This volume is a collection of fifteen first-person accounts of growing up during the Nazi era. The selections cover a broad range of personalities and circumstances. Included are testimonies from the daughter of an anti-Nazi German family, the son of a mixed marriage in Germany threatened with deportation, a German Gypsy who witnessed Mengele's experiments, a Polish Jewish girl saved by her teacher, a Prague teenager escaping to Denmark and Sweden, a Polish Jewish youth in communist Siberia, a partisan, an eleven-year-old in Auschwitz, a young Yiddish actress exiled to Tashkent, and a Polish Catholic child deported to work camps. Drawn from the Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College, each testimony is a unique story of survival through defense, adaptation, and resilience. The introduction to the book, written by Professor Nora Levin, provides the historical background of the rise of fascism and Nazism in Germany and the social and political dislocations that ensued. Editor Josey Fisher integrates the testimonies into the framework of adolescent development in the preface.
Brief introductions to each chapter set the historical framework and describe the unique set of obstacles challenging each child. The youth of the Holocaust were caught in the time of their growing. Their external world had real enemies and unspeakable danger at the same time that their physical, psychological, and social development were propelling them toward adulthood. Internal intensity was intertwined with external threat...(from the preface). Persistence of Youth provides a unique perspective on child development and psychological issues and will be of value to researchers in these fields as well as historians and others concerned with the Holocaust.