Skip to main content
Support
Event

North Korean War Orphans in Transnational Educational Exchange

More than 100,000 children from both North and South Korea were orphaned during the Korean War. In 1953, the North Korean government dispatched 1,200 orphans to the People’s Republic of Poland to be educated at a boarding school transformed into an orphanage. The orphans were repatriated after six years, at the insistence of the North Korean government, as tensions between Pyongyang and its communist allies began to emerge. NKIDP Intern Intaek Hong examines the complicated process of how the orphans defined their identity based on their experience of interacting with their Polish teachers—who became like foster parents—and deploying their subjectivity in the process.

Date & Time

Aug. 27, 2014
2:00pm – 3:00pm

Location

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Get Directions

North Korean War Orphans in Transnational Educational Exchange

Photo courtesy of Edward Jędral

Contested Institution, Państwowy Ośrodek Wychowawczy* no. 2 (POW no.2):
The Identity Formation of North Korean War Orphans in Transnational Educational Exchange

More than 100,000 children from both North and South Korea were orphaned during the Korean War. In 1953, the North Korean government dispatched 1,200 orphans to the People’s Republic of Poland to be educated at Państwowy Ośrodek Wychowawczy* no. 2 (POW no.2), a boarding school transformed into an orphanage.  Under the supervision of North Korean authorities and the Polish government, POW no. 2 provided a bi-lingual (Polish and Korean) and bi-cultural elementary education.  The orphans were repatriated after six years, at the insistence of the North Korean government, as tensions between Pyongyang and its communist allies began to emerge. As letters written back to Poland following their repatriation reveal, the uprooting of these children from their school and adopted community was a traumatizing experience. In the context of transnational identity formation, the North Korean orphans provide a unique case study in exploring the historiography of transnational communist history among different communist countries during the Cold War. This study examines the complicated process of how the orphans defined their identity based on their experience of interacting with their Polish teachers—who became like foster parents—and deploying their subjectivity in the process.

Intaek Hong, North Korea International Documentation Project (NKIDP) Intern, will present his research. The presentation will be moderated by James F. Person.

Hosted By

North Korea International Documentation Project

The North Korea International Documentation Project serves as an informational clearinghouse on North Korea for the scholarly and policymaking communities, disseminating documents on the DPRK from its former communist allies that provide valuable insight into the actions and nature of the North Korean state. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program uses history to improve understanding of important global dynamics, trends in international relations, and American foreign policy.  Read more

Tagged

Event Feedback