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Hidden Children or more correctly "Hidden Children of the Holocaust," is a term for the (mainly Jewish) children who, during the Holocaust, were hidden in various different ways, in order to save them from the Nazis. Not all attempts to save them were successful, see for instance the story of Anne Frank.

Methods of hidingEdit

Children were hidden in several different ways, each way being traumatic, but those where the child was separated from his or her parents even more traumatic (and see next section).[1][2][3][4][5][6]

1) a child who was actually hidden with at least one of his parents, in some physical location, such as a secret attic. The family would need at least one outside non-Jewish "helper," who brought daily food and other supplies. The lives of the helpers were in extreme danger if the Nazis were to find out this deception, since then they themselves would all be murdered.

2) a child who was "hidden" in a convent, as-if one of the other regular Catholic children. The child would have to be able to behave as all the other Catholic convent children behaved - know his prayers, know how to handle a rosary, know how to behave during mass, etc. All these skills the child would have to learn very fast. In this case, at least one of the nuns, and generally more, would have to know that the child was actually Jewish and "hiding." Once again, the lives of the nuns were in extreme danger if the Nazis were to find out this deception.

3) a child who, during the Holocaust, was placed into the care of a "foster-family," usually Catholic, and raised as if one of the family. To explain the sudden "arrival" of this "new" child into the family, he might for instance be described as a cousin who had come to join this family, perhaps from the countryside. Since he was now a new member of this Catholic family, he too would have to be able to behave as other Catholic children behaved - know his prayers, know how to handle a rosary, know how to behave during mass, etc. Once again, the lives of the true family-members were in extreme danger if the Nazis were to find out this deception.

Some such "foster-family" children were only babies at the time they were "placed" with a foster-family, others only toddlers or else still very young.

The experience of these "foster family" Hidden Children is very similar to that of the One Thousand Children.

4) a child "hidden" by the Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE) as part of their activities in France. (During the war, OSE was unable to continue its earlier work in Poland and elsewhere.)

In each of these cases, there had to be at least one non-Jewish, probably Catholic, helper on the outside, who risked his or her own life to help. Whenever there are any records about such a person, that person is designated and honored as a Righteous Gentile.

TraumaEdit

Hidden Children faced significant trauma during and after World War II.[7][8]

Most importantly, except when the child was in hiding with at least one parent, the Hidden Child had "lost" his parents and his parental support during the war. Instead he went into the care, good or bad, of strangers.

Younger Hidden Children were often too young to remember their parents. Older Hidden Children knew that if they were discovered by the Nazis their fate was dire.

After the war, as with nearly all Child Survivors of the Holocaust, the Hidden Child never regained his parents, who nearly surely had been murdered by the Nazis. Usually some difficult delay, generally he would be truly adopted by a caring new family - but the trauma just mentioned would remain with him.

Recognition and restitution by German GovernmentEdit

In 2014, the German Government, through the Claims Conference, officially arranged to make an extra restitution payment of 2,500 Euros to each such Hidden Child; over and above any other Restitution for Holocaust experiences to which they were entitled. This was in recognition that any physical or emotional trauma suffered by a child would be greater than that suffered by an adult in similar circumstances, because the child would not yet have developed full mature coping skills. Due to budgetary constraints, the amount of the payment (about $3,300 at the time) is only a small token, but with high symbolic value.[9][10][11]

DocumentaryEdit

A 2002 documentary, Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During WWII, covered the Hidden Children.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hidden Children: Quest for Family".
  2. ^ http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/newsletter/24/hidden_children.asp
  3. ^ "Hidden Children in France".
  4. ^ "Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust".
  5. ^ http://www.mjhnyc.org/LISHC/index.htm"
  6. ^ Here the ADL describes, with photos, a few Child Survivors, not all being Hidden Children http://archive.adl.org/children_holocaust/children_main1.html
  7. ^ Moskovitz, Sarah "LOVE DESPITE HATE - Child Survivors of the Holocaust and their Adult Lives." Schocken Books, New York 1983. ISBN 0-8052-3801-8.
  8. ^ Krell, Robert "Child Holocaust Survivors, Memories and Reflections." Trafford Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4251-3720-5.
  9. ^ "Claims Conference Reaches Landmark Agreement with Germany to Assist Child Survivors of the Holocaust". 2014-09-03.
  10. ^ "Child Survivor Fund: Frequently Asked Questions".
  11. ^ "Apply for Compensation".