Archival Material as a Source in Uncovering the Identity of Holocaust Survivors

  • Lea Balint


My work with the phenomenon of ‘children with lost identity’ began totally by chance. It happened one day in 1991, when I was at the Yad Vashem Library, studying testimonies given immediately after the end of the war by children who had survived the Holocaust in Poland. A man in his fifties asked me if I could help him discover his identity, i.e., his name and his biological family. His young son was about to celebrate his bar mitzvah, and to be called to the Torah a boy should know his father’s Hebrew name. The man explained that he was embarrassed to tell his son that he knew nothing about himself and his past. During the war, he said, a Polish family had rescued him and had given him its name; at the end of the war, no one from his own family came to reclaim him. He had strong memories of being taken from the Polish family to a Jewish orphanage in 1946 and, together with other war orphans, being resettled in Palestine.


Child Survivor Archival Material Computer File Holocaust Survivor Jewish Organization 
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Hebrew Sources

  1. Efraim Dekel, Survivors of the Sword, Rescue of Children in and after the Holocaust, A-B (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defence Publishing House, 1963).Google Scholar
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Polish Sources

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lea Balint

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