The hidden children of the holocaust is a topic that when discussed will fill your eyes full of tears.
If you have a heart and especially if you have children of your own which I do these stories of survival will cut to the core.
There were about 1.6 million children living in Europe at the outbreak of World War II and the holocaust.
By the end of the holocaust there were less than 500,000 children who were able to survive by endurance or hiding.
Hiding came about in two forms. Children were literally physically hidden or they took on false identities to avoid being sent to holocaust ghettos, concentration or death camps.
The jewish children in the above photo managed to survive in a convent in Poland while other children were denied such privileged range of motion as they were forced to hide in cramped quarters.
Just for a moment imagine those of us with children especially infants or toddlers……your child’s life depended on complete silence.
Children are accustomed to having time outdoors to run, jump, scream and just be free.
Hidden children during the holocaust were punished by having to remain indoors hidden during the daylight hours and some hidden children were able to come out of hiding during the night but with extreme caution.
So difficult it was for Jewish children in hiding to see or hear the German children playing and laughing with their friends.
The children in hiding were hiding indefinitely so how did they spend their days, months and sometimes years of forced silence.
As you can see in the above photo some hidden children managed to conceal one of their prized toys such as a dollie or a teddy bear which resulted in being a best friend.
Some children had imaginary friends, others read the same book over and over. Some children would try to draw by the crack of daylight that shined into the hiding place.
One hidden child that most people remember is Anne Frank.
Anne Frank was 13 years old when she and her family went into hiding. She and 7 other family members and friends survived 2 years hiding in a secret annex above her father’s work building.
The Diary of Anne Frank was written by Anne while in hiding in Nazi occupied Netherlands. In this diary Ann depicts well a child’s life robbed of privileges by the Nazi regime.
Living in hiding was a brutal and fearful experience.
Normal day experiences that we take for granted were no longer permissable such as food, water, bathing and clothing.
One never knew if a host family of a hidden child or family was going to expose their hiding place in exchange for money.
The Jewish children that were forced into hiding experienced two types of traumatic experiences.
The first traumatic experience was having to depart from their parents, siblings and other family members at such a young age.
The second somewhat dreadful experience was after the war the young children being informed they were Jewish but afraid to reveal that identity for fear of further persecution.
Many children had become so comfortable with Christian families that took them in that they had a hard time detaching and so did the rescuing family.
The stories of survival for the hidden children of the holocaust are beyond amazing and as you read or listen to the testimonies you can see the hand of God on their lives much like Moses in the Old Testament in the Bible.
The children in hiding could have easily given up hope but chose to endure and take one day at a time. The children found ways to pass the time because they believed that one day all the insanity in Europe would come to an end.
Anne Frank made and inspirational quote in her diary:
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”