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.