Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust
How was a young boy able to survive in an attic, alone, for two years? How did a young child cope with being hidden in a convent, while her sister was hidden in a nearby farm, and her parents were sent to a concentration camp? How was a young girl able to survive on the run, with only forged papers to keep her safe?
These incredible stories of survival, strength, and courageousness in the face of unspeakable horrors are those of the hidden children during the Holocaust. This exhibition tells the tales of Chicago area hidden children who survived the Holocaust. Through over 70 pictures, panels, interviews, and biographical narratives, visitors can learn the personal stories of these Survivors who braved tremendous odds when they were only children.
Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust is based on a book of the same name, published by Northwestern University Press. In the book, photographs accompany each of the hidden children’s personal stories and anecdotes which relate to their lives in Europe during the war. Each panel in the exhibition represents one of the twenty-four authors of the book and features photographs of these hidden children as well as their personal stories of what they experienced during the war.
ABOUT THE HIDDEN CHILDREN
A generation of Jewish children disappeared during the Holocaust. When they weren’t killed outright, they died of hunger, disease, or other Holocaust-induced causes. Yet a handful of children did survive.
To survive, most of these children were hidden in some fashion, sometimes with their families but mostly alone. They lived with Christian families, in convents, farms, forests, underground caves, attics, or other makeshift shelters.
Silent for a long time, possibly because their parents could not break their silence, some of these hidden children began to speak about forty-five years after the end of the war. The relief they found in speaking led them to other hidden children with experiences similar to theirs. These connections grew worldwide, and in 1991, the first international gathering of sixteen hundred Hidden Children was held in New York. It was organized by the Hidden Child Committee, with the help of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The Hidden Children/Child Survivors Chicago group consists of local Jewish adults who were hidden during the Holocaust in order to survive. Like other child survivors, they are the last generation to have witnessed the Holocaust.
Photo credits: Emily Mohney