The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe's Families After World War II

The Lost Children Reconstructing Europe s Families After World War II During WWII an unprecedented number of families were torn apart As the Nazi empire crumbled millions roamed the continent in search of their loved ones The Lost Children tells the story of these fam

  • Title: The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe's Families After World War II
  • Author: Tara Zahra
  • ISBN: 9780674048249
  • Page: 298
  • Format: Hardcover
  • During WWII, an unprecedented number of families were torn apart As the Nazi empire crumbled, millions roamed the continent in search of their loved ones The Lost Children tells the story of these families and of the struggle to determine their fate.

    One thought on “The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe's Families After World War II”

    1. This book, by a recent MacArthur grant winner, is more readable than I expected but still not something I'd actively recommend to anyone who isn't in the habit of reading academic-press books. The author explores the myriad ways children were shuttled around after the end of World War II. Sometimes this was organized around emerging principles of what was best for children. Often it was at the behest of governments trying to boost their population (and with the most moldable and ethnically "supe [...]

    2. I think that while this book presents an excellent look at the children of Europe during and after World War II, there's no real flow to it as a whole. It reads like a series of essays or research papers on the various pieces of the puzzle in relation to children, with one chapter focusing on the Czech Republic while another focuses on the products of French and German mingling. There's very little clean segue between chapters. At the same time, however, the theses Zahra posits and her research [...]

    3. This was a good and somewhat depressing book. It was a scholarly book about what happened to children after WWII. Many children were orphans and many children were offspring of very mixed marriages (French mothers, German fathers). So everybody fought over these kids, and they thought that their country would give them the best hope in the future. For example, Jewish infants, given to French women to raise, when the parents were not found or known killed were fought over by the French "mothers," [...]

    4. Using lessons from WWI repatriation, social workers before, during and after WWII attempted to manage the flood of child refugees from Europe, but quickly became snagged in issues of uncharted psychological damage (why are these kids so unchildlike and ungrateful?), nationalism (some nations saw their lost children as a precious future resource, while others were unwanted), class issues (dirty poor kids with no table manners relocated to gentry homes in the countryside), gender (female survivors [...]

    5. Whew! Kind of a grim read for the start of the new semester, but it's a really worthwhile book if you're interested in the varying ideas about the importance of the family in national identity and the rebuilding of nation-states after WWII. I would have been helped if Zahra had openly mentioned or referred to historians of children and theory because I admittedly know very little about that, but a very good book overall.

    6. NO SOONER HAD I finished this fascinating book than I remembered the shattering scene in Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française when the teenage orphans whom a fatherly priest has been shepherding to the safety of a secluded chateau suddenly turn on him like a pack of wolves and stone him to death. It is an unforgettable moment that seems to sum up all the madness of France’s panic in the summer of 1940. Read more

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