ACJC Research Seminar Series, Annabelle Baldwin (Monash University), ‘Hidden Trauma: Sexual Violence against Jewish Children in Hiding during the Holocaust’

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 11/09/2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Location
ACJC

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11 September: Annabelle Baldwin (Monash University), ‘Hidden Trauma: Sexual Violence against Jewish Children in Hiding during the Holocaust’

While sexual violence against adult Jewish women is now becoming a more common focus in gender studies of the Holocaust, the plight of female Jewish children who experienced sexual violence has not yet been fully explored in the literature. Children in hiding were especially vulnerable to sexual violence as they were often alone, without their parents, and were very much aware of the danger they were in. Annabelle Baldwin’s research with testimonies in the Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive has found that around one-third of survivors who experienced sexual violence whilst hiding during the Holocaust were thirteen years old or younger (that is, pre-pubescent) at the time of their assault. This paper explores the experiences of these twenty-five female child survivors who experienced sexual violence whilst in hiding. These testimonies demonstrate the complexity of issues surrounding sexual violence during the Holocaust, and illuminate some of the vulnerabilities of the hiding situation. They also reveal the issues particular to children, and how being a child influenced the ways in which they related to and interacted with the adults responsible for hiding them. Analysis of these testimonies will discuss how the survivors integrate their experiences of sexual violence into their Holocaust narratives.

Annabelle Baldwin is currently completing her PhD in History at Monash University. Her dissertation examines the experience of sexual violence against Jewish women during the Holocaust using the Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive.