Research Update: A Time to Rebuild: The Education and Rehabilitation of Jewish Children in Postwar Germany and Poland, 1945 – 1953

By Nikki Freeman, PhD Candidate in History

Center for Jewish History in NYC

Displaced children and incomplete families were a major international concern among governments, nations, and humanitarian organizations in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. My dissertation studies the rehabilitation, care, and education of Jewish children after the Holocaust in Poland and the US Zone of Allied-occupied Germany. I specifically focus on children’s centers, orphanages, schools, and summer camps as transnational sites where competing relief organizations and Zionist youth movements aimed to influence the future of Jewish life on the local level. Thanks to funding from the Global Mobility Project, I was able to spend three weeks at the Center for Jewish History in New York City conducting archival research for my dissertation.

During my time at the Center for Jewish History, I was particularly interested in learning more about Jewish infiltree children. In 1946, the US Zone in Germany received an influx of Jewish refugees, known as “infiltrees,” who fled from postwar antisemitism in Eastern Europe. I read one archival report that estimated that 76,924 infiltrees entered the US Zone between June and November 1946. Of that number, 13,878 were children. It is important to note that the majority of Jewish infiltree children were from Poland. Their wartime experiences can be divided into three categories. The largest group were children who fled with their parents to central Soviet Union or western Ukraine in September 1939. Then at the end of 1939 or early 1940, they were transported to Siberia. The second group were Polish Jews who lived in the area invaded by the German army in September 1939, but then were ceded to the Soviet Union and occupied by the Red Army. Finally, the third group were Jews who could not escape and stayed in Poland. Some were sent to ghettos and concentration camps while others hid on the Aryan side or in the woods with partisans.

Inside the Center for Jewish History – the Reading Room

In 1946, approximately 2,458 unaccompanied infiltree children entered the US Zone usually in kibbutz groups. They were organized under the care of youth leaders known as madrichim. Each kibbutz had its own political, social, and religious philosophies and teachings. They came to Germany with the intention of eventually immigrating to Palestine. The Child Welfare Division of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) accepted responsibility for providing care for unaccompanied Jewish infiltree children in the US Zone. They coordinated with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Central Committee for Liberated Jews. Archival documents suggest that this was not an easy task, and they encountered many problems.

For example, many unaccompanied infiltree children were not orphans. In fact, many had one or even both of their parents. Jewish families gave up their children to kibbutzim for many reasons. Unaccompanied children received better care and provisions, and they were given priority to leave Poland sooner. Once they reached the US Zone, they temporarily stayed at a reception center and then transferred to a more permanent children’s center. According to one report by Susan Pettis (child infiltree officer of UNRRA), this caused further problems because when the families learned that their children were not going to move immediately through Germany, they began appearing at centers to claim the children as their own. Pettis wrote that the Jewish children experienced emotional conflict because they had become attached to the kibbutz. It was also difficult to prove the relationship between the child and relative. In other cases, these children were under a lot of pressure from the Zionist youth movements and did not really want to go to Palestine. UNRRA had to intervene and remove the child in these particular situations because they believed “a child’s wishes should be recognized.” My larger project exposes tensions between these competing organizations and youth movements that all claimed to have the child’s best interests in mind.

Receiving the Global Mobility Project grant allowed me to finish an essential portion of my doctoral research in the US, and now I am able to focus on my archival research in Europe. I look forward to sharing my research in the near future at academic conferences.

Undergraduate/Faculty Mentorship Grant

The Global Mobility Project at Ohio State (#GlobalMobilityOSU) funded by the Humanities and Arts Discovery Theme invites applications for our grants programs for research and creative work on the topic of global mobility. We shall consider research and creative project proposals on all aspects of mobility and migration, regardless of geographical, historical, or thematic focus.  This semester, we are offering undergraduate/faculty mentorship grants (in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research).  Our next deadline for Undergraduate/Faculty Mentor Grants is November 13, 2017.

Please check the following CFPs:

Global Mobility Undergraduate and Faculty Mentorship Grants

 

Spring 2017 Grant Recipients

Undergraduate Global Mobility Grant Recipients

Graduate Student Global Mobility Grant Recipients

Faculty Global Mobility Grant Recipients

Research Update: The African Slave Trade, American Slaves, and the Migration of Black Mythology

by Carley Reinhard
Faculty Mentor: Stephanie Shaw

Professor Stephanie Shaw with Carley Reinhard at the Denman Forum

Having been awarded one of the Global Mobility Project undergraduate research grants, I was afforded the opportunity to conduct research at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. this summer. In the Rare Manuscripts Reading Room at the Library of Congress, I was able to retrieve documents from the Work Project Administration’s Federal

 

Writer’s Project papers, specifically interviews of former slaves completed during the late 1930s. Further, I was able to access secondary literature on both folktales and American slavery. In doing so, I completed the primary background research I needed to begin developing and writing my research paper on the migration of black mythology this fall. Professor Stephanie Shaw, my research advisor, also was able to come to D.C. and work with me for a few days thanks to the Global Mobility Project grant.

My research focuses on the mythology presented in many of these interviews. Hundreds of accounts detail the folktales that slaves grew up hearing in their communities. These folk stories reflect aspects of the larger development of African American culture, as well as how it evolved from the forced migrations of Africans to America and subsequent movement of African American slaves from the Upper-South to the Lower South and Southwest as slavery expanded across the United States. As people voluntarily leave a place or are involuntarily uprooted from their homelands, whether for economic, social political or environmental reasons, they bring their cultural heritage with them. Consequently, where these stories were continuously told and how they were adapted speaks to the survival of African culture in the diaspora as well as the development of African American culture.

Specifically, this research seeks to explore the mythology that traveled with these individuals. A group of these stories focused on the initial capture, the transportation (across the Atlantic), the enslavement, and any subsequent relocations they endured. These stories also focused on deception and power. The deception usually involved having been lured to a slave ship by the display of certain trinkets. Over time and across space, however, these stories changed and evolved based on new circumstances. They not only have survived the forced, transatlantic journey from Africa, but gained new significance and were readapted for new purposes within the United States. My research this summer, working directly with these narratives, laid the groundwork for this project.

 

The Madison Building (LOC) where Carley did the bulk of her research this summer

In September, I was fortunate to be able to present my research thus far at the Fall Denman Poster Forum. I am also applying to present my research at the AHA annual meeting in January, which would be an incredible opportunity to share my research with scholars. I am taking five credit hours in order to continue to develop my research into a paper. Ultimately, myproject will provide a more complete understanding of both the significance of African American folklore and how the international slave trade and subsequent migrations of slaves in the U.S. influenced black mythology across time, oceans, and continents.

 

Undergraduate Research/Faculty Mentorship Grants

The Global Mobility Project at Ohio State (#GlobalMobilityOSU) funded by the Humanities and Arts Discovery Theme invites applications for our grants programs for research and creative work on the topic of global mobility. We shall consider research and creative project proposals on all aspects of mobility and migration, regardless of geographical, historical, or thematic focus.  This semester, we are offering undergraduate/faculty mentorship grants (in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research).  Our next deadline for Undergraduate/Faculty Mentor Grants is November 13, 2017.

Please check the following CFPs:

Global Mobility Undergraduate and Faculty Mentorship Grants

 

Spring 2017 Grant Recipients

Undergraduate Global Mobility Grant Recipients

Graduate Student Global Mobility Grant Recipients

Faculty Global Mobility Grant Recipients

Fall Undergraduate Research Forum

Presented by OUR&CI and the University Libraries, the Fall Undergraduate Research Forum is a stepping stone to larger venues such as the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

The 2017 Fall Forum is scheduled for Thursday, September 14 in Thompson Library. The event is open to the general public.

Four students who are presenting at the Fall Undergraduate Research Forum participated in our Spring Undergraduate/Faculty-Mentor Grant Program.  Learn more about their projects below.

Gretchen Klingler

Session 1: 11:00am-12:15pm

Student Presenter: Gretchen Klingler
Booth Number: 40
Research Mentor: Jeffrey Cohen
Project Title: More Than Babel: Opening the Door to Iraqi Women’s Narratives on Migration, Assimilation and Hopes for the Future

Abstract: The President’s executive order regarding immigrants and refugees entering the United States from seven Muslim majority countries has been questioned heavily for the last 6 months. However, resettled families already in the United States continue to face a steady and increasing stream of xenophobic and anti-Islamic rhetoric. My work is centered specifically on Iraqi women as they confront life and establish themselves in the U.S. Building upon my

 

experiences as a translator during my time in Iraq, I have a unique opportunity to interview in both English and the Iraqi dialect of Arabic. My background knowledge and understanding of Iraqi culture facilitates my research and helps me build bridges with my informants. I have developed my project around my contacts in the Iraqi communities located in California Bay Area (San Francisco/Monterey), and Columbus and Dayton, Ohio. The research is framed within the theory of Feminist Anthropology, and Parin Dossa’s work with Iranian women in Canada (Politics and Poetics of Migration: Narratives of Iranian Women from the Diaspora (2004, Canadian Scholars Press)) guides my ethnographic study. I discern how women’s narratives differ in relation to their experiences and how their experiences fit into the larger social realities of settlement. How Iraqi women respond to their new and changing environment is at the center of my project. Are Iraqi women looking forward to the future? Are they taking new precautions as they adapt to increasing Islamophobia? Do they hope to return to more culturally traditional roles or do they look to embrace new opportunities and express their agency in new ways? More than storytellers managing their own lives, my discussion of how Iraqi women narrate their experiences in response to xenophobia will reflect their changing roles as women in their communities,

and the process of assimilation and settlement in the U.S.

Read Gretchen’s blog post about her summer research.

Andreas Moghimi-Danesh

Session 2: 1:00-2:15pm

Student Name: Andreas Moghimi-Danesh
Booth Number: 62
Research Mentor: Alexander Wendt
Project Title: Towards a Just Acquisition of Citizenship

Abstract: Despite widespread use of the term “citizenship,” there is much debate in the literature with regards to what citizenship entails and how exactly it is acquired. Legal scholars, philosophers, historians, and political scientists alike have all advanced arguments across their disciplines to either support or undermine different models of citizenship and citizenship acquisition. For example, while 97% of citizens obtain citizenship jus sanguinis or jus soli, meaning citizenship by right of blood and by right of soil, respectively, there exist many moral and legal objections to these models. In my research, I examine Ayalete Shachar’s The Birthright Lottery, which essentially serves as Shachar’s entry into this ideological race. Contrary to traditional definitions of citizenship, Ayalete Shachar’s The Birthright Lottery posits that citizenship is an inherited property. While this theory advances general moral theorizations and assessments of trends such as nativism, it fails to address the jurisprudential ramifications of labeling an entity such as citizenship as being property, specifically an inherited property. In pursuit of satiating the absence of a jurisprudential nexus in Shachar’s argument, this paper applies the logic of various legal theories of property to modern models of the just acquisition of citizenship. In doing so, this paper will demonstrate how Shachar’s taxonomization of citizenship as property is an equivocation with dangerous consequences. Ultimately, once this “stress test” has been applied to Shachar’s argument, it will be clear that on normative and practical levels, Shachar’s entry is as insufficient as it is threatening to the establishment of a more just acquisition of Citizenship in the modern day.

Carley Reinhard

Session 2: 1:00-2:15pm

Student Name: Carley Reinhard
Booth Number: 77
Research Mentor: Stephanie Shaw
Project Title: Examining African American Slave Migrations through Folklore in the W.P.A. Ex-Slave Narratives

Abstract: During the 1930s, as part of the W.P.A. Federal Writer’s project, over 2,000 interviews of former slaves were completed. These interviews were transcribed and compiled into a grand collection of first-person accounts of all the former slaves who could be located at the time. Within many of these narratives, hundreds of accounts detail folktales the slaves grew up hearing in their communities. The development of these folk stories, which seem unique to African American slaves in their specifics if not in their generalities, reflect aspects of the larger development of African American culture that arose due to forced migration from Africa and, for some, their movement from the upper-South to the Lower South and Southwest as slavery expanded in the United States. Thus, these stories, along with other aspects of African American culture, arose in part as a product of the intersection of traditional African folklore and new circumstance. This research seeks to explore these stories, determining their origin and tracing their development and their dispersal. This will not only contribute to the current studies of the African Diaspora, but it will also contribute greatly to studies of the inter- and intrastate migrations of slaves that never delve into the culture of slaves and to the cultural studies of slavery that don’t pay much attention to the migrations of slaves. It is my hope through the course of this research to arrive at a more complete understanding of both the significance of African American folklore and the factors, including migration, that shaped it.

George Andrei

Session 3: 2:45-4:00pm

Student Presenter: George Andrei
Booth Number: 4
Research Mentor: Nicholas Breyfogle
Project Title: Nationality before Nationalism: Ethnic Politics, Geopolitics, and the Sustainability of the Magyar Kingdom in the East (1191-1400)

Abstract: The medieval kingdom of Hungary, founded by St. Stephan, was a patchwork of many ethnicities–Germans, Hungarians, Vlachs, Szekelys, and many others–sedentary and nomadic, Catholic and Orthodox. It was also situated on the very eastern border of Western Christendom; as such, its defense was of vital importance not solely to the local rulers, but for Rome as well. One group–itself multiethnic in nature–was made up of German colonists to southeastern Transylvania. First arriving in the middle of the XII century, the Saxons, as they are known collectively today, settled near several Vlach “countries”: simple confederations of Vlach villages which held significant sway over their domains. The Vlachs, predecessors of modern Romanians, had presences in modern Romania and Serbia, and spoke Latin-based dialects. My research explores how the Vlachs and Saxons would later come to play vital roles in maintaining the Hungarian Kingdoms domains in the east. I argue that the Saxons were, from the beginning of their colonization, used as a tool by the Hungarian Crown and other authority figures in the region to expand, stabilize, and dominate the area: drawing in, after the Mongol invasions, desperately needed manpower, taxes, and support from the local populations. Reading a plethora of published sources by Hungarian, German, Romanian and other historians, both contemporary and more antiquated, as well as archived primary sources from the Romanian national archives, I will argue that the Hungarian authorities enabled the Saxons to flourish by granting specific privileges, which allowed the Hungarian kingdom to acquire land, peoples, and thus providing greater stability in the east. This research provides another view at the long history of ethnic and religious minority groups used by authorities to fill certain societal roles, one from an area often overlooked by Western historians.

Read George’s blog post about his research here.

 

*Photos by George Andrei and Theodora Dragostinova

The process of making “Erasure of fallen dust” and “Ethnographer/Photographer, Corona, Queens”

by Sa’dia Rehman

ROY G BIV Gallery is currently exhibiting work by Nayeon Yang and Sa’dia Rehman. Yang’s live-feed videos and projections fill the gallery with ethereal iterations of its visitors. Rehman’s multidisciplinary installations discuss language and her upbringing in a Muslim-American household. The work of both artists will be on display May 6–27 at 997 N High St. Hours: 1– 6 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.  

Below is an artist statement by Sa’dia Rehman in which she discusses the thought process behind her work. 

Making of Erasure Fallen Dust

The works included in my solo exhibition at ROY G BIV Gallery are:

  • a wall drawing titled Erasure of Fallen Dust, 2017
  • a drawing on paper titled Bul Bul ka Bacha, A Rhyme, 2016
  • three 4 x 6 photographs titled A Family Garden, 2016
  • and a video titled Ethnographer/Photographer, Episode 3: Corona/Queens, New York, 2017

Making of Erasure Fallen Dust

The wall drawing and the video are supported by a grant from the Global Mobility Project at Ohio State University, an Arts & Humanities Discovery Theme Pilot Project

The wall drawing continued to evolve in the gallery and in my studio, rejecting the possibility of resolution and in support of the unfinished. My work addresses a void in contemporary visual art: the imagery of the Muslim family and its artifacts are essentially absent outside of depictions of war and violence abroad. Much of my work is rooted in narratives from my own experience and my family. For me the unfinished are these narratives and these thoughts, yet to be visible.

Making of Erasure Fallen Dust

My work engages the unfinished as method, material, and process. By focusing on the unfinished, the work rejects the idea that any work is finished or fixed. Instead the work turns the viewer to focus on the process of art-making. It points to the subjectivity, rather than objectivity, of the artist as art-maker, and the viewer as consumer. Rather than suggest a stable truth, it suggests that we are all unfinished, changing, evolving. There is no complete, or possibility of complete, in the work: I am more interested in the relational and dynamic aspect of understanding and meaning making. The work deals with issues for which there are no answers. These issues exist in ever-shifting and polarized terrain–which makes understanding between the artist and the viewer near impossible.

Nayeon and Erasure Fallen Dust

My ongoing video series, Ethnographer/Photographer plays with concepts of language, power, belonging, and framing, as well as travel, tourism, voyeurism, and study. I use the word “ethnographer” in the title of this work knowing that this work is not a thorough study of human culture. However, the work uses elements of ethnography- observations, documentation, and records. I am the subject, the viewer, and the storyteller interacting with a city.

Still from EthnoPhoto Corona

In earlier episodes of this work, I engaged with strangers and requested that they take photos of me. As I lend my camera to passersby, a non-verbal exchange of power occurred. The stranger became the photographer, positioned my body, directed my facial expressions, and composed the photograph. These simple gestures unfold into friendly conversations, revelatory stories, and momentary companionships. I then created a performance and video with the photographs and my accompanying journal entries. The interactions have lasted from five minutes to two days. However, I reveal just a few details of these interactions.

Still from EthnoPhoto Corona

For the episode exhibited at ROY G BIV, I visited my childhood neighborhood of Corona and walked the streets for days. Many of the paths I walked traced the steps I ran around while a child growing up in Queens, New York. During my walk, I realized that this episode couldn’t follow the same formula as noted above. I felt that I needed to capture my walk by attaching my camera to my body. This episode is an unedited version of a twenty-minute walk from the 103rd street subway station to Masjid Al-Falah to what once was my dad’s halal meat shop now a barber shop, my childhood home, the firehouse across the street, the former Tiffany glass factory, P.S. 19Q, and the corner bodega.

Artist talk: Saturday May 20th 2:30 PM at
ROY G BIV Gallery
997 N. High Street
Columbus, OH

Studio

Sa’dia Rehman copies, assembles, and disassembles family photographs, intimate and ritual objects, and visual and written language as a way to explore the limits and possibilities of self and collective being. Through collages, stencils, installations, and photo/video, she explores states of in-between, past and present, belonging and desire.  She is currently exploring the role of walls in constructing interior and exterior spaces. Rehman has shared her work at Urban Art Space (2017), ROYGBIV (2017), Twelve Gates (2016), Center for Book Arts (2015), Local Projects (2014), Queens Museum (2012), Brooklyn Museum (2010), and Grey Noise (2008). She was selected for the Global Mobility grant (2017), Rasquache Residency in Puebla Mexico (2016), LMCC’s Artists Summer Institute (2011), AIM Bronx Museum (2008), and a residency at the National Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan (2006). Her work has been featured inThe New York Times, Harper’s, Art Papers, and ColorLines. She will have a solo show at Pearl Conard Gallery, Mansfield, OH in January 2018. Rehman received her MFA from Ohio State University (2017) and her MA in Art History at City College, CUNY (2006).    

Global Mobility Project Grant Recipients

Our faculty and undergraduate/mentor grant recipients in attendance at the Global Gallery exhibit opening. (L-R) Stephanie Shaw (faculty mentor), Carley Reinhard (undergraduate), George Andrei (undergraduate), Executive Dean Peter Hahn (Divisional Dean, Arts & Humanities), Hannah Kosstrin (faculty), Dean David Manderscheid (Vice Provost for the Arts and Sciences and Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences), Arati Maleku (faculty), Ryan Skinner (faculty), Gretchen Klingler (undergraduate), Daniel Roberts (faculty), Jeffrey H. Cohen (faculty mentor)

The Global Mobility Project at Ohio State (#GlobalMobilityOSU) funded by the Humanities and Arts Discovery Theme invited applications for our newly-established grants programs for research and creative work on the topic of global mobility. We considered research and creative project proposals on all aspects of mobility and migration, regardless of geographical, historical, or thematic focus.  We offered three tiers of grants: undergraduate research and mentorship grants (in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research), grad student grants, and faculty grants.

Undergraduate Grant Recipients

  • George Andrei (History), mentored by Dr. Nicholas Breyfogle (History) – Ethnic Politics, Geopolitics, and Sustainability of the Magyar Kingdom in the East (1191-1400)
  • Gretchen Klingler (Anthropology), mentored by Dr. Jeffrey H. Cohen (Anthropology) – Collecting Narratives of Iraqi Women Living in the US
  • Andreas Moghimi-Danesh (World Politics), mentored by Dr. Alexander Wendt (Political Science) – Citizenship and The Birthright Lottery
  • Carley Reinhard (Philosophy) mentored by Dr. Stephanie Shaw (History, WGSS, and African American and African Studies) – Examining African American Slave Migrations through Folklore in the W.P.A. Ex-Slave Narratives

Graduate grant recipients

  • Natalia Zotova (Anthropology) Research Grant.  Religious affiliation, complex insecurities and stress: Central Asian Muslim immigrants in the U.S.  Project advisor: Jeffrey Cohen
  • Sa’dia Rehman (Visual Art) Creative Grant.  Ethnographer/ Photographer, Episode 3: New York.  Project advisor: Suzanne Silver
  • Eleanor Paynter (Comparative Studies
) Research Grant.  Local Factors in Refugee Mobility and Integration: Oral Histories in Central Italy.  Project advisor: Amy Shuman.
  • Carolin Mueller (Germanic Languages and Literatures
) Research Grant.  Tracing interactions and transformations in contemporary arts-based protest movements.  Project advisor: Dorothy Noyes
  • James Leow (Spanish and Portuguese) Research Grant. The voice of Mexican migrant workers.  Project advisor: Terrell A. Morgan
  • Nikki Freeman (History)  Research Grant.  A Time to Rebuild: The Education and Rehabilitation of Jewish Children in Postwar Germany and Poland, 1945 – 1953.  Project advisor: Robin Judd
  • Barbara Roth (Political Science)  Research Grant.  Post-Conflict Departure: Explaining Mass Migration Patterns After Genocide. Project advisor: Amanda Robinson
  • Josh Truett (Theatre and Sexuality Studies) Creative Grant.  Borders/Crossings/Dwellers.  Project advisor: Ana Elena Puga
  • Mary McKay (Sociology) Research Grant.  This project aims to understand how the experiences of adult Somalian refugees influence mental and physical health.  Project advisor: Cynthia Colen
  • Randall Rowe (Russian and Slavic Studies)  Research Grant.  The goal of this project is to learn more about the individual journeys of immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet Union in the larger context of immigration to America.  Project advisor: Yana Hashamova
  • Brian Seilstad (Education)  Research Grant.  Looking at adolescent newcomer programs in schools.  Project advisor: Leslie C. Moore
  • Ali Isse (City and Regional Planning)  Research Grant.  Does City Policy Matter in Immigrant Integration? A Two-City Comparison among New African Immigrant Groups.  Project Advisor: Bernadette Hanlon
  • Renae Sullivan (History) Research Grant.  The position of South Asian female immigrant university students entering the United States, from 1917 to 1990, and the ways they impacted their receiving communities.  Project advisor: Mytheli Sreenivas
  • Sara Halpern (History) Good-Bye, Shanghai!: The Emigration of European Jewish Families, 1945-1951.   Project advisor: Robin Judd

Honorable Mention

  • Kelly Yotebieng (Anthropology) Research Grant.  Urban marginality and household resilience among Rwandan urban refugees in Cameroon.  Project advisor: Jennifer Syvertsten

Faculty Grant Recipients

  • Lynn Itagaki (English, WGSS, Asian American Studies) The European Refugee Crisis and the Ends of Human Rights Regimes, 2015 to Present
  • Hannah Kosstrin (Dance) US reception to the Yemenite-Israeli company Inbal Dance Theater from 1958 to 1969
  • Arati Maleku (Social Work) Migration, Collective Identity & Evidence for Impact: Mapping Nepali Diaspora Engagement in the Post-Earthquake Era
  • Daniel Roberts (Dance) using funds to help stage a production of Sangjun Yoo’s Night Cloud
  • Ryan Skinner (Music and Center for African Studies) An Afro-Swedish Case Study of Global Mobility