The testimonies of a hundred child survivors of the Holocaust is among the top titles shortlisted for this year’s Wolfson History Prize.
Survivors: Children’s Lives after the Holocaust by Rebecca Clifford has been described as “original and engrossing” by judges and is now in the running for the £40,000 winner’s prize.
The book examines the experiences of youngsters during the Holocaust and how their childhoods were marked by rupture and loss in the years following the Second World War.
Other titles on the shortlist for the prestigious history writing prize include Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin, which draws on the latest archaeological discoveries of this key Roman city; Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh, which explores the story of leader and hero of the Haitian Revolution; and Double Lives: A History of Working Motherhood by Helen McCarthy, which comes amidst conversations around the gender pay gap and experience of working mothers during the coronavirus pandemic.
In Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack by Richard Ovenden, examines how attacks on libraries and archives have been a feature of history since ancient times and continue during the modern era.
Atlantic Wars: From the Fifteenth Century to the Age of Revolution by Geoffrey Plank rounds off the shortlist with a comprehensive look at the impact ocean warfare has had on the modern world.
Clifford, who is associate professor in European modern history at Swansea University said: “I wrote Survivors to explore a question: how do we tell the story of our lives if we don’t know where we come from?
“Child Holocaust survivors often had to spend much of their lives not knowing the details of their beginnings. The youngest survivors had no pre-war memories, and often only patchy memories of the war period.
“[They] had to become historians of themselves to answer that most fundamental of questions: who am I?”
The winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2021 will be announced on Wednesday 9 June 2021 in a virtual ceremony.
Last year’s Wolfson History Prize was won by Jewish historian David Abulafia for The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans.
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