The rescue of Jewish girls and teenage women to England and the USA during the Holocaust: A gendered perspective

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This article deals with the lives and experiences of refugee girls and young women who found refuge in England and the United States during the Holocaust. Between 1934 and 1945 more than 12,600 unaccompanied children and teenagers from Central Europe between the ages of five and sixteen were shielded from Nazism in the Great Britain or the United States. In addition, approximately 1000 Jewish refugee children were brought to the United States by various refugee organizations prior to and during the war years. The experiences of girls and young women in this group were different than those of boys and young men, particularly with respect to foster parent preferences, immigration, resettlement and adaptation, treatment in the foster home, professional choices, and assimilation into a new society. This article discusses these differences from the standpoint of identity construction, socio-cultural adjustment problems and alienation-assimilation dialectics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-245
Number of pages23
JournalJewish History
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The legal status of refugee children in the USA differed from that of the children who had been brought to Britain. In November 1938, when the British government permitted the extraordinary entry of 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from the Reich, they were referred to as “transmigrants” and there was no intention of their remaining in the country after the war. In the USA, refugee children could only enter the country as legal immigrants within the existing quota system and were expected to remain in the United States. They were therefore subject to the official immigration procedure that required immigration visas and affidavits of financial support from an American citizen. Consequently, GJCA was granted a corporate affidavit by the US government under which they could bring in refugee children who had guaranteed and approved foster homes.15


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