This study examines the experiences of a group of Jewish German and Austrian children who were sent on the Kindertransport to France in an effort to escape Nazi persecution. Using oral history interviews from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, written testimonies, personal papers, and archival collections from organizations such as the OEuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE), this study analyzes the children's experiences at the Château de la Guette children's home in France and their subsequent time at the children's home Hôtel des Anglais in La Bourboule. This thesis examines the social and spatial dimensions of the children's journey to find home and flee Nazi persecution via France. While research has more extensively covered other children's rescue efforts such as the Kindertransport to Great Britain, this thesis demonstrates that the migrations of children fleeing the Holocaust via France were diverse and often characterized by frequent movement due to the historical context of France during World War II. In conjunction with a digital project, this thesis maps and discusses four paths taken by the La Guette children during the war: life in hiding in France, illegal flight over the border into Switzerland, deportation, and immigration to the United States. This research also examines the impact of children's homes on the pre-war, wartime, and post-war experiences of Jewish refugee children fleeing Nazism. After the La Guette group dispersed, many of the children stayed in contact with one another. Through survivor reunions and other commemorative activities years later, many survivors maintained a connection with their peers, educators, the Rothschild family, and others associated with their time in France and constructed memory of their wartime experiences. Ultimately, the La Guette case shows the long-lasting impact of children's homes on the lives of Jewish refugee children fleeing the Holocaust.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
History; Public History
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Schneider, Sarah, "Searching for Home at Château de la Guette and Beyond: Social and Spatial Dimensions of Jewish German and Austrian Children's Journey to Flee Nazi Persecution via Children's Homes in France" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6001.