Hidden Children of the Holocaust

Parker Overby

When World War II ended in 1945, six million European Jews were dead, killed in the Holocaust. More than one million of the victims were children.

Hidden Children

After the war, thousands of Jewish children ended up in orphanages all over Europe as a result of the Holocaust. The toddlers in this children's home in Better, Belgium, survived in hiding, but their parents had been deported to Auschwitz.


Holocaust Survivor Remembers Years of Hiding
This is a video of a real holocaust survivor who was in hiding for a while.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The vast majority of Jews in German-occupied Europe never went into hiding, for many reasons. Hiding meant leaving behind relatives, risking immediate and severe punishment, and finding an individual or family willing to provide refuge. Many Jews, no doubt, held out the hope that the threat of death would pass or that they could survive until the Allied victory. Sadly, the willingness or ability of the non-Jewish populations to rescue Jewish lives never matched the Nazis' vehement desire to destroy them. Even in countries where hatred for the German occupiers ran deep, anti-Nazism did not necessarily generate aid for Jews. The Nazis portrayed the Jews as carriers of contagion, as criminals, or as “Bolshevik” agents anxious to subvert European society. The Nazis further discouraged rescue by threatening severe penalties for those caught helping Jews. The ruthlessness of Nazi rule and the barbarities of war forced some children to mature beyond their years. One child survivor described them as “old people with children's faces, without a trace of joy, happiness, or childish innocence.” Adapting to their abnormal circumstances, Jewish boys and girls in hiding improvised games, took advantage of the scant educational opportunities available, and often entertained themselves by doing work and labor. They believed children were some of most important and that's the main reason they were so highly protected.


This is a primary source from the Holocaust. It's a diary entry from a child in hiding and his last letter to his mother before being discovered and taken away to a concentration camp.

INTERESTING FACTS AND STATISTICS

  1. Over 1.1 million children died during the Holocaust.

  2. Young children were particularly targeted by the Nazis to be murdered during the Holocaust. They posed a unique threat because if they lived, they would grow up to parent a new generation of Jews. Many children suffocated in the crowded cattle cars on the way to the camps. Those who survived were immediately taken to the gas chamber.

  3. That's why some were hidden to increase the chance of survival.

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.

- ANNE FRANK


I THINK THIS QUOTE IS CRAZY. IMAGINE BEING IN HIDING FOR 2 YEARS AND BEING PUSHED AROUND BY THE NAZI AND POLICE AND YET SHE KEEPS HER OPTIMISM AND A POSITIVE ATTITUDE.