War Orphans Find Home: Child Holocaust Survivors and US Adoptions

This program was sponsored by the “Hear Their Cry: Understanding the Jewish Orphan Experience” Scholars Working Group, which has been meeting at the Center for Jewish History since September 2019. Soon after the conclusion of WWII, American Jewish families began to express interest in adopting young Jewish war orphans. Prompted by the fundraising images of child survivors that peppered the postwar press, letters of inquiry quickly reached the offices of Jewish communal workers. Their interest belied the reality; there were few surviving orphans to be had. Nevertheless, estimates suggest more than a thousand arrived to families in the war's immediate aftermath. Using images from the postwar US press, this lecture will highlight the fraught experience of those destined for the United States who were both children and survivors of the Holocaust.

Also Available in the Archive