Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hiding to Survive: Stories of Jewish Children Rescued from the Holocaust

The number of Jewish children who were hidden during the Holocaust is estimated to be somewhere between ten thousand and five hundred thousand. The range is so vast because there are no records of the children and rescuers who were caught and killed by the Nazis. Nor is it known how many children survived by hiding but have preferred to keep their story private. In any case, it's guessed that about 1 percent of the Gentile population in Europe hid Jewish children. (p. 5)

Maxine Rosenberg's Hiding to Survive: Stories of Jewish Children Rescued from the Holocaust is another book which came out from the 1991 international conference for hidden children which was held in New York City. Rosenberg offers fourteen first person narratives based on interviews with Jewish children who were hidden in Greece, Belgium, Poland, Holland, Hungary, Lithuania, and France. Each adult interviewed tells a different childhood story of being hidden during the war - they all have one thing in common - survival. And while 1 percent of the population which hid these children may seem small, for these specific children it meant the world.

The book begins with a brief and concise history of Hitler's rise to power and his march through Europe with the intent of killing all of the Jewish people and others deemed unimportant. This history sets the stage for the individual stories. Each story begins with a photograph of the individual from sometime before or during the war and ends with a current (early 1990s) photograph. In some cases, a photograph of the rescuer is also included. The stories vary widely, but all must have been very traumatic for the children who were often separated from their families abruptly and, in most cases, did not know the new family or people they were to live with. To further complicate matters, both the children and their rescuers were scared - scared they would be turned in to the Nazis and killed. When asked why they risked their lives, and the lives of their own family, to rescue Jewish children, most replied, I only did whqat I'd hope another human being would do for me (p. 8). If only we all always observed the Golden Rule of do unto others!

The author also includes a glossary and a short bibliography.

Standards-based Activities with Scoring Rubrics: Performance-based projects by Jacqueline Glasgow contains an excellent activity for this book which will engage students with the children who survived during the Holocaust. You can view the entire activity and rubric from Google Books at the link above.

TITLE: Hiding to Survive: Stories of Jewish Children Rescued from the Holocaust
AUTHOR: Maxine R. Rosenberg
PAGES: 166
TYPE: Holocaust narratives
RECOMMEND: The stories presented in this compilation provide compelling evidence that what Anne Frank believed - that people really are good - was at least true for the population of people who risked their lives to save small children from the Holocaust.

1 comment:

sandhya said...

Yes, I agree with what Anne believed too, that people are really good. It is so often the case, isn't it, that ordinary people just want to be free to live their lives in peace, and do not always subscribe to the ideologies of their masters?
There is also a question posed to me by my 9 yr old. She asked this after watching a bit of 'Life is beautiful'. Why, she asked, did the Jews quietly follow the orders of the Nazis, and get into the trains. Why didn't they hide? Why didn't they protest and fight back? Why did they accept it all so meekly? Well, I explained that not all went, that there were many who hid. We then had a discussion about Anne Frank, and another book that I wrote about.
But I couldn't quite answer her query about the apparent obedience and meekness of the Jews. Could you help me there?