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Jewish Children and the Holocaust

I try to understand, to at least
comprehend the past - the Holocaust.
Still, I cannot. I am left staring out
over the abyss, into the void.
- Paul Zeslis

Between 1939 and 1945, the Nazis murdered 1.2 million Jewish children as part of the "Final Solution." Although children were not specifically targeted because of their age, they did occupy a unique place in the Nazi mind. Children represented the future potential of the Jewish race to propagate and thrive. For the Nazis, this meant that killing or sterilizing children was all the more crucial in order to completely eradicate world Jewry. Children under the age of 15 or 16 had little hope of surviving in Nazi occupied territories. Too young and too weak to perform hard physical labor, they were usually sent directly to the death camps. Amazingly, some Jewish children managed to survive by living in hiding, or escaping Germany before the genocide began.

Surviving the trauma of the Holocaust meant living a life compounded by problems. Along with daily emotional turmoil, many child survivors experienced guilt and shame for escaping death while their parents or other family members perished. Children who escaped to other countries, such as the United States, often grew up thinking they were the only Jewish children to survive. Parents rarely encouraged their children to discuss their traumatic experiences, assuming the children were too young to remember. Even those who acknowledged a child's memories sometimes dismissed them as fantastic or unreliable.

My hope is that this website will give credence to the memories of child survivors, as well as memorialize those youngsters not lucky enough to survive. You can read the stories of individual Jewish children, and also learn about the psychological effects of social trauma on the very young. I've also included my own opinion on the controversy surrounding Benjamin Wilkomirski's book, Fragments. For more information on children of the Holocaust, and on the Holocaust in general, please look at the lists of web links and book resources. Thank you for visiting this site.

Their Stories:

Those Who Survived

Those Who Perished

Benjamin Wilkomirski: Memory Thief?

Learning and Healing:

Children and Trauma

Links on the WWW

Books and Sources

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This Jewish History Ring site is owned by Vickie Fernandes

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