Resistance fighters, for example, and pilots who had been shot down.

Others went into hiding too

Ration coupons During the Occupation all sorts of goods are rationed so that everybody can buy a bit of these scarce products.
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The Frank and Van Pels families, along with Fritz Pfeffer, had to go into hiding because they were Jewish. But it wasn’t just Jews who went into hiding in the Netherlands. The lives of for example resistance workers were at risk too. Like the Jews, they too needed to find places to hide. People chose a wide variety of places to go into hiding. Some people hid in cities, others in the country. Hiding places could be large or small. Some people had to stay inside all day, while others were able to walk around freely outside. They were the ones with well made forged papers.


In hiding

The Frank family, together with the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer, went into hiding for two years.


The decision to go into hiding

According to estimates, approximately 300,000 people of which probably 28,000 Jews, hid in the Netherlands, either for a short or long time period.  For the resistance, the question of  "to hide or not to hide? ", was in fact no real question. If they didn't want end up in prison, they had to go into hiding. For many Jewish families, it was a question as well. A difficult question. Why go into hiding when you had done nothing wrong? And perhaps, the camps were not that bad.

"During that time, our family had to decide whether we were going underground or not. My father believed that we would be better off  doing what we were told. He felt that it was dangerous to choose a different option. He was also right to do so. But this was not a guarantee that a safe place existed. Above all, the camps were really bad, but we had a chance to survive, because we were young and strong.  My father was not going to go into hiding. My mother wanted to go into hiding, but opted in favour of my father. I wanted to go into hiding. In the end, and after much discussion, I had the support of my mother and I was going to go into hiding. I was fifteen, full of enthusiasm and I hoped that I would be saved. "

Ted Musaph-Andriesse

Verborgen toegang naar onderduikplek
A hidden entrance, through a toilet, to a hiding place

Children in hiding

Some Jewish parents faced a difficult decision during the war. It was sometimes easier for an individual child to go into hiding with a host family. For the parents, that meant leaving their child behind at a hiding place on their own. Sometimes even babies had to be hidden this way.

Some helpers were prepared the risk taking a child in. For adults, it was harder to find a good hiding place. The Jewish children hidden this way simply became one of the family. The hosts might have claimed the child had come from Rotterdam, where many records had been lost in the bombings. 



Of the 25,000 Jews who went into hiding, 8,000 were discovered. They’d often been betrayed. If you were arrested in hiding, you would be sent as a criminal to transit camp Westerbork’s prison block before being deported to a concentration camp. For the helpers, the outcome varied. Sometimes only those in hiding were arrested and their helpers left alone, but other times the helpers were arrested too. In theory, there were heavy penalties for being caught helping a Jew. In practice, that wasn’t always the case.

Margot Frank is called up She has to go to a labour camp in Germany

On 5 July 1942, Margot Frank is called up, along with thousands of other Jews in Amsterdam...


In hiding No one knows how long they’ll have to stay hidden

From Monday July 6, 1942 the Frank family goes into hiding...


The hiding place A bookcase hides the entrance

The hiding place at 263 Prinsengracht is relatively spacious. There is enough room for two families.


Tension and arguments Sometimes, emotions run high

Eight people, living in extremely cramped quarters, in a stifling Secret Annex… the tension is unbearable...


Daily activities Reading and studying help pass the time

The people in hiding are on a tight schedule.


The war rages on The helpers, and the radio, deliver updates

'Today I have nothing but dismal and depressing news to report...