chapter  5
35 Pages

The Social World of the Survivor

Survivors, even today, many years after the war, continue to inhabit a world that is sharply defined and bounded by their experiences. One of the main vehicles for survivors when they sought out one another were the organizations that catered to their needs and that served their interests. Many other considerations impinged upon the survivors, such as their age, socioeconomic background, education, where they settled, marital status, and so on. One survey of survivors found that most of them had belonged to formal organizations prior to the war. And in fact when survivors found themselves in American cities that lacked a hometown society, they invariably set up societies where the common denominator was simply having survived the war. Although the landsmanschaften extended a helping hand to the survivors, their role should not be overly romanticized. Many of the refugees who joined felt keenly the differences between themselves and the "old-timers".