Survivors , 117.
32. See the article by historian Abraham G. Duker, Admitting Pogromists, 21-27.
33. See Rystadt, Victims of Oppression.
34. Arendt, We Refugees. Reprinted in Marc Robinson, ed., Altogether Elsewhere: Writers on Exile (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1994), 110. Arendt was born in K nigsberg, Germany, in 1906.
35. Am ry, Mind s Limits , 48.
36. Mankowitz, Life , 69, 87. The same idea of a regenerative aspect of Zionism that has therapeutic and utopian overtones is developed by Cohen, In War s Wake , 127.
37. One of numerous examples is Third Report by Myriam Warburg, F hrenwald Hospital, November 15, 1945, Jerusalem, Central Zionist Archives, S26/1303.
38. Syrkin, DP Schools. On Syrkin s trajectory and legacy as a Zionist thinker, see Kessner, Marie Syrkin ; Syrkin, Why Partition?
39. Interview with Yehuda Bauer, April 7, 2015, Yad Vashem Institute of Holocaust Research, Jerusalem.
40. Immigration to the Land of Israel has for many centuries been called aliyah, literally going up. Thus immigrants are olim , those who go up to the Land of Israel.
41. Yablonka, Survivors , 142.
42. Grossmann, Jews, Germans and Allies , 250. For a detailed account of the conscription campaign in DP camps and on the role played by DPs in the creation of the State of Israel, see Patt, Finding Home , 237-68.
43. Danieli, Impact.
44. Rosenfeld, End of the Holocaust , 34.
45. Yablonka, Holocaust Survivors in Israel, 187. This point was confirmed in an interview with Yehuda Bauer at the Yad Vashem Institute, Jerusalem, April 7, 2015.
46. Edelheit, Holocaust, 97.
47. Dreyfus, Post-Liberation French Administration, 120-22.
48. See postface by Claude Daniel Vaislic, a cardiac surgeon, in Marie Vaislic, Seule quatorze ans , 178-79. In 2016, Jean Vaislic, Claude Vaislic s father, the only survivor of his whole family in Poland, also published his testimony (Interviews by Pierre Lasri).
49. Manfred Gerstenfeld interviewed Steven Cohen in 2009; see Gerstenfeld and Bayme, American Jewry s Comfort Level , 62.
50. Quoted by Gerstenfeld, ibid., 63.
51. Ouzan, New Roots.
52. Interview with Serge Klarsfeld, Jerusalem, December 7, 2010.
53. Suleiman, 1.5. Generation.
54. Diner, We Remember , 150-51.
55. Ibid., 189.
56. Bell, Reflections, 476. See also Ouzan, Eichmann Trial.
57. Ibid., 476.
Beginning Again in France
In most European countries, anti-Jewish feelings and discrimination against Jews did not disappear with the defeat of the Third Reich and its allies. In the spring of 1945, outbursts of antisemitism were common in the French capital. Ren e Poznanski observed postwar demonstrations: Antisemitic demonstrations took place in the 3rd, 4th, 11th, and 20th arrondissements (districts) of Paris. Demonstrators marched through the streets of Paris, shouting Jews to the crematoria. 1
To gain a better understanding of the experience of Jewish survivors, it is important to reflect on the way European countries received such people after the world conflict and to what extent they evolved into more tolerant societies while reconstructing themselves. In the case of France, one should bear in mind that Jews were called racial deportees ( d port s raciaux ) and they accounted for a minority of all the absentees ( les absents ) whose return the French people anticipated. Among them were resistance fighters, prisoners of war, political deportees, and labor conscripts. 2
In the spring of 1945, these heterogeneous groups began returning to France. However, while the majority of prisoners of war and war conscripts returned, as well as 60 percent of political deportees, there were only 2,500 survivors among the returnees of the 75,500 Jews who had been deported in seventy-nine convoys. 3 This high casualty rate did not deter anti-Jewish feelings overnight, as violent antisemitic demonstrations sometimes even received a sympathetic reception in the civil service, the police and certain resistance circles. 4
While Resistance fighters and prisoners of war in France were welcomed back, the Jews returning from deportation were looked down upon. 5
The Return of the Deportees
After the war, the media-particularly the newspapers-used misleading phrases such as Repatriation is over, as if all French citizens had found their homes again. For those whose families had perished in the concentration camps but who still hoped that some may return, this period was especially painful. 6 In the Hotel Lut tia, the grandest hotel on the Left Bank, which was taken over by the Gestapo during the war and later turned into an assembly center for the concentration camp survivors, a number of Jews in that situation found no one to welcome them or to rejoice that they were still alive. Again, they were made to feel unwanted, excluded from the general atmosphere of victory over Nazi Germany. 7
The Jews of France, the so-called French Jewish community, is a group that is difficult to define in the aftermath of World War II, and the scarcity of in-depth studies on this subject makes it all the more difficult. We may cynically note that during the Vichy period, a definition was provided for the term Jew, which included both the Jews who perceived themselves as such and those who inherited their Jewishness through genealogy but had renounced it, either by converting or through marriage outside the Jewish community. But once the Vichy legislation and Nazi jurisdiction were abolished, a number of questions were raised: Were the Jews a discrete minority in France? Did they form a community? How many were they after World War II? 8
Most of the Jews who had lived in France before the war, French Jews and foreigners alike, wished to continue living there. 9 However, in 1945, the HICEM (an organization established in Paris in 1927, resulting from the merger of three Jewish migration associations) recorded 3,000 candidates for emigration. Among them, 98 percent were foreign Jews who had come to France since 1933. These foreigners were primarily refugees from Germany, Austria, or Czechoslovakia and not immigrants. 10
Those who remained or returned to France applied for naturalization, which was granted easily for a limited period in the aftermath of World War II. Available statistics made no mention of ethnicity or religion, as required by the republican ethos. In 1945, 3,382 persons were naturalized, 14,163 in 1946, and 67,817 in 1947. Of those naturalized, a large number were Italians, but a great number of Jews can be identified in the lists of given names, surnames, and places of birth, essentially from central and eastern Europe. In 1949-1950, forty-three Zylberbergs with given names such as Chaim, Azriel, and Symcha acquired French citizenship. The same thing applied to eighteen Zylbermans and forty-one Zylbersteins. At the beginning of the 1980s, almost a quarter of the Jewish population of Paris had acquired French citizenship by way of naturalization. 11 Demographer Sergio DellaPergola and sociologist Doris Bensimon estimated that 93.7 percent of the 47,516 foreign Jews had become naturalized French citizens. Among them, 97.2 percent were Jews from eastern Europe. 12
Changing One s Name: Suppressing Jewishness?
Acquiring citizenship by a decree of naturalization and receiving permission for Jews to change their names were measures that indicated the return to republican ideals. In 1945, a special ordinance granted permission to change surnames for only a limited period of time, a process that was unusual in France, unlike in the United States, where it was more common, and in Israel, where it is expected. In France, it applied especially to members of the Resistance and to Jews who wished to be integrated into French society by ridding themselves of names that could betray a Jewish origin. Ironically, one had to prove that the name to be changed was Jewish-sounding in order to adopt a French-sounding name. The whole process was supervised by a division within the Ministry of Justice. 13 The Finkel brothers, whom I interviewed, said their change of names from Chaim and Yakub Finkelsztajn to Charles and Jacques Finkel, respectively, made things simpler. 14
Such a step was followed by the disappearance of any discriminatory mention in the administrative dossier of Jews who had been expelled from the civil service and who saw their dossier purged of any mention of their Jewishness upon the implementation of an ordinance of 1948. 15 However, the reestablished Republic did not specifically acknowledge the different fate of the Jews during World War II, nor the specific character of the Jewish Resistance.
The Unacknowledged Martyrdom of Jewish Deportees and Resistance Fighters
The extermination of Jews was acknowledged as part of French national martyrdom since Resistance fighters were deported to concentration camps, but in the war s aftermath Jewish fate was not granted any specific recognition. Nevertheless, as noted, the vast majority of Jews in France were reluctant to be singled out within the French nation. In fact, the memorial plaques French Jews placed in their synagogues to commemorate those who had died in the camps bore the inscription Morts pour la France (Fallen for France). 16 Even today, although the memory of the Holocaust still haunts, in French public discourse, only minor attention is given to the Jewish Resistance in France and in particular, to the Organisation juive de Combat , which played a major role in saving part of French Jewry. 17
Some ten years after the end of World War II, observers still noted the difficulty of determining which people were Jewish and how many of them belonged to the so-called Jewish community.

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