Jews in hiding
In 1940, the Germans began establishing ghettos – sealed-off districts for the Jewish population – in occupied Poland. In 1942, they began a process of their liquidation and the mass deportation of Jews to death camps. The only way to survive was to go into hiding. Jews were looking for a shelter on the "Aryan side".
The ghetto and the "Aryan side"
Some of the Jews refused to comply with the German order to relocate to the ghettos. In order to survive, however, they had to go into hiding and completely change their identity.
“When a Jew found himself on the Aryan side, there were two possible choices he could take: he or she could either remain »on the surface« or live underground” – wrote Emanuel Ringelblum in the autumn of 1943.
Pola Dwurnik on hiding places
The topic of “Hiding Places on the Aryan side” was very difficult for me. Based on transcriptions of conversations with those who were part of the events, I was able to create drawings related to particular stories.
The financial issue
Financial resources of Jews were often crucial in searching of shelter and every daylife in hiding. Only some Jews had the possibility of obtaining paid work.
The knowledge of the Polish language and culture
Escaping the ghetto and living “on Aryan papers” was a choice usually made by assimilated Jews – those familiar with the culture and the basic holiday customs of the Poles.
Jews with “good looks” usually opted for lives “above” – moving around the town equipped with false IDs. Those unlucky enough to have “the wrong looks” were usually destined to remain in confined hideouts.