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Who are the Hidden Children?

Even today, no one knows how many Jewish children were hidden during the war. The one most people know is Anne Frank. But there were many others, perhaps as many as 100,000, who lived their own nightmares.

The survival of these hidden children depended mostly on their parents' actions. Parents needed the means, the will, the determination and the courage to move the family into the forbidden, Christian world. To increase the chances of their children's survival, they often placed them in Christian homes and institutions, thus separating these "lucky" youngsters from everything they held dear -- their families, friends, traditions and communities.

To support their new identities, these hidden children had to learn new names, dates and places. And to blend in, they were taught to practice Christianity. Any inconsistency could arouse suspicion; one slip could mean disaster.

From an early age, hidden children were expected to contribute to their own safety by leaving their past behind and remaining silent. For many, giving up their true identity created an emotional void which lasted a lifetime.

Many of the youngest hidden children never knew they were Jewish. Others learned this secret many years later. Even today, many Christians are only now learning of their Jewish birth and that their "real" families perished in the Holocaust.

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