Jews who went underground had to spend years pretending to be someone else. Relieved when they could finally reassume their true identity, they were then faced with the challenge of starting a new life. Many Jewish children who survived separated from their parents were now orphans. Those who were saved had to confirm their identity in order to receive state assistance for housing and food, or in order to travel back to their home country, but many of them lacked the necessary official documents.

Abandoning Her Assumed Identity: Ilse Rewald

Ilse and Werner Rewald survived in Berlin. Many non-Jewish acquaintances arranged for various quarters and forged documents for them. Ilse Rewald assumed the name Maria Treptow. The Rewalds buried their ID cards marked with a “J” (for Jude, or “Jew”) in a canning jar in the yard. After liberation they dug them back out. Once an instrument of Nazi disenfranchisement and persecution, the Jewish ID cards had become important proof of identity enabling them to receive food and social welfare benefits. The couple gradually found their way back into a normal life and a new livelihood. The experience of having survived through the willingness of many people to help, moved Ilse Rewald and her husband to stay in their hometown of Berlin.

Continuing to Help the Persecuted: Adolfo Kaminsky

During the German occupation of France, Adolfo Kaminsky, a Jew, went underground. He worked with the French Resistance in Paris by forging ID cards and documents, thereby saving lives. After liberation, Adolfo Kaminsky continued to live under an assumed identity for another thirty years. Out of conviction he kept forging papers, initially for Jews who lacked the necessary authorization to immigrate to Palestine. Kaminsky provided people who had gone into hiding or escaped with papers and false identities: in the Algerian War, in the Latin American liberation movements, the revolts against dictators in Portugal, Spain, and Greece, and in the South African anti-apartheid movement. Kaminsky developed increasingly refined technical methods and was often on the run himself.

Learning Her True Background: Dina Büchler

Not until after liberation did five-year-old Dina Büchler learn that she was Jewish and that her parents had been murdered. In 1941 she and her mother had been interned in the Loborgrad camp in Croatia. Her mother managed to smuggle out one-year-old Dina. The Catholic Beritić family took her in. To disguise her she was called Marija and was baptized. The girl knew that Đina Beritić was not her real mother.

Blanka Fürst, a relative of her mother, survived in hiding with partisans. Shortly after liberation, she picked up Dina Büchler.