Children's evacuation inside wartime France

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Abstract

This article explores the evacuation of children from the Paris region to the rural Creuse which took place as a result of problems of food supply to the capital, and increasingly heavy Allied air raids from 1943. It brings archival material and oral narratives into dialogue, using the case studies of two individuals (Françoise and Christian) to suggest first, a latent archival bias towards the extremes of positive and negative experience, and second, the way in which oral history narratives can provide nuance and texture to the way we understand the past, which replicates more faithfully the equivocal nature of everyday life. After outlining the historical context of this evacuation, I look at three aspects of the evacuee-host experience: the decision to take in an evacuee child, the material conditions in which the child was accommodated, and the longer-term relationships forged through evacuation. It is at once an analysis of some of the historical dimensions of children’s evacuation and a methodological exploration of oral and written data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNottingham French Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Apr 2019

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