Urban Lives, Rural Lives and Children's Evacuation

Lindsey Dodd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, Dodd explores the evacuation of children from the Paris suburbs in 1943-1945 to the Creuse, a measure precipitated by the threat of bombing but underpinned by juvenile malnutrition. She examines the lived experiences of, and social interactions between, child evacuees and their foster families. Building on the work of Laura Lee Downs, she shows that the Second World War differentiated this urban-rural confrontation from the earlier colonies de vacances (rural holiday camps) because it altered not only the conditions of children’s home lives, but exposed them to the traumatic sights and sounds of air raids before their evacuation. In a first section she discusses elements of the confrontation which took place between children and their foster families, noting that the latter were surprised by the poor physical condition of the children who arrived. The second section considers the psychological disturbances the children carried with them, evidenced particularly in bedwetting. Her final section challenges a wholly positive story of evacuation which was promoted to parents at the time, and which has become the only historical account of this experience. Sensitive evidence of abused and abusive youngsters, coupled with oral histories which suggest lasting distress at family separation, nuance the picture; evidence of the everyday is shown to be partial, varied and inconclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVichy France and Everyday Life
Subtitle of host publicationConfronting the Challenges of Wartime, 1939-1945
EditorsLindsey Dodd, David Lees
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781350011601, 9781350011618
ISBN (Print)9781350011595, 9781350143791
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018


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