To study the specific contribution of parental loss in war, play representations and family interviews of thirty 4- to 6-year-old immigrant children (15 war-orphaned) from war-torn Central American countries were analysed. The play of children who had lost a parent through death or “disappearance in war differed significantly from that of children who had not. Two years after the loss, war-orphaned children symbolically re-enacted the manner of the parental death or disappearance in play but could not sustain the play scenario for long. Expressions of imminent danger and emptiness were prevalent but anger and vengeance were not. Children who had been exposed to war without parental loss depicted situations and themes reflecting issues associated with their age. Low levels of secrecy surrounding reasons for immigration or past losses, parental acceptance of death, remarriage and presence of extended family characterised the content of family interviews in both groups.