Advertisement

Working Class Children’s Toys in Times of War and Famine. Play, Work and the Agency of Children in Piraeus Neighborhoods During the German Occupation of Greece

Chapter

Abstract

In recent decades, within the context of a growing literature on the effects and experience of trauma and conflict on the one hand, and the boom in childhood studies on the other, a number of scholarly works has focused on children’s experience of war in Western and non-Western societies, in an attempt to understand how children shape their daily worlds and are shaped by them in conditions of extreme rupture and violence. This article explores working-class children’s toy and play culture during the period of 1940–1944 in a Greek urban milieu as part of a survival strategy in the face of the experienced destruction. During the German Occupation of Greece and the ensuing famine that plagued the major Greek urban centers, children of the poor not only had to join their family’s efforts to survive by searching for food, working in formal jobs, or simply performing chores, but also struggled to find the materials for constructing their toys in times when materials for toy making were as scarce as food. Based on interviews and toy-making sessions with the elderly in two Day Care Centers (KAPH) of a working-class neighbourhood in Piraeus, Greece, the study focuses on the ingenuity and inventiveness of working-class children in Piraeus neighbourhoods during World War II. Children’s toy play and toy making are examined as a dynamic and complex process uniting work and play, leisure and labor, promoting children’s active participation in the adult world, and constituting part of the strategies for claiming life in times of war and distress.

References

  1. Abrams, L. (2010). Oral history theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Alfano, K. (2003). Making toys for a global market. In L.-E. Berg, A. Nelson & K. Svensson (Eds.), Toys in educational and socio-cultural contexts. Stockholm: Sitrek.Google Scholar
  3. Almon, J. (2017). Playing it up—With loose parts, playpods, and adventure playgrounds. Annapolis, MD: Alliance for Childhood.Google Scholar
  4. Argyriadi, M. (2008). Τα ελληνικά εμπορικά παιχνίδια κατά τον 20ό αιώνα [Greek commercial toys in the 20th century]. In C. Gougoulis & D. Karakatsani (Eds.), Το ελληνικό παιχνίδι. Διαδρομές στην ιστορία του. [Greek Toys: Historical trajectories]. Athens: ELIA and MIET. (Ιn Greek).Google Scholar
  5. Ariès, P. (1973/1960). Centuries of childhood. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  6. Bergen, S., & Niven, B. (Eds.). (2014). Writing the history of memory. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  7. Bournova, E. (2005). Θάνατοι από πείνα. Η Αθήνα το χειμώνα του 1941–1942 [Deaths from hunger. Athens in Winter 1941–1942]. Arheiotaxio, 7, 52–73.Google Scholar
  8. Campbell, J. K. (1964). Honor, family and patronage in rural Greece. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cunningham, H. (1995). Children and childhood in western society since 1500. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  10. Desypris, M. (2016). Η κατοχική πείνα στην Νίκαια Αττικής (Κοκκινιά) και η δημογραφική τύχη της πόλης (1941–1944) [Occupation famine in Nikaia, Attica (Kokkinia) and the demographic fate of the city]. In S. Dordanas et al. (Eds.), Κατοχική Βία 1939–1945. Η ελληνική και ευρωπαϊκή εμπειρία [Occupation Violence 1939–1945. Greek and European experiences]. Arta and Athens: Municipality of N. Skoufas and Assini Publications.Google Scholar
  11. Eisen, G. (1988). Children and play in the holocaust. Games among the shadows. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.Google Scholar
  12. Ennew, J. (1986). The sexual exploitation of children. London: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gougoulis, G. C. (2003). The material culture of children’s play: Space, toys and the commoditization of childhood in a Greek community. Doctoral dissertation, University College London.Google Scholar
  14. Hadjiiossif, C. (2007). Η ελληνική οικονομία, πεδίο μάχης και αντίστασης [Greek Economy, a domain of battle and resistance]. In C. Hadjiiossif & P. Papastratis (Eds.), Ιστορία της Ελλάδας του 20ού αιώνα [History of 20th Century Greece] (Vol. 3 [part 2]). Athens: Vivliorama. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  15. Halbwachs, M. (1992). On collective memory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hionidou, V. (2011). Λιμός και θάνατος στην κατοχική Ελλάδα 1941–1944 [Famine and Death in Occupied Greece 1941–1944]. Athens: Hestia Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Hirschon, R. (1989). Heirs of the Greek catastrophe. The social lives of Asia minor refugees in Piraeus. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  18. Honwana, A. (2005). Innocent and guilty. Child soldiers as interstitial & tactical agents. In A. Honwana & F. De Boeck (Eds.), Makers and breakers: Children & youth in postcolonial Africa. Oxford: James Currey—Africa World Press—Codestria.Google Scholar
  19. Iliou, M. (2012). Παιχνίδια πολέμου. Αφηγήσεις. (War games. Narratives). Athens: Hestia. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  20. James, A., & Prout, A. (Eds.). (1990). Constructing and reconstructing childhood. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  21. James, A., Jenks, C., & Prout, A. (Eds.). (1998). Theorizing childhood. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  22. Khanna, S. (1983). Dynamic folk toys. Indian play based on the application of simple principles of science and technology. New Delhi: Office of the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts.Google Scholar
  23. Kiourtsakis, G. (1983). Προφορική παράδοση και ομαδική δημιουργία. Το παράδειγμα του Καραγκιόζη [Oral Tradition and Collective Creation: the Example of Karaghiozis]. Athens: Kedros publications. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  24. Konstantinou, F. (2007). Γύρω από τη ζωή και το έργο της Βούλας Παπαϊωάννου [On the life and works of Voula Papaioannou]. In F. Konstantinou et al. (Eds.). Η φωτογράφος Βούλα Παπαϊωάννου [The Photographer Voula Papaioannou]. Athens: Agra Publishers and Benaki Museum. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  25. Kozlovsky, T. (2008). Adventure playgrounds and postwar reconstruction. In M. Gutman & N. de Connink-Smith (Eds.), Designing modern childhoods: History, space and the material culture of children. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Loukos, C. (2007). Η πείνα στην Κατοχή [Famine during the Occupation]. In C. Hadjiiossif & P. Papastratis (Eds.), Ιστορία της Ελλάδας του 20ού αιώνα [History of 20th Century Greece] (Vol. 3 [part 2]). Athens: Vivliorama. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  27. Lyberatos, M. (2007). Οι οργανώσεις της Αντίστασης [Resistance Organizations. In C. Hadjiiossif & P. Papastratis (Eds.), Ιστορία της Ελλάδας του 20ού αιώνα [History of 20th century Greece] (Vol. 3 [part 2]). Athens: Vivliorama. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  28. Mathiopoulos, E. (2007). Οι εικαστικές τέχνες στην Ελλάδα κατά την περίοδο 1940–1944 [Visual arts in Greece during the period 1940–1944]. In C. Hadjiiossif & P. Papastratis (Eds.), Ιστορία της Ελλάδας του 20ού αιώνα [History of 20th Century Greece] (Vol. 3 [part 2]). Athens: Vivliorama. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  29. Mazower, M. (2001). Inside Hitler’s Greece/The experience of occupation 1941–1944. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Mergen, B. (1992). Made, bought, stolen: Toys and the culture of childhood. In E. West & P. Petrik (Eds.), Small worlds. Children and adolescents in America. 1850–1950. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  31. Moshenka, G. (2008). A hard rain. Children’s Shrapnel collections in the second world war. Journal of Material Culture, 13, 107–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Opie, P., & Opie, I. (1997). Children’s games with things. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Papadopoulos, L. (1995). Οι παλιοί συμμαθητές (Τhe Οld School Mates). Athens: Kastaniotis. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  34. Papathanassiou, M. (2010). Νεανικές ηλικίες και αγροτική κοινωνία στην Ελλάδα του πρώιμου 20ού αιώνα [Youths in Greek agricultural society in the early 20th century]. In V. Karamanolakis, E. Olympitou & I. Papathanassiou (Eds.), Η ελληνική νεολαία στον 20ό αιώνα. Πολιτικές διαδρομές, κοινωνικές πρακτικές και πολιτιστικές εκφράσεις [Greek Youth in the 20th Century. Political Trajectories, Social Practices and Cultural Expressions]. Athens: Themelio. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  35. Romanos, G. (2008). Μια αθηναϊκή βεγγέρα (An Athenian Evening Gathering). Athens: Potamos. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  36. Seriff, S. (in press). Holocaust war games: Playing with Genocide. In J. Goldstein & L. Magalhaes (Eds.), Toys and communication. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  37. Sutton-Smith, B. (1986). Toys as culture. New York and London: Gardner Press.Google Scholar
  38. Theotokas, G. (n.d.). Τετράδια ημερολογίου (1939–1944) (Diary Notes 1939–1944). Athens.Google Scholar
  39. Varon-Vasar, O. (2009). Η ενηλικίωση μιας γενιάς. Νέοι και νέες στην Κατοχή και την Αντίσταση [A Generation’s Coming of Age: Young Men and Women during the Occupation and the Resistance]. Athens: Estia. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  40. Velioti-Georgopoulos, M. (2016). Playing and learning with puppets. Puppet theatre in ‘Free Greece’ (1943–1944)’. Recherches: Culture et histoire dans l’ Espace Roman, 16, 59–65.Google Scholar
  41. Vervenioti, Τ. (2005). Περί:παιδομαζώματος’ και ‘παιδοφυλάγματος’ ο Λόγος ή τα παιδιά στη δίνη της εμφύλιας διαμάχης. [The discourse on ‘child-kidnapping’ and ‘child-saving’ or Children amidst the Greek Civil Conflict]. In E. Voutyra et al.(Eds.), Το όπλο παρά πόδα. Οι πολιτικοί πρόσφυγες του ελληνικού εμφυλίου πολέμου στην Ανατολική Ευρώπη. [Weapons at the Ready. Greek Civil War Political Refugees in Eastern Europe]. Thessaloniki: University of Macedonia Press. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  42. Vervenioti, Τ. (2010). Οι ανήλικοι μαχητές του Δημοκρατικού Στρατού. Από τις φυλακές και τα στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης στις Βασιλικές Σχολές Λέρου. [Minor fighters of the Democratic Army. From prisons and concentration camps to the Royal Schools of Leros]. In V. Karamanolakis, E. Olympitou & I. Papathanassiou (Eds.), Η ελληνική νεολαία στον 20ό αιώνα. Πολιτικές διαδρομές, κοινωνικές πρακτικές και πολιτιστικές εκφράσεις [Greek Youth in the 20th Century. Political Trajectories, Social Practices and Cultural Expressions]. Athens: Themelio. (In Greek).Google Scholar
  43. West, E., & Petrick, P. (Eds.). (1992). Small worlds. Children and adolescents in America 1850–1950. Lawrnce, Kansas: University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  44. West, H. (2000). Girls with guns. Narrating the experience of war of Frelimo’s ‘female detachment’. Anthropological Quarterly, 74(4), 180–194.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PatrasPatrasGreece

Personalised recommendations