“As to my emotional anguish, there are days when I feel endlessly miserable”: Hachsharot in Early Post war Romania and the Limits of Belonging
This paper looks at the hachsharah activities of Zionist organizations in early post-war Romania, examining the context and motivation of participants. Whereas the hachsharot in central Europe have been recognized as spaces of empowerment and agency for displaced persons, the contrasting Romanian war-time experience and divergent social structures called these very features into question in the Romanian context. Following a macrohistorical basic outline, a microhistorical approach is taken to probe the experience of one individual through a set of recently found diaries. Here the limits of Zionist propaganda and community-building work and the ramifications of failing to address the psychological and physical needs of Holocaust survivors are explored: despite apparent inclusion in a cohesive and sympathetic group, the diary author experiences alienation and marginalization within her own ranks.