Program Recap: Between Two Worlds- Jewish War Brides After the Holocaust

January 24, 2024
by Rebeca Miller

This program originally aired on Wednesday, January 24th at 3:00pm ET, it was co-sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute.

Between Two Worlds author Robin Judd joined us in discussion with historian Hasia Diner to discuss her new book about the history of Jewish war brides after the holocaust. Robin’s book focuses on the experiences of predominantly female holocaust survivors who married American, Canadian, and British military men and proceeded to immigrate to their spouse’s home countries. Pulling from chaplain and military records, Jewish newspapers, and wedding announcements Robin was able to locate a diverse group of war brides from all over continental Europe, Yiddish speaking Ashkenazi women as well as Ladino speaking Sephardic women. Though less common, not all brides were women and in some cases male survivors met and married female personnel. The book examines the hurdles of military and immigration bureaucracy, as well as Jewish law and chaplain consent. Robin speaks to the process of acculturation and the advantages that war brides my have had over other refugees based on the social services afforded to them though the military. She illustrates the struggles that many of these women had with building new lives and a common thread of her research discovering that many women reported feeling more grounded once having children.

Topics covered in this program: Immigration law and policy of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom in World War II, War Brides Act, Jewish Military Chaplains, marriage, intermarriage, rehabilitation, resettlement, refugees, social service programs.