How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives

How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives

France, the United States, and Israel
Françoise S. Ouzan
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/24/2018
ISBN: 978-0-253-03455-7
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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.

Author Bio

Françoise S. Ouzan is Senior Research Associate at the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center of Tel Aviv University. She has published widely on displaced persons, antisemitism, and American Jewry and is editor (with Dalia Ofer and Judy Tydor Baumel-Schwartz) of Holocaust Survivors, Resettlement, Memories, Identities and (with Manfred Gerstenfeld) of Postwar Jewish Displacement and Rebirth 1945–1967.


“Far from painting all survivors with a broad brush, Françoise S. Ouzan's careful ear and nuanced writing demonstrates that survivors have coped with their wartime trauma, loss of family, beginning lives anew, and more in various ways that cannot be easily categorized or simply generalized. Few works have done what this one does.”
 — Avinoam J. Patt, author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust

“This multi-disciplinary, comparative, intimate, and ultimately uplifting book recounts how Jewish survivors from the Holocaust rebuilt their lives in Israel, the United States, and France. Drawing upon individual case studies and decades of scholarly research, Françoise S. Ouzan shows that wartime experiences as well as the character of their new host countries made a difference for survivors, and that many of them, in diverse ways, transformed their suffering and emotional wounds into personal and social achievements. A valuable contribution to Holocaust Studies and the study of trauma.”
 — Jonathan D. Sarna, author (with Benjamin Shapell) of Lincoln and the Jews: A History

“The comparative approach of How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives is original and crucial to our understanding of how diverse political environments crystallized the differences and the similarities between the survivors who each experienced the persecution and war differently, whether in hiding, in camps, or fighting in the forests.”
 — Dalia Ofer, editor (with Shmuel Almog, David Bankier, and Daniel Blatman) of The Holocaust: The Unique and the Universal

“In sum, the conceptual contribution of this book is important: it is a synthesis that was missing about the paradox of a ‘distinct generation' wounded by their trials and yet, that came out reinforced from the destruction of the Jews. ”
 — Cahiers Bernard Lazare

“Françoise Ouzan has given the now elderly survivors one last opportunity to tell their stories and to ensure that they will be preserved for their children and the children of their children.”
 — Jewish Political Studies Review

“[Ouzan's] writing shines light to the world through the individual stories of people who came through darkness and showed us the way. It will certainly remain a book of courage, strength and inspiration.”
 — The Jerusalem Report

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