Jewish Book Council Author Talk by Mikhal Dekel, Professor at the City University of New York and Author of

Tehran Chil­dren: A Holo­caust Refugee Odyssey

October 17 at 1:00 P.M.

Free of charge / All are welcome

Book sales handled by Eight Cousins Bookstore, Falmouth


Tehran Chil­dren is the extra­or­di­nary true sto­ry of Pol­ish-Jew­ish child refugees who escaped the Nazis and found refuge in Iran.

Rather than per­ish in Nazi-occu­pied Poland, more than a mil­lion Jews escaped east to the Sovi­et Union. There they suf­fered extreme depri­va­tion in Siber­ian gulags and ​“Spe­cial Set­tle­ments,” and then, once ​“lib­er­at­ed,” jour­neyed to the Sovi­et Cen­tral Asian Republics. The major­i­ty of Pol­ish Jews who sur­vived the Nazis out­lived the war in Uzbek­istan and Kaza­khstan; some of them con­tin­ued on to Iran. The sto­ry of their suf­fer­ing, both those who died and those who sur­vived, has rarely been told.

Fol­low­ing the foot­steps of her father, one of a thou­sand refugee chil­dren who trav­eled to Iran and lat­er to Pales­tine, Dekel fus­es mem­oir with his­tor­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tion in this account of the all-but-unknown Jew­ish refuge in Mus­lim lands. Along the way, Dekel reveals the com­plex glob­al pol­i­tics behind this jour­ney, dis­cuss­es refugee aid and hos­pi­tal­i­ty, and traces the mak­ing of col­lec­tive iden­ti­ties that have shaped the post­war world —the his­to­ries nations tell and those they forget.

Mikhal Dekel is an Eng­lish and Mid­dle East­ern Stud­ies pro­fes­sor at the City Uni­ver­si­ty of New York and Direc­tor of the Simon H. Rifkind Cen­ter for the Human­i­ties & Arts. Her three books and numer­ous arti­cles, blogs and trans­la­tions have been sup­port­ed by grants from the Nation­al Endow­ment for the Human­i­ties and the Mel­lon Foun­da­tion, among others.