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The Picture of (Mental) Health: Images of Jewish ‘Unaccompanied Children’ in the Aftermath of the Second World War

Clifford, Rebecca

The Picture of (Mental) Health: Images of Jewish ‘Unaccompanied Children’ in the Aftermath of the Second World War Thumbnail



This article uses photographs of a group of child Holocaust survivors – the so-called ‘Lingfield children’ from the Weir Courtney care home in Lingfield, Surrey – to explore how images of survivor children were deployed in the early postwar period. It argues that these images responded to broader anxieties about a generation of ‘war-damaged’ European children, and in their self-conscious portrayal of happy and settled survivor children, they intervened in postwar debates about the parameters of a ‘normal’ childhood. These images suggest that processes of reconstruction after the war were understood to be as much about psychological as physical healing, and that images of children recovering in mental health spoke to a number of postwar concerns: fears about the stability of postwar democracies, new understandings of the role of humanitarian aid, early understanding of the genocide of Europe’s Jews, and growing public interest in child psychoanalysis and issues of child development.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 15, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 22, 2022
Journal Journal of War & Culture Studies
Print ISSN 1752-6272
Electronic ISSN 1752-6280
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 133 - 156
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (2.4 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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