Jews in Hiding on the “Aryan Side”

Occupied Poland – 15th October 1941 – the first ordinance was issued in which Nazi Germany forbids, under penalty of death, Jews from leaving ghettos and Poles from providing them with any aid. In the following months, similar regulations were issued in all districts within the General Government. They determined the further fate of Jews who had not, as yet, obeyed the order to move into a ghetto or who had risked reaching the “Aryan side” after being locked within a ghetto. In another text, devoted to the death penalty, we write, in detail, about the consequences of the German ordinance upon the inhabitants of the General Government for helping Jews.

The greatest wave of Jewish escapees from ghettos took place in the periods before and shortly after deportations, i.e., during “Operation Reinhardt” in 1942–1943. The aim of this operation was the murder, by the Germans, of the Jewish populations of five districts within the General Government (Warsaw, Radom, Kraków, Lublin, Galicia and, later, from the Białystok district also). Displacement meant the deportation of ghetto inhabitants to extermination camps, with some of the being murdered on the spot. In order to survive the Holocaust, Jews had to hide on the “Aryan side” or change their identity.

In this section, we discuss, in detail and in many aspects, the experiences of Jews hiding on the “Aryan side” during the German occupation of Poland (1939–1945). Using the studies by researchers, from various disciplines, we present the “strategies” of Jewish survival – the types and characterics of their hiding places in the cities and in the provinces. We present their individual stories, together with related artefacts from the collection of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. We also indicate permanent evidence of the Holocaust in contemporary Polish culture and present the research work, currently underway, to preserve such hiding places.