Voices of Adult Offspring of Righteous Among the Nations: Wartime Experiences during the Holocaust

Lilach Ashoulin, Hadas Wiseman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to give voice to the offspring of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ who were children during World War II. Unlike the children of survivors and the children of perpetrators, this unique group has not yet been studied. We assume that although the children had no say in their parents’ decision to rescue Jews, these rescue acts affected their experiences. We examine their recollections about their subjective experiences regarding their parents rescue activities, communication patterns in their families regarding the rescue secrets, and their relationships with the Jewish children sheltered in their homes. The study involved 22 Dutch offspring (ten men and twelve women) who were children during the war when their parents hid Jews in their homes or were involved in rescue activities outside the home. At the time of the study, the participants’ ages ranged from 68 to 87. The methodology was personal interviews that were then subjected to qualitative analysis. Four core themes were explored: (a) boundaries and transitions between inside and outside the home, (b) rescuers’ children as ‘participant–witnesses,’ (c) parent–child communication patterns: secrets inside and outside the home, and (d) relationships with the Jewish children in hiding. The children’s recollected experiences are discussed in the context of a unique quadrate configuration: home–rescuer family–rescuers’ children–rescued Jews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Holocaust Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and Education.


  • Holocaust
  • Righteous Among the Nations
  • childhood wartime recollections
  • familial communication
  • offspring
  • rescue of Jews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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