CFP: Issues Pertaining to Guardianship of Child Survivors

Sharon Kangisser Cohen's picture
Call for Papers
June 26, 2023 to June 27, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Childhood and Education, European History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies


The Diana and Eli Zborowski Center for the Study of the Aftermath of the Holocaust

2023 Annual Workshop on the Aftermath of the Holocaust

Call for Papers

Issues Pertaining to Guardianship of Child Survivors

June 26–27, 2023

Zoom Research Workshop

In the immediate post-war period, it was estimated that approximately 150,000 Jewish children and adolescents survived the Holocaust in Europe. Most of these children survived in hiding because their parents, Jewish organizations, or rescue networks placed them with non-Jewish families or in religious institutions. Other children arrived at these places on their own. At times, abandoned children were collected and placed in state orphanages. When the war ended, a highly emotional issue was raised regarding the post-Holocaust custody of Jewish children rescued by Christian families or institutions. The postwar situation brought many challenges to both the hidden children, the rescuers, surviving relatives, and the surviving Jewish community. In some instances, the justice system of individual countries was involved in determining guardianship. Some of these children were returned immediately to surviving relatives and Jewish organizations. Others remained with their rescuers, which led to searches primarily by the Jewish community.

This workshop invites scholars to present new research on the complex questions relating to guardianship of child survivors in the postwar period. Scholarship has recently begun to reexamine the complex issues and realities surrounding custody and guardianship of these children. This is largely because of access to new documentation, but also due to the realization of the trauma that the children experienced as a result of this complex and emotional issue, raising new questions about the early postwar period.

Possible topics include:

Children’s agency in determining guardianship

Court cases involving a child’s custody

The issues of “signing” custody over children during the war

The perspective of parents at the time and in hindsight regarding the reclaiming of their children

Religious institutions and retrieval

The views of various Christian churches on returning converts

The kidnapping of Jewish children

The adoption processes of child survivors

Guardianship under Youth Aliya

Guardianship and the Kindertransport

Long-term relations between child survivors and their guardians

Psychological research on long-term effects of child survivors under guardianship


The workshop will be led by Sharon Kangisser-Cohen and Eliot Nidam, The International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem.



Application Details:

  • Please send your paper proposal of no more than 100 words and a short 150-word biography by March 30, 2023 to
  • Papers will be 20 minutes in length.
  • Applicants will be notified by April 30, 2023 of their inclusion in the program.