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Hidden Children of the Holocaust$
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Suzanne Vromen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181289.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 July 2021

 The Nuns

 The Nuns

(p.47) 2 The Nuns
Hidden Children of the Holocaust

Suzanne Vromen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws on interviews with surviving nuns to show that mothers superior were responsible for accepting children in the convents and that they did so while maintaining all possible secrecy about their actions. Not only children were hidden in convents, sometimes right under the noses of the occupiers, but also entire families as well as young people who avoided labor conscription. Jewish children were expected to go to mass and were treated like all the other boarders, a strategy that, from the point of view of nuns, served to conceal them. In the contemporary interviews nuns argue that at the time hidden Jewish children were not coerced into baptism and communion; they depict rescue in a humanitarian light. In running the convents in wartime, German nuns facilitated relationships with the German occupiers. Assuring a sufficient food supply demanded great skill and the occasional recourse to collective resources from other orders. In the nuns' recollections the fear of bombardments is the most vivid one. The chapter affirms the nuns' general active stance and highlights many facets of the entrepreneurial and affective authority of mothers superior. In conclusion the contributions of these mothers superior to the Resistance and to rescue have been taken for granted and not accorded the recognition that they deserve.

Keywords:   secrecy, German nuns, mothers superior, food supply, collective resources

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