Telling stories
in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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This chapter discusses some aspects of memory, children and trauma. Trauma was evident in many stories told by the author's interviewees. The chapter introduces the use of oral history as a key methodology. Memory is the past in mind, history is the past outside of it, but the borders are not only blurred but porous. Much work within memory studies deals with the collective act of remembering and not with the individual. Oral history has also revealed routines and the adaptability of these children living with the threat of or in the aftermath of bombing. Like the state and like local administrators, families and children developed coping strategies, some of which helped mitigate fear and reduce traumatic responses. The idea of collective memory remains powerful, but is perhaps overused.


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