Hiding ‘beneath the surface’ is a term for living in closed shelters, from which there is no or there is a limited way out. It was a hiding method chose by Jews who had an ‘inappropriate look’ or didn’t speak Polish well enough to, with a help of forged documents, hide ‘on the surface’ pretending to be Polish. Jews hiding ‘beneath the surface’ were dependent on help from the outside and virtually deprived of influence on events that could decide their life or death.
This method of hiding was implemented in places located under the ground literally like basement, dugout, drainage tube or well.This term refers also to living in the shelters that were physically on the ground, such as room or part of a room (eg. storage space, tile stove), an attic or a whole house, but because of a lack of possibility of their leaving are defined as ‘beneath the surface’.
A large concentration of this kind of shelters was in Warsaw, where however due to the war and then further damages associated with the process of city rebuilding not much remained after them. The places they used to be in have changed their previous character so much that today it is impossible to figure out their dramatic history.