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Their Childhood and the Holocaust

A Child’s Perspective in Polish Documentary and Autobiographical Literature


Justyna Kowalska-Leder

Children have a specific perception of the Holocaust: it did not destroy their earlier world view, but became the field of first experiences. This book focuses on the traumatic dimension of the Holocaust and how it is expressed (or left unexpressed) in children’s diaries. «Here and Now» under the German Occupation presents an analysis of diaries and school elaborations written in Polish by Jewish children during German Occupation . A Literary Return to Childhood during the Holocaust is dedicated to Polish retrospective literature, in which authors return to the experience of the Holocaust during their childhood years.
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More all less half way through his diary, on June 26, 1942 Janusz Korczak makes note of a difficulty well-known to many readers of literature in the form of personal documents:

I read it. Understood it with difficulty. And the reader? No wonder that the diary is incomprehensible for the reader. Is it possible in fact to understand someone’s recollections, a stranger’s life?

It would appear that I should know without problems what I write. Indeed! Is it possible to understand one’s own recollections?1

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