The topic of Dividing Hearts is the separation trauma suffered by many hidden children who were hastily, often clumsily removed from the Polish Gentiles who had become surrogate parents, people who had willingly accepted the dangers placed upon them to protect their little charges. Conditions were different for each child. Sometimes they were absorbed openly into the family, but other times they had to remain hidden— even from other members of the family. In the families where they were absorbed and contributed to the welfare of the family, as in rural families, the parting was especially painful. Polish Jewish soldiers in the Russian army searched for Jewish children in whatever town they reached. Sometimes, surviving parents or relatives who knew where their children were, returned and claimed them. Others remained in the neighborhood and tried to contact the child again and again or to get rescuers in the form of the Red army, or the NKVD — the Soviet Secret Police — to obtain the child for return to a family member. Many of the Jewish children who spent the war years in Polish Christian homes were now anti-Semitic and could not identify with a Jewish environment. The Conclusion and Appendices are extremely helpful in further clarifying an often muddled situation.
Dividing Hearts: The Removal of Jewish Children from Gentile Families in Poland in the Immediate Post Holocaust Years
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.
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