"Aryan papers"

"Aryan papers" – the Jews hiding during the war by taking on a false "Aryan" identity had to obtain the evidence of their new personal details. These documents included, first and foremost, the Kennkarte – a German identification document – as well as the birth certificate, certificate of residence, work card, etc. Having a birth certificate and a residence slip made it possible to apply for a Kennkarte individually: hence, the only document that many individuals were trying to obtain was a Christian birth certificate that could be prepared, among others, by members of the clergy. Various underground organizations, including the Council to Aid Jews “Żegota", which took advantage of the services of the Home Army “legalization unit”, would produce Aryan papers for the members of their organisations; they issued in total 50 thousand false documents for the individuals under its care. The Council to Aid Jews itself has managed to produce a total of 50 thousand false documents for those who remained under its care. The papers could also be bought for substantial amounts of money on the black market (mainly in urban fairs) from the professional counterfeiters and from the employees of the municipal offices. Sometimes the documents were handed to the Jews by their Polish friends.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [Chronicling the Jewish World in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.


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