Olga Umansky, MLIS, is a librarian and archivist of the Hanns Sachs Library at BPSI. Her remarks below originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2021 issue of the library newsletter, which can be read here.
BPSI Members, Roberta Apfel, MD and Bennett Simon, MD, have contributed additional materials for the Children in War collection they had kindly donated to the BPSI Archives in 2018. Among recent acquisitions are papers, lectures, newspaper clippings, and photographs from Drs. Apfel and Simon’s trip to Israel in February 1993. One valuable assortment includes brochures and photographs from the CCH Congress Centrum War and Persecution, held in Hamburg, Germany on September 26-29, 1993. Among the speakers were BPSI’s Roberta Apfel, James Herzog, and Bennett Simon; also Judith Kestenberg, founder and director of an international interview study of adult survivors who were children under 13 during the Holocaust. (Those interviews are now archived at Tel-Aviv University). This small but unique archive represents Drs. Apfel and Simon’s interest in children in war. Their work began during their 1989-1990 sabbatical year at the Hebrew University, and culminated with an international conference, Children in War, under the auspices of the Freud Center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1991, during the first Gulf War, they returned to Israel and started interviewing two groups of 8-year-old children, one Israeili and one Palestinian. They subsequently returned annually for interviews with these children until they were eighteen and graduated from high school. BPSI’s Children in War collection includes Drs. Apfel and Simon’s articles summarizing this work as well as actual drawings with commentaries done by Israeli children at their kibbutz art studio. (Select drawings and photos were exhibited in the BPSI library in 2018.)
Malka Haas supervised this art studio for three generations of kibbutz children, keeping an extensive collection of drawings and paintings from all three generations. In addition, Malka taught art teachers throughout Israel as well as those at Oranim, the kibbutz teacher training institute. A new set of donated photographs shows Malka Haas with her students in her studio in February, 1993. According to Matti Friedman’s article Kids Need Dirt and Danger, published by The Atlantic in June 2021, Malka Haas “recently turned 100, has been blind for several years, and is now too frail to walk or be interviewed. But she was a dominant figure in the Israeli world of early-childhood education well into her 90s.” Her “House of Painting” as well as her innovative “junkyard playground” acted as a safe space for generations of children and also inspired hundreds of similar kindergarten junkyards across Israel.
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