Between Two Worlds

Jewish War Brides after the Holocaust

By Robin Judd

256 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, 3 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7544-2
    Published: December 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7545-9
    Published: November 2023

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Awards & distinctions

2023 Barbara Dobkin Award in Women's Studies, National Jewish Book Awards, Jewish Book Council

2023 JDC-Herbert Katzki Award in Writing Based on Archival Material, National Jewish Book Awards, Jewish Book Council

Facing the harrowing task of rebuilding a life in the wake of the Holocaust, many Jewish survivors, community and religious leaders, and Allied soldiers viewed marriage between Jewish women and military personnel as a way to move forward after unspeakable loss. Proponents believed that these unions were more than just a ticket out of war-torn Europe: they would help the Jewish people repopulate after the attempted annihilation of European Jewry.

Historian Robin Judd, whose grandmother survived the Holocaust and married an American soldier after liberation, introduces us to the Jewish women who lived through genocide and went on to wed American, Canadian, and British military personnel after the war. She offers an intimate portrait of how these unions emerged and developed—from meeting and courtship to marriage and immigration to life in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom—and shows how they helped shape the postwar world by touching thousands of lives, including those of the chaplains who officiated their weddings, the Allied authorities whose policy decisions structured the couples' fates, and the bureaucrats involved in immigration and acculturation. The stories Judd tells are at once heartbreaking and restorative, and she vividly captures how the exhilaration of the brides' early romances coexisted with survivor's guilt, grief, and apprehension at the challenges of starting a new life in a new land.

About the Author

Robin Judd is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University, where she directs the Hoffman Leaders and Leadership in History Fellowship program.
For more information about Robin Judd, visit the Author Page.


"A fresh perspective on the aftermath of trauma . . . . Drawing on rich archival sources, historian Judd makes her book debut with a sensitive, well-researched history of marriages between survivors of the Holocaust and American, British, and Canadian military personnel . . . . Judd’s stories of “loss, recovery, power, and unbelonging” stand as testimony to the triumph of survival."—Kirkus Reviews

"Between Two Worlds is terrific history. Drilling down on the unspooling lives of Jewish war brides and their servicemen fiancés/husbands, Between Two Worlds breaks entirely new ground. In clean, muscular prose, Robin Judd addresses the messiness of liberation, grieving, and—at the same time—falling in love. Centering the war brides, Between Two Worlds explores with great sensitivity and insight multiple facets of the couples' experiences and the challenges they faced: courtship, marriage, shifting army fraternization policies, and national immigration regulations." —Debórah Dwork, director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes against Humanity at the CUNY Graduate Center

"Based on broad and deep research, written with a gripping flair, Between Two Worlds tells a history—and a dramatic story—never told before. The Holocaust survivor war brides and their American Jewish soldier husbands who come to life in this book reveal the intertwined histories of military red tape, immigration policy, the Nazi terror, and the opportunities of postwar America." —Hasia R. Diner, author of We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945–1962

"Between Two Worlds is the definitive study of Jewish war brides in World War II. Written by a master historian-storyteller whose own grandmother was a war bride, the volume illuminates the extraordinary complexities confronting soldiers and Holocaust survivors who fell in love and married." —Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University