Hiding Places

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Vladek: In the kitchen was a coal cabinet maybe 4 feet wide. Inside I made a hole to go down to the cellar. And there we made a brick wall filled high with coal. Behind this wall we could be a little safe.

-Maus, pg. 110

I'm absolutely fascinated by the bunkers Vladek describes in this half of the book. I recently went to see Inglorious Basterds, and in the beginning of the film, a man hides a few Jews underneath his floor. However, they were simply laying under the floorboards. In Maus, the hiding spaces were much more elaborate, and they actually worked! After I read this part of the book, I'm really curious about Jewish Bunkers. Vladek always talks about the importance of trade--he held onto valuables in order to barter later. Is that how he managed to build the bunkers? I'm sure they didn't have a lot of time to build the bunker in the basement of the kitchen, or the bunker in the attic, so it's really surprising that they were able to actually hide from the Gestapo. The only way they were found was if they left their hiding place or if someone lead the Nazis back to their hidden bunkers. I'm still confused on how the coal-bunker worked. How did they cover up the entrance with coal once they were inside the bunker? I decided to do a little research about the bunkers from the Holocaust, because I wanted to see what they look like in real life--I found a photo:

The more I read, the harder it was for me to understand what these people were going through. I can't imagine hiding and going without food for such an extended period of time. It really is incredible that people were actually successful in hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

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