For many decades after the Holocaust, much of the history of the hidden children and their rescuers was unknown. From 1939 to 1945, this unique group of survivors was protected from the ghettos, the concentration and death camps by 19,000 heroic non-Jewish rescuers. Some were hidden "in the open" as Christians in convents or orphanages, while others faced silent and solitary childhoods in haylofts, woods, attics, basements or sewers.
After the war, the stories of the surviving children were repressed because they were not seen as survivors of the war. For the most pasrt, they were seen as having not suffered at all. Those who had suffered were those who were deported and those who resisted. Hunger was supposed to have existed only in the concentration camps.
There were long-term psychological affects for the children growing up in war-time who hid their identities and gave up their freedom. The notion they were too young to understand what was going on around them and would not be affected by the events is not accurate. The Hidden Children explores the profound suffering of the hidden children, the circumstances that prevented the surviving children from having a normal childhood and the long-term psychological impact of their living situations.
Directed by Lisa Reznik
Editor: Cheree Dillon
Dr. Harriet Sepinwall, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ
Lawrence Glaser, New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, Trenton, NJ
Professor Joanna Sliwa, Kean University, Union, NJ