Even in countries where hatred for the German occupiers ran deep, anti-Nazism did not necessarily generate aid for Jews. The Nazis further discouraged rescue by threatening severe penalties for those caught helping Jews. Parents, children, and rescuers faced daunting challenges once the decision was made to go into hiding.
Some children could pass as non-Jews and live openly. Those who could not had to live clandestinely, often in attics or cellars.
Children posing as Christians had to carefully conceal their Jewish identity from inquisitive neighbors, classmates, informers, blackmailers, and the police. Even a momentary lapse in language or behavior could expose the child, and the rescuer, to danger.
Living as a non-Jew required false identity papers, which were difficult to obtain in German-occupied Europe and were subject to frequent review by the authorities. Over the course of the war, children often had to move from one refuge to another. For the children who had to leave their parents behind, the emotional pangs of separation were constant and the worries many.
False Papers. Using forged or acquired papers, such as a birth or baptismal certificate, Jews sometimes could obtain legitimate documents under an assumed name from the authorities. These ruses posed great risks to the bearer since the Germans and collaborating police forces closely examined identity documents in their frequent searches for Jews, resistance members, and individuals evading conscript labor. Hiding Places. Children were kept in cellars and attics, where they had to keep quiet, even motionless, for hours on end.
In rural areas, hidden children lived in barns, chicken coops, and forest huts. During bombings, Jewish children had to remain hidden, unable to flee to the safety of shelters. Under these conditions, the children often suffered from a lack of human interaction and endured boredom and fear. Even during the bleakest days of Nazi persecution, Jews tried to observe this practice. Because non-Jews in continental Europe generally were not circumcised, German and collaborationist police commonly checked males apprehended in raids.
For boys attempting to hide their Jewish identity, using a public restroom or participating in sports could lead to their discovery. More rarely, they underwent painful procedures to disguise the mark of circumcision or even dressed as girls. Hiding under a Different Religion. Thousands of Jewish children survived the Holocaust because they were protected by people and institutions of other faiths. Dozens of Catholic convents in German-occupied Poland independently took in Jewish youngsters.
Belgian Catholics hid hundreds of children in their homes, schools, and orphanages, and French Protestant townspeople in and around Le Chambon-sur-Lignon sheltered several thousand Jews. In Albania and Yugoslavia, some Muslim families concealed youngsters. Many Jewish youngsters were baptized into Christianity, with or without the consent of their parents.
Multiple Rescuers. Finding a rescuer was quite difficult, particularly one who would take care of his or her charges for a period of years. More commonly, stress, anguish, and fear drove benefactors to turn out the Jewish children from their homes. Organized rescue groups frequently moved youngsters from one family or institution to another to ensure the safety of both the child and the foster parent.
Days of Remembrance Commemoration
In the German-occupied Netherlands, Jewish children stayed in an average of more than four different places; some changed hiding places more than a dozen times. Separation from Family. Among the most painful memories for hidden children was their separation from parents, grandparents, and siblings. For a variety of reasons—the lack of space, the inability or unwillingness of a rescuer to take in an entire family, or the decision of the parents not to abandon other family members in the ghetto—many Jewish children went into hiding alone.
Separation tormented both parents and children. Youngster and parent often had to bear their grief in silence so as not to jeopardize the safety of the other. For many hidden children, the wartime separation became permanent.
The War of the Worlds
Foster families created elaborate explanations for the presence of a new face in their home, identifying the child as a distant relative, friend, or surviving member of a bombed-out household. In some rescue networks, parents were not permitted to contact their children or know their whereabouts. The children themselves well understood the need for security. Jewish children who lived in hiding generally were treated well by their rescuers. But not all youngsters had such experiences.
Related Links Hiding places and hardships Personal Histories about the experiences of both children and young adults False identities Personal Histories about the experiences of both children and young adults. The ruthlessness of Nazi rule and the barbarities of war forced some children to mature beyond their years. The daily experiences of hidden children varied, depending upon whether they could live openly and perhaps attend school and socialize with others their age, or had to be physically concealed.
The Eve of the War
For those who were not permitted to journey outside, life in hiding was often filled with pain, torment, and boredom. Toys and Play. Even in the ghettos and concentration camps, Jewish children sought solace in games. For hidden children who often had few personal belongings, toys took on special meaning. They could help forge a bond between the children and rescuers or reaffirm a tie to their missing parents or family.
On the way to the lake, Sam's group encounters Hunter who was banished from Perdido Beach. He has become infested with parasitic bugs, which have begun to eat him from the inside out. After revealing that he was unable to use his powers on himself, Hunter tearfully begs Sam to kill him, believing the bugs to be his punishment for being bad accidentally killing someone.
Sam agrees, but Hunter's death releases bugs that cannot be killed by Sam.
Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust
A coyote then leads them to the creatures that are causing parasitic insect infections. The group attacks the creatures, but Dekka becomes infested with insects in the process, even though Sam burned off her shoulder in order to protect her. When near the lake, Sam and the others find a building from a nearby military airbase the barrier cuts off the remainder of the base They find a lone boy, Toto, whose mutant power is to tell truth from lie. They also find a train, with valuable supplies of Pepsi and Nutella, as well as Apple devices and lawn appliances and a train car full of handheld missile launchers.
Turk and Lance what remains of the Human Crew assault Albert and shoot him in the eye. Drake, who has been locked up in a basement escapes, as his guard, Orc, is drunk. Once free, Drake travels to the gaiaphage and is met by an army of bugs, who begin to clear the way into the mine shaft. When they reach the lake, Sam and his group are confronted by the bugs. The bugs have grown to the size of SUVs and are being commanded by Drake. The group escapes back to Perdido Beach.
The town is in chaos: the plague overwhelms the town and hospitalizes many kids; Albert is attacked by the "Human Crew" and is only saved when his maid finds him near death. The bugs have grown again and Edilio instructs Quinn to row to the island and find Caine, as he has the power to kill the bugs. Caine accepts the challenge, hoping to become king after saving the town.
The bugs arrive in Perdido Beach but Caine and Brianna cannot fight them.