In 1945, the British government made the decision to bring 1,000 child camp survivors under 16 to the UK. Ultimately only 850 could be found and of these only 10% were girls, owing to the reduced chances of survival for girls and young women.
The name of the collection alludes to the name given to the group of about 800 child camp survivors, mostly Polish-born, who were brought over to Britain immediately after the war. The group became affectionately known as ‘The Boys’ even though 80 of them were girls.
The original group of children subsequently formed a social and cultural identity together and became known as ‘The Boys'. In 2007 The Wiener Library interviewed 14 girl survivors who were part of this group. The interviews examine memories of camp experiences, and then focus on post-war life up to the present day. The material covers Jewish identity and heritage, memory and the long-term effects of early childhood experience on education, relationships, work and lifestyle choices for women.
The testimonies are available to view at the reader terminals in the Wolfson Reading Room as edited versions with documents and photographs (approximately 30 minutes), as uncut interviews ranging in length from two to four hours, and as full transcripts.
For more information see Martin Gilbert’s book The Boys: Triumph over Adversity.