Masks for Survival

The Experiences of Jews Who Passed in Poland and Germany during the Holocaust
  • Lenore J. Weitzman


Throughout occupied Europe, Jews thwarted Nazi plans to exterminate them by relying on false documents — and on their own courage and ingenuity — to blend into the local population and pass as non-Jews. Despite the constant tension of being on guard every minute of the day, and despite the ever-present threat of death if they were caught, they managed to defy the Third Reich and to survive the Holocaust.


Personal Interview Jewish Identity Jewish Family Mixed Marriage Ration Card 
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  1. Marion Kaplan estimates that a larger percentage, closer to three fifths of the German Jews, managed to leave eventually, but she too notes that the largest single emigration was in 1939, after Kristallnacht, when 78,000 Jews left. Before then, more than half of the 500,000 German Jews were still in Germany. Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p.132 citing Herbert Strauss ‘Jewish Emigration from Germany, Part 1’, Leo Baeck Yearbook (1980), pp.317–18, 326–27.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    The largest number of Jews to leave Germany in one year left after the November pogrom: 78,000 in 1939. In September 1939 there were about 185,00 racially defined Jews left in Germany (out of an initial population of about 500,000 in 1933.) By October 1941, when all Jewish immigration was banned, there were 164,000 Jews left in Germany. Marion Kaplan Between Dignity and Despair, p. 132 citing Herbert Strauss ‘Jewish Emigration from Germany, Part 1’, Leo Beck Yearbook (1980).Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    Ruth Andreas-Friedrich, Berlin Underground: 1938–1945 (New York: Henry Holt, 1947), p.70.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    Nathan Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany (New York: W.W. Norton, 1996).Google Scholar
  5. 28.
    Nechama Tec When Light Pierced the Darkness (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), p.36.Google Scholar
  6. 30.
    See, for example, Monika Richarz (ed.), Jewish Life in German: Memoirs from Three Generations (University of Indiana Press, 1991); Marion Kaplan Between Dignity and Despair; Google Scholar
  7. Marion Kaplan, The Making of the Jewish Middle Class (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  8. 34.
    Alan Abrams Special Treatment: The Untold Story of Hitler’s Third Race, (1985), cited in Kaplan, p.76.Google Scholar
  9. 35.
    Adina Blady Szwajger, Remember Nothing More (New York: Pantheon, 1990), p. 158.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lenore J. Weitzman

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