Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and Its Aftermath

By Joshua D. Zimmerman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
Hiding and Passing on
the Aryan Side

A GENDERED COMPARISON
NECHAMA TEC

By 1941, in Nazi-occupied Poland, the presence of illegal Jews on the so-called Aryan side signaled an opposition to the Nazi policies of Jewish annihilation. Concentrating on these illegal Jews, this chapter explores how gender might have affected their coping skills and strategies of survival. More specifically, I will examine four diverse but related sets of conditions that seem to have made a difference in the lives of these Jewish women and men. My discussion begins with a look at the laws directed toward Jews and is followed with a discussion of a few laws that applied to the nonJewish native population. From there I begin to focus on some select characteristics of the Jewish women and men, ending with an examination of several emergent political and economic conditions that affected the lives of Jewish women and men. 1

In Eastern Europe, including territories that had been a part of prewar Poland, Jews were confronted by continuous brutal attacks that eventually led to forceful removals into ghettos which were located in the most dilapidated areas of urban centers. By 15 October 1941, a new law made any unauthorized Jewish move outside the ghetto a crime punishable by death. 2 The same punishment applied to Christians who helped Jews move to and stay in the forbidden Christian world. 3

Widely publicized, this law became well known, and transgressions were promptly followed by executions which were also widely publicized. 4 The Germans were efficient. To the continuous antisemitic propaganda, they added awards for those who would denounce Jews. The nature of these prizes varied depending on the locality and the demands for certain goods. They might have

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