"Mon petit papa chéri": Children, Fathers and Family Separation in Vichy France

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This article analyses letters written by children to their fathers in the winter of 1942 as part of a competition instigated by the Comité des Amis des Travailleurs Français en Allemagne. These men were working in Germany as part of the Relève. These letters shed light on father-child relations – an aspect of family life rarely examined by historians – but also clearly demonstrate the emotional impact of family separation on children, which they managed by drawing on emotional resources linked to love, loss and sacrifice. I suggest that family separation in wartime placed an emotional burden on children as they shaped their words and feelings to please parents who were also struggling under the weight of wartime pressures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages20
JournalEssays in French Literature and Culture
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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