Story Idea: “Never has childhood been so assailed and tormented since the beginning of man.” Children in WWII
Expert: Dr Bozena Cierlik (Expert in European and Political History) Lecturer in the School of History, UCC.
The Hook: The end of WWII brought physical and psychological problems to survivors but especially to children who experienced the horrors of concentration camps and Nazi racial plans. Polish and Jewish youth played a major role in the resistance. Polish children selected for Germanisation were sent to Nazi organisations and adoption families in Germany. Younger generation in Europe was cut off from normal, hopeful life. Forced to become independent early in their lives, these children had to develop skills to survive – they cheated, deceived, stole; dishonesty was crucial to their survival. After the war it was deemed as anti-social behaviour. Children lost faith not only in their parents who could not protect them, but also in the entire culture they shared.
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