1. When Jews found out about news of Allied victory, were hiding Jews able to simply come out openly in safety? Why might that not be the case?

  2. How did they know that this, or other information, wasn’t just a ploy to root them out?

  • 5
    There were Allied troops in much of Germany. Hard to fake that.
    – o.m.
    May 10, 2020 at 9:55
  • 2
    You might have a look at the book "The Last Jews in Berlin," which deals with this issue. There was one scene where the Jews emerged from hiding places to welcome the Russian liberators, the Nazis counterattacked, and some Jews were "caught" as a result.
    – Tom Au
    May 10, 2020 at 21:30
  • 2
    This question is non-trivial. There were instances of abuses continuing at concentration camps even after Allied soldiers had arrived on the premises, and there were other instances of "liberated" areas falling back into German hands with consequences for some who had "outed" themselves in the meantime.
    – Tom Au
    May 10, 2020 at 21:49
  • 1
    The The Last Jews in Berlin is also available to read on Internet Archive if you prefer not to wait. May 12, 2020 at 7:32
  • 2
    I don't have a reference at hand, but Jews were also killed in Poland by polish civilians, when they went back to attempt reclaim property or homes they had been forced to leave, some time after the official end of the war. "Safe" was, and is, relative.
    – user18963
    May 13, 2020 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


It was safe for Jews to reveal themselves in German occupied territory only when the Allies had not only occupied the territory, but disarmed the local Germans, and established the rule of law under non-German auspices. Not before. Some people "revealed" themselves before this, and some paid the price, as related in books such as "The Last Jews of Berlin."

There was a fair amount of "seesaw" fighting in Europe, even during the last days. The only real safety before the establishment of Allied control was achieved might have been to retreat in the direction that the Allied troops were coming "from." There was no guarantee that newly arrived Allied troops would be able to hold on to the territory that they had just liberated. Unless the troops had moved on voluntarily, other than the military police.

The Nazis were "die hards" who used every trick in the book to last as long as possible. For instance, a group of SS men sewed Stars of David to their arm bands, and pretended to Russian liberators that they were Jews "impressed" into German service. This trick resembled Germans masquerading as "American" soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge to hinder the Allied response. The SS men were slaughtered when they were unable to authenticate their Jewishness with knowledge of religious passages such as "Schmaa Israel." And German guards sometimes continued to abuse prisoners in concentration camps after Allied soldiers had arrived and ordered them to stop. They had to be disarmed.

  • Excellent answer; I was skeptical that there was an answer to this question, since the answer is intrinsically a range, but you've managed to articulate the underlying factors. Well done.
    – MCW
    May 13, 2020 at 11:28
  • @TomAu Have you sources for this trick of the SS?
    – K-HB
    May 16, 2020 at 9:21
  • @K-HB: That came from "the Last Jews in Berlin," as well as the other anecdotes. The Russians picked up one of our "heroes" a Jew, who claimed to be such. The troops were skeptical. The CO said, "Say the Schm'aa." He did. The officer said, "He's a Jew." Then the other soldiers told him why the CO ran the quiz (as the Americans did on each other at the Battle of the Bulge.) They related the story of the SS men with the stars of David..Apparently they flunked the quiz.
    – Tom Au
    May 16, 2020 at 14:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.