UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


Online Conference: Jewish Childhood in Eastern Europe

22 February 2024, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm

Cover of Polin Volume 36 featuring a coloured in old photo of children in a village

A one-day conference to launch Volume 36 of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






Institute of Jewish Studies
Organised by the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies and the Institute of Jewish Studies (UCL), in partnership with the Polin Museum of History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.

Polin. Studies in Polish Jewry Vol. 36: Jewish Childhood in Eastern Europe is an examination of the history of children, childhood and child-rearing in Jewish Eastern Europe. It was edited by:

  • Natalia Aleksiun, Harry Rich Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida
  • François Guesnet, Professor in Modern Jewish History in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at UCL
  • Antony Polonsky, Chief Historian of the Global Educational Outreach Program at the Polin Museum

The contributors, drawn from Israel, Poland, western Europe and North America, have endeavoured throughout to let children and teenagers speak for themselves and, while aware of the limits of their freedom of action, to assess their degree of agency. At the same time, close attention has been paid to ideas and ideals about Jewish children and Jewish childhood expressed by those with a degree of power over these children’s lives: not only their parents, but religious and communal leaders, educators and political activists invested in mobilizing the youth.


(Times shown in GMT)

Panel One

1 – 2:45pm Jewish childhood in the early 20th Century

Chair: François Guesnet

Welcome: Michał Trębacz (Polin Museum of History of Polish Jews), François Guesnet (IPJS & UCL)

  • Yehoshua Ecker (University of Florida; Touro University, New York): Jewish childhood in the Galician countryside
  • Jan Rybak (Central European University, Vienna): Austrian-Zionist relief efforts for Jewish children from Galicia
  • Ula Madej-Krupitski (McGill University, Montréal): Holiday experiences of Jewish children in the interwar period 

2.45-3.15 Break
Panel Two

3:15 – 5pm The Holocaust and Its Aftermath 

Chair: Natalia Aleksiun

  • Joanna Śliwa: Jewish Children Seeking Help from Catholic Institutions in Kraków during the Holocaust
  • Anna Sternshis: Yiddish childrens’ songs about Transnistrian Ghettos 
  • Boaz Cohen: Rehabilitating Holocaust child victims in postwar Poland

    IPJS logo