Hidden Children

The small number of Jewish children who survived the Holocaust did so, mostly, because they were hidden in lofts, cellars, sewers, rural areas, barns, chicken coups and forest dugouts. Although some Christian families or religious institutions at times offered sanctuary to children, they faced the constant threat of discovery by neighbours, informers or local police; the need to hide physical characteristics, learn new languages and customs or adopt a new identity They had to be disciplined and emotionally strong, and to master their fear and loss of their family.

Some children were provided with false papers, enabling them to survive within wider society. These children had the difficult task of dissembling and constant role-playing; a thoughtless word or inappropriate reaction could mean the difference between life and death. Children in hiding had to rely on their protectors, which at times led to neglect and even abuse. After the Holocaust, many of these children continued to suffer psychological anguish despite being reunited with their families.

Recommended Reading
Bognar, N. (2009) At the Mercy of Strangers: The Rescue of Jewish Children with Assumed Identities in Poland. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem.
Greenfeld, H. (1993). The Hidden Children. Boston: Houghton Miffen.
Marks, J. (1993). The Hidden Children: The Survivors of the Holocaust. New York: Fawcett.