Jun 282011

In The Lost Children, Tara Zahra tells the heartbreaking stories of child survivors of World War II, whose fate was often decided by ideological battles, policy debates, and lingering ethnic tensions

Young Jewish displaced persons in Naples, Italy, en route to Palestine, 1945.

At the end of World War II, several hundred teenage boys who had managed to survive Buchenwald were invited by the Frenchgovernment to recuperate at a group home near Paris. One evening, the Buchenwald boys, as they became known, were served Camembert cheese as a special treat for dessert. To the shock of the (Jewish) staff, the boys began hurling the Camembert at the walls: Unfamiliar with the runny, smelly cheese, they believed that they were being served poisoned food, or else rotten food that wasn’t good enough for ordinary children.

This incident, recounted by Tara Zahra in her superb new book The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families After World War II (Harvard), is almost comic. But it hints at the profound challenges that faced the social workers and psychologists who made it their mission to help the youngest victims of the war. With the best will in the world, how could you gain the trust of children who had spent their youth in a place like Buchenwald? Even the experts, Zahra shows, despaired of the task.

Source: The Tablet Magazine
Read the full article here: Lost And Found

Jun 212011

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) acknowledges the significant step taken today with the passage of legislation by the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament) which provides for limited compensation for communal and religious property owned by the Jewish community of Lithuania before the Holocaust.

The law offers a small measure of justice and material compensation for those whose lives and communities were destroyed in the Holocaust.  In addition, some funds will be available in 2012 to assist needy, elderly Lithuanian survivors of Nazi persecution with medical and welfare needs.  Douglas Davidson, the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, remarked that “these complicated discussions, involving Lithuania and the WJRO, led to an important step being taken which addresses the historical record.  I very much hope that this will serve as an impetus for other governments to act appropriately.”

Source: World Jewish Restitution Organization.
Read the rest here: WJRO: Lithuania Property Law Is a Measure of Justice.