The Odyssey of the Tehran Children: A Holocaust Story of Rescue and Identity
Monday, October 5, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Three Polish Jewish girls in Tehran (Photo: USHMM / courtesy of David Laor)
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Through the research and travels for her book, Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey, Mikhal Dekel followed the journey of roughly a quarter million Polish-born Jews who survived Nazi extermination in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, India and other non-European locales.
Dekel traces how identity can be shaped by politics and place for migrants, refugees, immigrants, and other displaced people. She explores the arbitrariness of identity; the dangers faced by child refugees; their resilience; and other insights she gathered while unearthing a little-known global Holocaust history, one in which experiences centered on identity also reflect those of other Polish Jewish survivors.
Dekel is an Israeli-born author and professor of English and Middle East studies and the director of the Rifkind Center for the Humanities and Arts, specializing in the theory of migrations, historical memoir, representations of trauma, and the overlap between law and literature.
Tehran Children was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards, the Sami Rohr Prize, and the Chautauqua Institution Prize for Contribution to the Literary Arts.
Copies of Tehran Children (W. W. Norton & Company) are available for purchase from Politics and Prose.
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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.