Date: August 2012
Creator: Decoster, Charlotte Marie-Cecile Marguerite
Description: The phenomenon of rescue organizations that devoted themselves specifically to hiding and saving Jewish children appeared throughout Nazi-occupied Western Europe (France, Belgium, and the Netherlands). Jewish and non-Jewish rescuers risked their lives to save thousands of children from extermination. This dissertation adds to the historiographical understanding of Holocaust resistance by analyzing the efforts of these child rescue organizations as a form of “survival resistance.” Researching the key aspects of traditional resistance (conscious intent, extensive organization, and effective turn-out) demonstrates that, while child rescue did not present armed resistance, it still was a form of active resistance against the Nazi Final Solution. By looking at rescuers’ testimonies and archival sources (from Yad Vashem, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Centre de documentation juive contemporaine, and Kazerne Dossin), this dissertation first outlines the extensive organization and intent of Jewish rescue groups, such as the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE) and Comité de défense des Juifs (CDJ), in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The second part looks at rescue organization and intent by Catholic, Protestant, and humanitarian groups. The dissertation concludes by discussing the effectiveness of organized child rescue. In the end, the rescue groups saved thousands of children and proofs that Child ...
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