Childhood Trauma in Film: Undzere Kinder (Our Children) at the 30th International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Padua

On the Occasion of the 30th International Congress on Law and Mental Health

(University of Padua 2007, June 25-30)


Co-chaired and Discussed by:


Maurice Preter, M.D., Columbia University


Harold J. Bursztajn, M.D., Harvard Medical School


Childhood Trauma in Film: Undzere Kinder (Our Children)

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Poland 1948. In Yiddish language with English subtitles


Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 (Please refer to final program for exact time)


Place: Congress Venue


In what has become a tradition during medical-psychiatric and psychoanalytic conferences around the world, Drs. Preter ( and Bursztajn ( continue their exploration of post-Shoah psychological trauma and its representation in film.


As in previous years (e.g., World Psychiatric Association, Istanbul 2006; International Psychoanalytic Association, Rio de Janeiro 2005; International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Buenos Aires 2004 and American Psychiatric Association, Philadelphia 2002), this workshop will screen and discuss the last Yiddish-language movie made in Poland, Undzere Kinder (Our Children), 1948.

From the program:

In 1945, after the end of World War II and the slaughter of the European Jews, some 250,000 Jewish survivors temporarily returned to Poland, where actors Shimon Dzigan and Yisroel Schumacher, director Natan Gross and producer Shaul Goskind teamed up to make Our Children. In this last Yiddish-language feature made in Poland, part docu-drama, part melancholic comedy, famous Yiddish comedians Dzigan and Schumacher visit the Helanowek orphanage near the city of Lodz to perform for an audience of Jewish orphans who survived the Holocaust. Their theatrical performance, however well-intentioned, stirs up painful memories of recent events, but also offends the children by the sentimentalized and na?ve depiction of wartime conditions. Having all lived through the reality of separation and loss, the children take over the stage, outdo the performers, and tell their stories?

little actors in Our Children were all residents of the Helanowek orphanage, many of them the sole survivors of their families.


For more background on the history of this workshop, and contact information, go to: (Dr. Preter) (Dr. Bursztajn)


Co-sponsored by the Harvard Medical School Program in Psychiatry & the Law