The vibrant lives of Jewish children during the Holocaust

Debórah Dwork, a noted historian, shares her illuminating Holocaust research

Image: Deborah DworkWhen people think about Jewish children during the Holocaust, the image of an emaciated and listless child might come to mind. But that image couldn't be farther from the truth, according to author Debórah Dwork.

On Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Dwork, a noted historian, will share her illuminating research on the subject at Fairfield University. Free and open to the public, the talk - "Creativity in the Midst of Catastrophe: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe" - will be held in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. Please call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066, to reserve a seat. The event is sponsored by Fairfield University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. The lecture is part of Dr. Dwork's two-day campus visit as the 2014 Judaic Studies Scholar-in-Residence, an annual program sponsored through the generosity of Edith and David Chaifetz.

Dr. Dwork is the Rose Professor of Holocaust History and founding director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "We almost see [Jewish children] through the Germans' eyes as passive and trapped," she said of her upcoming lecture. "They may have been trapped, but they certainly were not passive! At no point were Jewish children sitting around, waiting for whatever fate the Germans had in store for them. On the contrary, they were thinking and doing, dreaming and active. In my talk, I will explore those daily life activities from the children's perspective."

Dr. Dwork was one of the first historians to study the Holocaust and collect oral histories from Holocaust survivors. She uses a variety of sources, including government and philanthropic agency archives, newspapers, letters, memoirs and interviews to understand the causes and impacts of the Holocaust and other genocides of the twentieth century.

She is the author of the now classic book, "Children with a Star" (Yale University Press, 1993), also the subject of a documentary of the same name. Among her other books is "Flight From the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933-1946" (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012).

"In my work as a historian of the Holocaust, I focus on people, individual people, each of whom was unique," said Dr. Dwork. "The historical patterns I identify and trace emerge as an aggregate of each child's history, each situation, each phase of this terrible life and horrific death during the Holocaust years."

For more information about the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, visit their website.

"Creativity in the Midst of Catastrophe: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe." Dr. Debórah Dwork, Rose Professor of Holocaust History, and director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University.

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., Dolan School of Business Dining Room. Free.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on September 22, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 58

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