Children of the Holocaust

By: Emily S.

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Beginner's Facts...

  • Around 1.5 million children were killed.

  • Jewish children, “gypsy” children, German children with disabilities, polish children, and children within the Soviet Union were all types of children that were killed.

  • Young Jewish children were a big target to the Nazis because if they lived they could start up another generation of Jews.
  • Jewish children were killed simply because they were "useless eaters"
  • Children were forced to change their identity, many were so young when they changed their identity that they couldn't remember what their name was or who they were after being liberated.
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Children's Fate Categories...

There were many things that happened to children when they were put into concentration camps, some of these things include:

  • Getting killed upon arrival

  • Getting killed after birth or in institutions

  • Getting killed during reprisal operations

  • Staying alive because they could be used as laborers or medical experiments

  • Staying alive because they were born in ghettos/camps and were hidden
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How Children Survived...

Surviving during the holocaust would be tough, especially if you were a child in the middle of all the madness. Yet, some children managed to pull off this extravagant achievement. Some ways the children survived include:

  • Children would smuggle food and medicines into the ghettos as well as personal possessions to trade.

  • Children would participate in underground resistance activities.

  • Some children escaped to “family camps."

  • Other children were a part of kindertransport.

  • Many children went into hiding.

  • Children were used for forced labor or medical operations.

  • Children would work for short periods of time in villages and then move on.

  • Children would develop some sort of talent in the area of the arts.

"'I am very afraid. So afraid that I stopped thinking'" (Bitton-Jackson 66).

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Children Apart of the Hitler Youth...

  • German children were recruited to become apart of Hitler Youth.

  • The youth grew in size when Hitler became chancellor in 1933.

  • In 1936 Hitler made it mandatory for all children from the age of 10 to become members of the Hitler Youth.

  • Hitler Youth consisted of boys (ages 6-18) who were expected to join the Nazi party.

  • Hitler Youth consisted of two girls groups (ages 10-18) who learned how to raise children and work in the home.

  • The training that the youth went through was very intense. After training, the boys and girls were sent to fight for the Reich.

  • Once these children were sent into combat, they often fought to the death.
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Children After the Holocaust...

Many children after the holocaust were orphans in displaced concentration camps. Many surviving children fled to eastern Europe or the western zones of Germany. Although finally becoming free was a joyful relief, children still had lots of things to worry about. Some of these worries included finding a new family. In the holocaust children lost their families and were often left alone to fend for themselves. Another worry was finding their identity. When children were allowed to follow the Jewish faith again, many found it difficult to plant their faith back into this religion because of what they faced due to their beliefs. Overall, children were faced with unthinkable happenings when in the holocaust and persevered through obstacles no one wants to even dream about.

"'I am 14 and I have lived a thousand years" (Bitton-Jackson).

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Personal Stories

Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Shela Altaraz
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Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Asher Aud
Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Zvi Michaeli
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Child Holocaust survivor describes helping other survivors


  • "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust-Children." A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust-Children. Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 1997-2013.

  • "Children of the Holocaust." - Museum of Tolerance. Simon Wiesenthal, 2014. Web.

  • "Children." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, n.d. Web

  • "Holocaust Facts." Holocaust Facts. Maya Productions, n.d. Web.

  • "The International Institute for Holocaust Research." Children and the Holocaust. Yad Vashem, n.d. Web.

  • Jackson, Livia Bitton. I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing up in the Holocaust. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 1997. Print.

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