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Making Home, Making Sense: Aural Experiences of Warsaw and East Galician Jews in Subterranean Shelters during the Holocaust

Créer un chez-soi, créer du sens : expériences d’écoute de Juifs de Varsovie et de Galicie orientale dans des abris souterrains pendant l’Holocauste
Nikita Hock

Résumés

Cet article s’intéresse aux expériences auditives décrites et interprétées dans des journaux intimes tenus lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale par des Juifs réfugiés dans des bunkers souterrains, abris et caves situées sous les centres urbains de Varsovie et de ses alentours, ainsi que dans la région rurale de la Galice orientale. Des concepts de la musicologie et des sound studies permettent de caractériser ces abris comme des instances d’« architecture sonore », les flux sonores de l’extérieur étant canalisés par des conduits perforés. Cette étude met donc en lumière, et contextualise, des aspects importants de la façon dont les Juifs de Galicie orientale ont habité leurs abris. Une attention particulière est conférée à la variété de techniques corporelles relatives au son ainsi qu’à des pratiques plus complexes – surveiller « l’extérieur », adapter les routines quant aux façons d’habiter – façonnant la vie quotidienne dans ces lieux de dissimulation. L’article traite ensuite de l’interaction entre les conditions acoustiques dans les cachettes et les descriptions imaginatives qui sont faites de ces cachettes. En examinant ce que les auteurs des carnets pouvaient entendre du monde extérieur et la façon dont cela sonnait à leurs oreilles, il est alors possible de rendre compte de différences prononcés s’agissant du sens donné aux conditions de vie. Tributaires non seulement de la nature des sons qui pouvaient être entendus, mais aussi de leur pénétration et localisation dans le souterrain, ces auteurs donnent aux confins de leurs cachettes une interprétation usant de métaphores qui mettent variablement en lumière la protection et l’exclusion sociale.

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Introduction and state of research

Introduction

1Following the dissolution of most ghettos in 1942, many Jews of Central and Eastern Europe—those who had managed to evade deportation and death—went into hiding. Carving out temporary and long-term spaces in the existing topography of towns, villages and their surroundings, they created precarious life-worlds beyond German control. In these last-ditch attempts to survive by eluding surveillance regimes of both Germans and locals, some Jews literally went underground. From wooden boxes buried in a Ukrainian farmer’s barn to bunkers connected to tunnel systems under the rubble of the destroyed Warsaw ghetto, these parallel spaces became settings for a reconfigured daily life. Experiencing the often harsh conditions underground for weeks, months and even years gave the inhabitants time to document and reflect on their situation. This essay examines diaries written at the time in those underground hideouts. In doing so, it contrasts the depictions and interpretation of sounds in diaries written in rural and urban environments, mainly focusing on journals kept underground in and around Warsaw and in the rural region of East Galicia, which nowadays spans the Southeast of Poland and Western Ukraine.

Aural history of the Holocaust

  • 1 Landmark studies include Alain Corbin’s work on the role of bells in 19th-century France (Corbin Al (...)
  • 2 On the limitations and promises of this approach, see e.g. Smith Mark M., "Producing Sense, Consumi (...)

2This study is an examination of the historical realities of this experience of Jews by means of sound. It is thus situated within the broader realm of what has been variously termed aural history, or sound history.1 Engaging a wide range of textual, graphical, architectural and other sources, this relatively recent area of inquiry approaches the varieties of sound, sound production and listening in the past. Whether taking as their starting point village bells in rural France or the noise of early-20th-century New York, studies of this genre are informed by the notion that examining sound can yield fundamental insights into wider structures of sensation, emotion, knowledge and social attitudes.2

  • 3 Birdsall Carolyn, Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945, Amster (...)
  • 4 Jacobs Annelies, "The Silence of Amsterdam before and during World War II: Ecology, Semiotics and P (...)
  • 5 USHMM, "Bibliographies: Music", United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2018 (https://www.ushmm.or (...)
  • 6 Carolyn Birdsall provides a sophisticated analysis of themes occurring in narrative interviews of a (...)
  • 7 Gerlach Christian, “Echoes of Persecution: Sounds in Early Post-Liberation Jewish Memories”, Holoca (...)

3The aural history of the Holocaust, as a field, is at its very beginnings. The use of public sound in the Third Reich and its ideological context are the subject of Carolyn Birdsall’s Nazi Soundscapes.3 Presenting case studies for German cities, she examines how radio, loudspeakers and rally cries functioned to engage the German populace and shaped the experience of public urban spaces in the Third Reich. Several recent studies touch on the transformation of the aural environment in selected European cities during and in the immediate aftermath of German occupation.4 However, with the notable exception of studies on music,5 such examinations have yet to tackle in-depth the experience, production and making-sense of sound by Jews facing persecution during World War II.6 As a first foray, Christian Gerlach has recently provided an examination of sound recollections in early postwar statements by Holocaust survivors.7

History of Jewish hiding practices

  • 8 Paulsson Gunnar S., "Evading the Holocaust: The Unexplored Continent of Holocaust Historiography", (...)
  • 9 Paulsson Gunnar S., Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945, New Haven, Yale University P (...)

4In choosing Jewish hiding places as the setting to which to apply this approach, this essay contributes to what Gunnar S. Paulsson in 2001 diagnosed as the “unexplored continent of Holocaust historiography”.8 Invoking what influential Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg has proposed as categories of responses by victims—resistance, alleviation, evasion, paralysis and compliance—Paulsson pointed to the lack of scholarship on the phenomenon of evasion, namely Jewish escape and survival in hiding. While several subsequent publications, including in part Paulsson's own work,9 have begun to fill this gap, for the area of what before the war was Polish territory, this diagnosis can be said to still largely hold true.

  • 10 Ringelblum Emanuel, Pisma Emanuela Ringelbluma z getta [Emanuel Ringelblum’s writing from the ghett (...)
  • 11 Grynberg Michał, "Bunkry i schrony w warszawskim getcie [Bunkers and hideouts in the Warsaw ghetto] (...)
  • 12 Nalewajko-Kulikov Joanna, Strategie przetrwania: żydzi po aryjskiej stronie Warszawy [Strategies of (...)
  • 13 Melchior Małgorzata, "Uciekinierzy z gett po „stronie aryjskiej“ na prowincji dystryktu warszawskie (...)
  • 14 Leociak Jacek, Ratowanie: Opowiesci Polakow i Żydow [Rescue: Accounts by Poles and Jews], Warszawa, (...)

5Of the hiding places of Jews in the General Government, those in Warsaw have been addressed the most. Already during the war, Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum in his writings touched on hiding places that provided shelter from murderous violence and deportations, both in the ghetto and those on the so-called “Aryan side” beyond the ghetto wall.10 Subsequent historical scholarship concentrated on the building of ‘bunkers’, at times elaborate hiding places in which groups of people would hide during the Warsaw ghetto uprising and after its failure.11 The hiding practices of Jews outside the Warsaw ghetto are partly addressed in studies on their survival in the city.12 Daily life in hiding in the countryside, small towns and rural areas of the German zone of occupation remains less analysed.13 A growing amount of literature on the Holocaust in rural Poland deals with Jewish survival and hiding as a phenomenon of social history, mostly from the vantage point of Jewish-Polish relations, on which it relied and which it affected.14

Sources and approach

Sources

  • 15 For more on this mode of survival, see: Arad Yitzhak, "Jewish Family Camps in the Forests: An Origi (...)
  • 16 Representations of sounds can vary significantly between languages: Chion Michel, Sound: An Acoulog (...)

6This essay brings these two strands together, introducing the subject of Jewish hiding practices to the field of sound history. As its source base, it takes nineteen published and archival diaries written by Jews in underground bunkers, earthen dugouts and cellars under urban centres and rural areas of Central and Eastern Europe during World War II. A majority of the archival documents have not yet been accessed in Holocaust scholarship. Six of these diaries were written by Jews in various subterranean hiding places in Warsaw, both within and outside the ghetto walls. The other diaries come to us from rural and small-town areas: two from towns near Warsaw and Kraków, and eleven from a cluster of underground hiding places in towns of the predominantly rural region of Eastern Galicia, nowadays western Ukraine. Due to markedly more complex conditions, this short examination excludes diaries from well-constructed, semi-submerged shelters (ziemianki), often by partisans, in forests.15 Written in notebooks and on loose scraps of paper, these manuscripts range in length from several to four hundred pages. The gender distribution of the authors skews towards female, with twelve of the diaries written by women. Most were adults at the beginning of their diaries, and through their use of references and self-descriptions can be said to have come from an educated background. The diaries are composed in Polish, Yiddish and German. Quotes from archival material in Polish and German are provided in our own translation, with the original sound representation in the text provided where necessary.16

Approach

7Examining these accounts with an ear to sound is a rich area of research. This is not least due to the fact that the aural dimension, by necessity, crucially influences important facets of life in hiding: the need to control one’s own sound production so as not to be discovered, as well as the almost constant emotional and mental engagement with the sounds outside. As a preliminary examination, this essay takes up two aspects of this still under-researched area of study.

8Firstly, it highlights how the varying ability of sound to travel between the inside and the outside of the shelters impacted the daily life of Jews hiding underground. If, in the converted basements of a besieged Warsaw or a town in East Galicia, the relatively open architecture forced silence and immobility, the conditions in more insulated bunkers and rural dugouts permitted activities such as singing, talking, cooking and tending to basic hygiene. Most underground shelters fell somewhere in between these two extremes, with different areas of the shelter exposed in various ways. Here, the concepts of “aural architecture” from cultural acoustics and “perforation” from musicology are employed to describe how the built environment of underground hideouts affected the sounds that entered or exited them, limiting or allowing certain day-to-day practices.

9Secondly, this essay argues that the specifics of aural experiences in underground shelters contributed to how those in hiding related to the events unfolding outside, and how they framed their own state of being hidden. For the authors, aural experiences served as triggers and clues for imaginatory constructions of the war-time daily life outside of the shelter. Relating their own hiding to this inferred everyday, they use imagery that stresses the protective function or the socially excluding effects of the underground shelter. The experiences of sound that engendered such framings were shaped by the specific acoustic conditions in the architecturally varying subterranean hideouts. Attention to these conditions helps explain the diarists’ highlighting the protective function or the socially excluding effects of their surroundings. The affordances of sound that play a role here are a topic into which human geographers and sound-studies scholars have provided some insight. The essay draws on their work describing the interrelationships between place, sound and notions of presence.

  • 17 Sykes Jim, “Ontologies of acoustic endurance: rethinking wartime sound and listening”, Sound Studie (...)
  • 18 Sykes, “Ontologies of acoustic endurance”, p. 40.

10If this survey is a first examination of Jewish hiding practices by way of sound, the approach taken in doing so contributes to filling a gap in the aural history of war and violence. Reflecting on recent studies in this field, Jim Sykes has called for examining sonic life-worlds beyond immediately violent situations and combatant actors.17 The aural conditions in Jewish underground shelters here serve as an entry point to the wartime practices of a broad range of non-combatants, including women and children. Examining how they experienced and interpreted their aural conditions additionally shifts the focus beyond reactions to acute violence, to attitudes and meanings regarding daily life—both experienced in hiding on the inside and constructed, by way of sonic experience, about the war- and even peace-time outside. The approach taken in this essay thus permits a more complete understanding of the “experience of enduring the entire war”.18

Inhabiting perforated space

  • 19 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 698-748.
  • 20 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, p. 55.
  • 21 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 796–799.
  • 22 Ringelblum Emanuel, Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War, Evanston, Ill, Northwester (...)
  • 23 Zohar, “Jewish Subterranean Operations”, pp. 6; 19 ff.

11In Warsaw, the mass construction of hideouts began after the German Grossaktion or “great action”, the partial liquidation of the ghetto that began in July 1942. In several deportation waves over a period of two months, 250,000–300,000, or approximately half of the ghetto’s Jews, were sent to the extermination camp in Treblinka.19 The architecture of Warsaw tenements had made this task easy for the Germans: they were able to block the exits from the house, check the floors and remove resisting people from the apartments.20 Following this experience, ghetto inhabitants turned to the construction of longer-term hiding places. In the main ghetto area, underground constructions made use of the debris of buildings destroyed in the 1939 fighting.21 In the so-called “small ghetto”, hideouts were also built under apartments occupied by non-Jewish Poles after the deportations, masked as renovations.22 These hideouts ended up providing shelter during the time of the second large deportation action and the armed fighting in the ghetto that followed in January 1943.23

  • 24 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, p. 782; for more on the network: Grynberg, "Bu (...)
  • 25 Zohar, “Jewish Subterranean Operations”, p. 19 ff.
  • 26 Nalewajko-Kulikov, Strategie przetrwania, pp. 36–39; see also Engelking Barbara; Libionka Dariusz, (...)

12Those going into hiding underground modified already existing infrastructure. Hiding places below ground—the largest built for several hundred people—were created by adapting the cellars, basements and sewers of the densely-built brick tenement buildings, and camouflaging the entries. By April 1943, the ghetto already had an entire system of several hundred underground hideouts, located beneath about 450 buildings.24 They were most prominently used by fighting groups during the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in April–May 1943.25 The construction of civilian hideouts continued after the ghetto uprising, and underground hiding places made from rubble or converted basements with additional walls provided shelter for surviving Jews.26

  • 27 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw]. Havi Ben-Sasson describes it as the only known diary written under the ghett (...)
  • 28 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 3 (dated Apr 27, 1943); p. 4 (dated Apr 30, 1943); p. 9 (dated May 10, 19 (...)
  • 29 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 1 (dated Apr 24, 1943); p. 8 (dated May 10, 1943).
  • 30 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw]; Zisman Asher, “The Diary of a Survivor of the Brisk Ghetto, R. Asher (...)

13While underground hiding relied on already existing structures in the Warsaw tenement cityscape, it did so to varying degrees. Little-modified architectural features created significant acoustic exposure for the diarists. This is especially notable in a rare surviving diary written in hiding during the first days of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.27 In it, an anonymous woman, writing in a barricaded cellar on Miła street under the burning ghetto, describes the existential importance of silence and control over movement in such a hideout. In a refrain that repeats three times over the ten surviving pages, she notes that when the enemy is outside their shelter, “Our defence is the greatest possible stillness”.28 To leverage this defence, the bunker inhabitants adopt an upside-down routine common for exposed underground hiding: they sleep by day and are active by night, so that the noise does not reveal the existence of the bunker to the German search parties.29 This is a pattern found among several of the more exposed hideouts.30

  • 31 Pohl Dieter, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941-1944: Organisation und Durc (...)
  • 32 Pohl, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung, p. 363; see Aleksiun, "Daily Survival”, p. 306 f.

14In the towns and villages of Eastern Galicia, the widespread building or finding of hideouts emerged after a major wave of gathering, deportation and murder in the fall of 1942. Only a small number of Jews, predominantly young and without family ties, had managed to spontaneously escape the German military advance to the Soviet Union.31 Similarly, only a minority of Jews in the region were able to survive by posing as “Aryans” in cities.32

  • 33 Pohl, Ibid.
  • 34 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, p. 86. A concise description is given by Jacek Leocia (...)
  • 35 Zohar, “Jewish Subterranean Operations”, p. 7.
  • 36 Cole Tim, Holocaust Landscapes, London; Oxford; New York; New Delhi; Sydney, Bloomsbury Continuum, (...)
  • 37 Engelking; Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 737-739. While the boundaries of urban centers thus pres (...)
  • 38 YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice], p. 14 (dated May 1, 1943).

15The majority of Jews in these rural areas survived in hiding places.33 Several factors determined the choice of going into hiding. In the generally little-urbanized Poland of the time, cities stood out in a landscape dominated by fields and forests.34 While such a proximity to dense woods encouraged organised Jewish fighting groups to prioritize moving there,35 this was not the case for individual Jews or families. For many, the forests—unfamiliar, exposed in the cold seasons to harsh weather conditions, and with precarious supply possibilities—were a last resort.36 Some of those who managed to evade or escape deportation even opted to go back to the urban environment, as was the case with several Jews who returned to the Warsaw ghetto.37 To do otherwise required extreme caution: having escaped during a deportation to the death camp in Treblinka, diarist Herschel Wulkier headed on foot to his former family town of Łosice to the East of Warsaw, and joined a group of Jews, writing in his diary, “We avoided the villages and crossed fields and forests all through that night. […] I feel secure when it is dark”.38

  • 39 Bauer Yehuda, The Death of the Shtetl, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2010, pp. 79; 155.
  • 40 Najder Marceli, Rewanż [Revenge], Warszawa, Ośrodek Karta, 2013 (no exact date).
  • 41 YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice], p. 14 (dated May 1, 1943).
  • 42 Applebaum Molly, Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum, Azrieli Foundation, 2017.

16In such conditions, being able to secure the goodwill of helpers, or possessing enough money to pay for food and assistance, became paramount.39 Thus, for example, Galician diarist Marceli Najder attributes his delayed escape to a hiding place to the great risks of being betrayed or caught and delivered to German authorities, as well as a lack of resources: “I did not know anyone I could trust, with whom I could hide… I [also] did not have any money to count on being able to pay for a hiding place, food, or being smuggled into Romania.”40 Jews who decided to go into hiding tried approaching their Polish and Ukrainian acquaintances for shelters in attics, barns and cellars. At times, what began as an improvised disappearance for the duration of the German Aktionen turned into long-term shelter for weeks and even months. “I entered my [acquainted] peasant’s house, my heart pounding. He greeted me most pleasantly and told me that he wasn’t sure about ‘forever’, but for the meantime I could remain with him,” notes Wulkier. He would end up staying for four weeks.41 Several of the examined rural or small-town diaries document stays lasting close to a year, while twelve-year-old Molly Applebaum endured staying in and out of several improvised wooden boxes under a barn for almost two years.42

Exposed spaces

  • 43 YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie], p. 16 (undated, approx. early November 1942).
  • 44 YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie], p. 16 (undated, approx. early November 1942), p. 18 (dat (...)
  • 45 Silberman, undated. Manuscript courtesy of Alexandra Zapruder.

17For those Jews who did not have the skills, opportunity, money or available goodwill of helpers to build elaborate constructions, underground refuges were limited to basements and cellars as they found them. Such was the case for diarist Dina Rathauserowa, who hid in a cellar in the Eastern Galician village of Peczeniżyn. In the very first entry, her diary is interrupted mid-thought. It resumes with an entry dated the next day: “I stopped writing yesterday, because soldiers were marching on the road”.43 Similarly, as Christmas approaches and villagers begin their holiday preparations, the countryside bustles with activity and traffic, well audible from the cellar.44 After fifteen-year-old Leo Silberman loses his family in one of the bunkers in Przemyśl, he hides in a cellar behind a heap of tin trash and a kitchen stove. From here, he can clearly hear the conversations of the local inhabitants—and finds out that they can hear him: “Stasiu, give me a flashlight, someone is snoring under the stairs.”45 What saves Leo is the lack of a working battery.

  • 46 YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie], p. 16 (undated, approx. early November 1942).
  • 47 Ibid.
  • 48 Silberman, undated.

18Such depictions illustrate the vulnerability and exposure of Jews resorting to pre-existing structures in improvised subterranean spaces. The acoustic transparency of non-fortified basements put the diarists in direct contact with the outside world, thereby necessitating certain bodily practices to avoid detection by Germans or neighbours. Rathauserowa can only speak to her 14-year-old cohabitant in a hushed voice, a difficult prospect in their emotionally tolling conditions: “Igo is so scared that he barely knows to talk in a whisper”.46 The open architecture of the cellar forces her and Igo to stay on their straw mattresses for most of the day.47 Similarly, in his basement in Przemyśl, where local people come to shelter from air raids, Leo has to walk “barefoot so that nobody can hear me”.48

At the perforations

  • 49 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 58; 67.
  • 50 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 788, 796–799; Gutman Israel, Fighters Amon (...)

19Diaries that were kept in such little-adapted bunkers and cellars, and which have survived to today, are comparatively rare. Less camouflaged and soundproof hideouts were not as suited for long-term hiding, and did not provide uninterrupted time favourable for keeping a diary.49 Most surviving diaries come from more insulated constructions. In Warsaw, these are the fortified underground “bunkers” that could house entire families and fighting groups. Building such solid shelters even included the systematic construction of communication lines, piercing walls between cellars, and sometimes creating underground routes utilising canalisation.50 In rural Galicia, we find dugouts in the ground, located in or behind barns, or behind side walls of cellars. These dugouts were engineered to varying degrees, and could range from primitive earthen dugouts to entire subterranean rooms supported with pit props and equipped with kitchens and latrines.

  • 51 ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw], pp. 327; 332.
  • 52 ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw].
  • 53 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 9 (undated); ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw], pp. 5-6; ŻIH 302/103 [G (...)
  • 54 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated May 2, 1943).
  • 55 Thus, Warsaw diarist Dawid Fogelman adapts a canalization pipe: ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], pp.  (...)

20For the needs of daily life and survival inside them, even these hiding places could not be entirely insulated and impermeable. In the bunkers inhabited by Jews for the ghetto uprising and during and after the Warsaw Uprising, which at times housed and sustained dozens of people, we find partitions leading to nearby bunkers. On the “Aryan side”, Stella Fidelseid informs us of a hiding place made of two chambers connected by a narrow corridor.51 Writing in a converted basement under the ghetto, female diarist Maryłka is terrified when a directly adjacent basement hideout falls silent and does not respond to knocks.52 Leading to the outside, there could be several camouflaged entries, as well as slits for light.53 In the case of the well-fortified bunker that housed a diarist under Miła street, the diary includes a sketch marking a dedicated spying hole called judasz.54 Well-equipped bunkers with kitchens also had to manage smoke, and diaries mention constructed chimneys.55

  • 56 ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], pp: 45; 46 (undated); ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated Dece (...)
  • 57 For a typology of assisted hiding places as “under the same roof” and “at a distance”, see Cobel-To (...)
  • 58 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 18 (dated August 5, 1943).
  • 59 Najder, Rewanż (dated April 21, 1943); YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 18 (dated August 5, 1 (...)

21The hiding conditions in rural Galicia presented a different set of problems. While inhabitants of bunkers in the Warsaw ghetto or the “Aryan side” could utilise the chaos and destruction of the ghetto and Warsaw uprisings to venture out for provisions,56 people hiding in less dense, rural areas would be more easily detected if they left their hideout. They were therefore almost entirely dependent on the help of outside caretakers for food, hygienic needs and information, and the hideouts relied on doorways and entries connecting them to the barns and houses of their hosts.57 Thus, diarist Marceli Najder’s Galician hideout connected to a cellar contiguous to the house of their helpers, the Śliwiaks. Clara Kramer, hiding with her family north of Lwów, was able to exit through the floorboards directly to a room in the house of the ethnic German Beck family hiding her. Molly Applebaum’s and Grete Holländer’s underground hideouts exited to barns located apart from the houses of their helpers. Additionally, the more insulated the subterranean hiding places, the more of a problem air circulation became. When the soil around Grete Holländer’s cramped hiding place under a barn near Czortków is wet, the air around the three inhabitants becomes so deprived of oxygen that the candle has trouble burning.58 Diaries feature complaints about the air underground becoming so stuffy that severe headaches and nausea ensue and sleep is impossible.59 Those in hiding therefore had to arrange air ventilation shafts, either to a nearby cellar or to the surface.

  • 60 First name unknown. YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 72 (amb. dating, 1942).
  • 61 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], pp. 84-85 (dated July 14, 1943).

22Such apertures played an important role in the acoustic ecology of the dugouts. In his earthen bunker, even a small ventilation opening “the size of a chicken egg” from an adjacent tunnel leads M. Landsberg to note that this improved the audibility of the outside.60 The shaft in Grete Holländer’s dugout lets her hear the animals in the barn above.61 The acoustic properties that doors and spy-holes bring with them at times play a role in more dramatic experiences. When, during an Aktion in the Eastern Galician town of Mikulińce, Miriam Guensberg’s overcrowded hiding place runs out of air, the decision is made to open a partition to a second part of the dugout:

  • 62 YVA O.33/2535 [Guensberg, Mikulińce], p. 15 (dated June 3, 1943).

All of us, especially the children, began to choke, so that we risked opening the small doors [drzwiczki] to the first shelter. Everyone greedily gasped for that bit of fresh air, but not for long, because the voices of the Germans from above reached us and we had to close the doors again. And this repeated hundreds of times, throughout whole day.62

23All these camouflaged slits, doors, entries and air shafts create apertures in the insulating material of the subterranean space. They form what Benjamin Piekut and Jason Stanyek, in a noted essay linking musicology and sound studies, call perforation:

  • 63 Stanyek Jason; Piekut Benjamin, "Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane", TDR/The Drama Review, (...)

Blockages can interrupt flows [of sound], or flows can traverse obstacles through certain well-defined openings, which we call perforations. A perforation controls and focuses flows between two spaces, but maintains separation between them.63

24Perforations allow underground hiding places to remain semi-insulated from, but also semi-connected to, the outside environment. Whether consciously designed for that purpose or not, they regulate and channel the flow of sound between the inside and the outside. As openings in the insulating bunker space, they structure the acoustic ecology of the underground hideouts by distributing where sounds of the outside can be perceived.

  • 64 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 43 (dated September 22, 1943).
  • 65 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 77 (dated “June 22 to July 3 [1942]”).
  • 66 Silberman, undated.
  • 67 ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], undated.
  • 68 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 43 (dated July 14, 1943); Najder, Rewanż (dated August 5, 19 (...)

25Such perforations also shape the sounds in the bunker in a less direct manner, by opening the space to animals. While Holländer’s three air openings let in only frogs,64 others in hiding have to deal with rodents. Landsberg’s egg-sized opening to the cellar is large enough to let in mice.65 Leo Silberman’s sleep is accompanied by the sound of cellar rats.66 The sound of rats plagues Dawid Fogelman in his underground hiding space, writing that they “will not let me sleep at night”.67 In rural Galicia, while less intrusive, Holländer mentions the sounds of a goat, and Marceli Najder hears pigs.68

  • 69 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 7 (dated May 10, 1943).
  • 70 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 3, 1943); see also YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 73 (amb. (...)
  • 71 Najder, Rewanż (dated April 20-21, 1943); YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 73 (amb. datin (...)
  • 72 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 3, 1943).

26These openings convey outside sounds into the bunkers and dugouts, and their inhabitants, in turn, structure their activities in relation to these perforations. In the Warsaw bunker on Miła street, a daytime “watch” lays beside the camouflaged spy-hole, surveilling the outside not with the eyes but with the ears.69 In several bunkers under embattled Warsaw, taking turns at these listening posts becomes a daily routine.70 In the stuffy and often hot underground dugouts in East Galicia, people gather at the air shafts. They keep the listening post company, “air the lungs”, write in silence, or escape the snoring cohabitants.71 Especially in populated bunkers, these areas become places of community. People lie and talk with each other in hushed tones, leading some to question the efficiency of a guard “because in the changing [of guard], it is easy to knock against something, shuffle feet, or start talking to one’s companion”.72 The “well-defined openings” in the walls and ceilings thus themselves become spots of communal activity, of low talking and silent co-presence.

Apart from perforations

  • 73 Najder, Rewanż (dated April 23, 1943).

27In dugouts and larger bunkers with several areas, being apart from such perforations afforded the inhabitants a relative freedom of movement. When, in Galica, Marceli Najder and his companions consider moving from their earthen bunker to the attic of their peasant’s house, they begin planning it by considering how to organize straw mattresses, because “in the attic we will only be able to lie motionless”, something they do not need to do in the main room of their bunker.73

  • 74 See e.g. the diary of Sosia Zimmerman, who hid in various attics: Zimmerman Sosia Gottesfeld, A Mot (...)
  • 75 e.g. Najder, Rewanż (dated August 18, 1943).

28In elaborate underground hideouts, those in hiding are even able to wash laundry. Doing this with ease is characteristic for underground hideouts insulated by earth: Jews in rural attics mention not being able to wash, or taking hours to finish, as every sound is perfectly audible through the open, we can now say profoundly perforated, architecture.74 Where present, basic hygiene procedures such as these are described as major events that are long-awaited and break up the endless tedium of being underground.75

  • 76 ŻIH 302/103 [Grocher, Warsaw], p. 7 (dated 19 October, 1944); p. 14 (dated 17 November, 1944).
  • 77 Applebaum Molly, Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum, Azrieli Foundation, 2017 (dated Novemb (...)
  • 78 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 10 (undated). For more on “newspaper reading” as a pract (...)
  • 79 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 119; 186.

29Not being close to perforations also allowed those in hiding to improvise rudimentary entertainment. Having retreated deeper into Warsaw’s underground bunker system, Irena Grocher’s hiding companions are able to sing.76 Twelve-year-old Molly Applebaum, hidden with an older cousin under a barn in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, writes that “the most bearable time[s] of day are the evenings, when we lie under the warm eiderdown and Kitten tells me various stories, which often make me burst out laughing”.77 Further east, in an earthen dugout in the Eastern Galician town of Krzemeniec, M. Landsberg and his companion Rudy read German and Ukrainian newspapers for six hours every day; saving their candles, they spend the rest of their time on what the author terms “discussions after dark”.78 Throughout the diaries, such singing and talking provide psychological relief, help kill time, and offer a certain degree of imaginatory escape.79

  • 80 Blesser Barry, "Aural architecture: The missing link.", The Journal of the Acoustical Society of Am (...)

30Reading the daily entries with an ear for sound depictions, then, reveals the underground hiding places as a very specific form of aural architecture: in significant measure, they were experienced aurally, and through their structure imposed a form on what can be heard.80 This form ranged from exposed bunkers in which every movement was audible, to hideouts that permitted sound vibrations to pass more easily through certain perforations, and insulated underground hiding places almost entirely cut off by concrete and earth.

31The structure of this aural architecture shaped what could be heard at which places in the bunkers. This influenced the daily life and activities of the inhabitants. Highly exposed hideouts, in which every place was acoustically transparent, forced certain behaviours on those in hiding: being immobile, talking in whispers or walking barefoot, etc. In more insulated bunkers, acoustic perforations that connected the inside to the outside became an important organizing factor for daily life. People lay at perforations to listen, or to write in silence. They become social spaces, for example when people gather at slits and air shafts, or when those on the outside plead to come in. In more insulated hideouts, the lack of perforations in turn allowed for various bodily and social practices such as freely moving about, doing laundry, and passing the time by talking and singing. Further sound-generating practices afforded by the most isolating hideouts include preparing food using fire and stoves, listening to front news over the radio, modifying the hideout itself, and even pursuing handicrafts to pass time or economically sustain oneself in hiding.

Imagining the underground

32Apart from influencing daily life in the shelters, the presence and location of such perforations also affected how those in hiding were able to relate to the events unfolding outside, and informed how they framed their own situation. Hearing the world outside was a major factor in their self-understanding, and the particular way they heard it in their instances of aural architecture helped direct the imagination of the diarists writing in these conditions.

  • 81 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 151–203.
  • 82 Ibid.

33In a broader study of hiding in Poland during the Holocaust, Marta Cobel-Tokarska collected multiple examples of Jews describing their hiding places in stark imagery: as a “grave”, a “ship”, a “besieged fortress”, an “island”, or a “prison”.81 For those in hiding, metaphors serve as a means of making sense of their current life circumstances. They variously emphasize perceived aspects of life in hiding such as feeling confined, being solitary, or point to the constant awareness of Jews of being besieged by hostile forces.82

34The diaries written underground also feature such metonymic conceptualization, thus interpreting their hiding under the surface. Among the metaphors prevalent in underground diaries, two will be examined more closely: the images of the underground hideout as a “ship” and a “grave”. Both express a common feeling of being surrounded by boundaries that cannot or should not be crossed, and thus speak to a central feature of the hiding experience in general. However, what will become clear is that, in using either metaphor (ship or grave), the diarists imbue these boundaries with particular meanings: the conceptualization of the underground as a ship hints that the boundaries of the hiding place are understood as providing protection from a hostile outside world; its characterization as a grave points to the role the hideout boundary plays in existential displacement and social exclusion.

35Equipped with the analysis in the first part of this study, it is possible to account for the particular meanings engaged by diarists by examining the aural architecture of their locations. A closer examination of this will show that what inspires and sustains the diarists’ understanding of being protected, or of being excluded, are the affordances of sound that vary with the presence and position of semi-insulating and semi-connecting perforations.

Ship, protection, perforation

  • 83 YVA O.33/1092 [Okonowski, Warsaw], undated.

36In several diaries written underground, diarists use the metaphor of being surrounded by a stormy sea. For Sewek Okonowski, writing in an underground bunker on the “Aryan side” of Warsaw after the liquidation of the ghetto, “The unlit rectangular shelter, in which you cannot stand up straight, is becoming a precious, unique anchor for us, a calm sail, so to speak, in a stormy ocean among death-carrying waves. The artillery shells, fired relentlessly, will not reach us”.83 The underground hideout becomes associated with a vessel providing often tenuous sanctuary from waves of surrounding and ongoing atrocities. The anonymous diarist writing in her basement in the midst of the Warsaw ghetto uprising likens it to a boat:

  • 84 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], pp. 8-9 (dated May 10, 1943).

In my fantasy, for a moment our shelter seems to me like a sinking boat. [...] The faintest noise [szum] or the distant explosions of grenades elicits reactions from the people, because everyone is on edge due to our internal relations. To put it briefly, a very small boat, with many people [aboard], with little food supplies, swims on a raging sea, and there is no rescue [in sight]. Not a happy outlook. I feel as if the water is searching for a weak spot in the boat, to bring about a quick end. Woe is us, SOS?84

37If here, the outside danger is described as a raging sea in search of a “weak spot” to enter, Marceli Najder, inhabiting an underground shelter with an upper “chamber” and an earthen dugout beneath, conveys more security through a related image:

  • 85 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 12, 1943).

Entering the shaft resembles entering a submarine tower—the hatches are sealed (after all, the enemy is on the horizon) and we are left with the air that is inside. These “bunks” of ours, the lack of a “view”, and observing the chamber through a crack—as in a “periscope”, the listening [nasłuchiwanie] and full “combat readiness” [...] Many times we have compared our room to a submarine and each time we find new similarities.85

38In such descriptions, we find a first hint of a motivating role of aural conditions in the co-occurrence of the image and descriptions of sound. It is present in Okonowski’s text, in which he connects the “death-carrying waves” among which he finds himself and the “relentless firing” of the artillery shells. The female Warsaw diarist’s description features such a slippage of register most explicitly, when her description “The faintest noise of the distant thunder...” is directly followed by “to put it briefly, a very small boat”. Marceli Najder’s conceptualization is more layered. It speaks to protection and clandestinity, and implies a more goal-oriented military framing than that of a boat awaiting rescuebut it, too, connects the image of the “submarine” to the practice of “listening out”.

  • 86 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], pp. 5-6 (dated May 2, 1943).
  • 87 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 4 (dated April 30, 1943).

39The role of sound in these constructions also suggests itself once the specific aural architecture of these underground hiding places is taken into account. This is most obviously the case for the urban bunker of the anonymous Warsaw diarist. Her “small boat, with many people aboard”, was constructed from a tenement cellar employing timber and bricks at different places, and features a camouflaged trap door, an outlet for smoke from the kitchen, and, at the time of writing, holes from German grenades.86 The disorientation and fear brought about through this type of aural exposure leads her to note that “the enemy looks for us everywhere. He listens, knocks, moves everywhere”.87 From Sewek Okonowski’s manuscript we learn that the “unlit rectangular shelter” located “among death-carrying waves” is similarly constructed within a basement. Marceli Najder here presents a hybrid image: a vessel that can be “sealed”, but featuring a periscope and inhabited by listening out, corresponding to an overground chamber and a more insulated dugout beneath. Among the examined diaries, the metaphor of a “ship” is found mostly in urban bunkers, and here, exclusively in those that can be characterized as highly perforated. Diarists in such hideouts are, firstly, exposed to sounds of danger, leading them to conceive of the outside world predominantly as relentlessly hostile; and secondly, exposed to these sounds from many perforations, making the images of being surrounded apt.

40This is an indication that the aural environment of the underground hideouts is involved in leading the diarists to conceive of their current life conditions in specific terms. This suspicion is borne out by the closer examination of a second image employed by the diarists.

Grave

  • 88 ŻIH 302/229 [Maryłka, Warsaw], pp. 318-319 (dated April 20, 1943).
  • 89 ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], p. 47 (undated).
  • 90 Applebaum, Buried Words, p. 20 (dated April 7, 1943).

41Remembering how she visited a bunker while it was still under construction, a Jewish diarist in Warsaw vividly remembers her apprehension. “I remember inhabiting it in my imagination, and felt shivers at the very thought that it one day would become our dwelling [pomieszkanie]. At that time I still constantly counted on other possibilities to survive; but the hideout, this escape to the grave during my lifetime, I left as a last resort”.88 Trapped under the surface, one of the most frequent images that the diarists use to characterize their situation is the domain of dead bodies. In one of his diary entries, Dawid Fogelman measures “five weeks of being in this grave”.89 Molly Applebaum, spending most of her waking hours in a box buried under a barn near Krakow, calls it a “grave that [we] are nonetheless thankful for”.90 Throughout the texts of those writing underground, we find similar references metonymically describing their hideouts as graves and coffins.

  • 91 Leociak Jacek, Texts in the Face of Destruction: Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto Reconsidered, Wars (...)

42The question can be posed as to which sensory conditions make the analogy to a “grave” appear more apt to the authors than the “ship” metaphor discussed previously. The idea that specific sensory environments inspire the use of particular metonymies for authors writing during the Holocaust has been hinted at in the literature. In a study of Jewish ego-documents from Warsaw, Jacek Leociak examines comparisons by the authors of the sealed Jewish district to a “cemetery”.91 As a figure speaking to the fate of Jews, this image conveys the authors’ sense of existential proximity to death. Going further in his examination, however, Leociak provides a more immediate motivation for the prevalent choice of this specific conceptualization of the ghettoan almost inescapable experience of the authors while moving through it:

  • 92 Ibid.

The bodies of the dead lying up against the walls of houses and on the pavements, amidst the feverish foot traffic, the carts of Pinkert’s funeral parlour, loaded with corpses, the mass graves of the Jewish cemetery on Okopowa Street sprinkled with lime—all these and similar pictures noted by eyewitnesses had already become [in 1942] symbolic images of the ghetto.92

  • 93 Kövecses Zoltán, Metaphor: A Practical Introduction, New York, NY, Oxford Univ. Press, 2010, pp. 82 (...)

43The authors are daily eyewitnesses of corpses and other attributes connected with dead bodies. They find themselves in specific surroundings that provide visual cues and reminders of death. The choice to metonymically describe the ghetto as a cemetery thus occurs in a sensory environment that makes such a choice highly plausible. While not a determining factor, direct sensory experience provides a motivation for using this over other images, such as a prison, for example.93

44If choosing to emphasize proximity to death and therefore opting for describing the ghetto as a “cemetery” is suggested, at least partly, by the prevalent daily visual experience of corpses, which specific sensory conditions inspire imagining the underground hiding place as a “grave”? To answer this question, it will be necessary to examine additional meanings that are connected with the use of the grave image in the examined diaries.

Grave as belowness; insulation and directionality of sound

  • 94 YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice], p. 14 (dated May 1, 1943).
  • 95 Ibid.
  • 96 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 14 (dated August 2, 1943).

45Faced with the increasing cold of winter in the open attic of a peasant in Łosice, Herschel Wulkier convinces his host to dig a hole in the ground under the house. “I did most of the digging”, he recalls in his notes, “and finally made a hole big enough, or should I say a grave big enough for a living person”.94 Going under the surface is described accordingly: “The first time I went into the hole, I had the feeling that I would be buried there while I was still alive”.95 On the second day in her earthen bunker, still under the impression of this relocation, Grete Holländer remarks that “it is terrible to sit inside the earth […] one almost believes oneself to be buried alive”.96 What connects these characterizations is their conscious conveyance of moving under, or of being below, the surface of the earth. Where the diarists access the cultural resources of “grave”, they frequently do so to express a state or experience of being submerged in the ground.

  • 97 Taylor Richard P., "Eresh", Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Calif. (...)

46The cultural resources that are activated in these imaginations bring with them the necessary meanings to express the state of being under the surface. In both Polish and Jewish burial customs at the beginning of the 20th century, the dead are placed under the earth. In the Jewish tradition, the connection of burial and “placing below” finds additional conceptual expression in one of two terms for the netherworld, eresh. In its most literal meaning, eresh is simply the material of the earth extending from the surface to an incalculable below. It also stands for the particular “land” or “country” of the dead, characterized by darkness and great depth.97

47The sensory conditions motivating the choice of the grave image, then, for such uses of the grave metaphor, should sustain a sense of being “below”. On first consideration, this would not point to aural experience. An oft-stated assertion in literature touching on the phenomenology of sound states that its experience is characterized by multi-directionality. Building on the psychology of perception and previous work done on sound in human geography, Paul Rodaway puts this observation in absolute terms:

  • 98 Rodaway Paul, Sensuous Geographies: Body, Sense, and Place, London, Routledge, 1994, pp. 91–92.

In sensuous experience, the auditory world not only surrounds us but we seem to be within it and participants. […] Auditory phenomena penetrate us from all directions at all times. The auditory perspective is not linear but multidirectional—even when we are deaf in one ear.98

48As is clear by now, however, the particular character of sonic presence in the bunkers cannot be described without taking into account its concrete, material conditions which shape and channel sound. In particular, it is again the “aural architecture” of the underground hideouts, with its interplay of insulation and openings, that allows and limits how multidirectional the experience of sound can be.

  • 99 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 11 (undated); see p. 13 (undated): “We hear the steps of the thugs (...)
  • 100 GFH 21899 [Blumenfeld, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated August 10, 1944).

49Hiding in a bunker consisting of two connected underground chambers during the ghetto uprising, Warsaw diarist Stella Fidelseid is able to gauge daylight from night through a slit. This perforation allows her to hear the sound of firearms entering the hideout, and gauge their closeness in the horizontal plane. “The whole day we could hear unusually loud detonations and constant shots. It seems they were not at our place, because there was no rumbling reaching us from the backyard”.99 In a basement on the Aryan side of an embattled Warsaw, Pinkus Blumenfeld is able to trace what he takes to be a change of guard: “At 1 o’clock we heard conversations next to us… After a while, they subsided, and we heard footsteps above us. Perhaps a change of guard has come?”100 Listening both across (“next to us”) and upward (“above us”), Blumenfeld is able to trace a movement, concluding that the same people had changed location, which he imagines as a change of guard.

  • 101 e.g. YVA O.33/2535 [Guensberg, Mikulińce], pp. 15; 17 (dated June 3, 1943).

50In these underground diaries, the relative multi-directionality of sound is provided by the “well-defined openings” of slits, shafts, windows and doors made out of more conductive material. These perforations break the acoustic insulation of dirt and cement walls. Sound, entering through sideways windows and slits, allows for a certain degree of multidirectional spatial orientation. This becomes pronounced in contrast with more insulated underground hideouts, where the awareness of being surrounded by an expanse of sound (water) yields to the awareness of being surrounded by layers of packed earth and clay. The majority of sound descriptions in such diaries are related to sounds happening on the surface: “Already we hear the steps of the Germans above us”.101 The more insulated the hideout, the more the diarists’ listening to the world is forced into a strict directionality. When the world makes sound, it does so from above. To listen to it, the diarists listen upward.

51By pointing to the directionality of sound, we can account for the difference between framing the hideout as a ship surrounded by waves on the one hand, and as a grave located under the surface on the other. As the diarists in insulated bunkers turn to imagine their situation, they do so with a vivid and sustained awareness of being under the surface. They are thus likely to access the semiotic resources provided by the images of grave and burial.

  • 102 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 104 (undated).

52Both metaphors, the vessel and the grave, then, function as imaginatory mappings. As with the “life-saving” ship, however, the spatial logic of the image of burial is valenced and expresses personal attitudes to the “outside”. When Landsberg’s caretakers, after a visit from above, leave the dugout again, they camouflage the entry. The sounds, for the author, take on a sinister dimension. “One can hear the hollow impact of potatoes with which our board [i.e. the entry hatch] gets covered up. It seems to us that this is the thud [łoskot] of earth falling on the lid of our coffin”.102 Here, the morbid sense of being “buried” is connected to hearing oneself as located under the entry hatch—but also to hearing the departure of the hosts, and thus the end of friendly contact. A further examination of the burial conceptualization will show that its more-than-spatial deployments are, too, closely tied to the specific aural environment of the day-to-day in the hideout.

Grave as exclusion; perforation and parallel experience of sound

53In examining how those writing underground depict their own situation, another theme emerges. Pervading nearly all of the diaries is an acute, disempowering sense of being removed from the centre of action. Once again taking this theme as being sustained by direct sensory experience, a closer examination suggests that—as with the themes of “being surrounded” and “being below”—it is tied to a specific sound environment. The sense of being removed from activity is supported and sustained by aural experiences. These are both explicitly written about in the diaries, and implicitly inform the authors’ metaphorical descriptions of their situation through burial imagery.

  • 103 ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw], p. 1 (dated November 16, 1944).
  • 104 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 92 (undated); ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], p. 52 (amb. (...)

54Thus, writing in November 1944 under the Aryan side of Warsaw, Helena Midler notes that “on occasion (rarely, far too rarely), the silence is torn by a distant roar of artillery fire, an exploding shell, or the rhythmic knocking of a machine gun: another signal from the outside world.” The existence of these sounds, to her, is a signal, namely the long-awaited “proof that the Bolsheviks are close and the fighting is going on”.103 Conversely, silence for these embattled diarists suggests a lack of movement and activity. Thus, the sounds of the Red Army’s advance sustains hope, and in many diaries, unexplained absence of sound is unsettling.104

  • 105 Kramer Clara, Tyleśmy już przeszli: dziennik pisany w bunkrze (Żółkiew 1942-1944) [We have gone thr (...)
  • 106 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 5, 1943).

55Though many of the examined diarists expected to inhabit their underground hiding places for a relatively short period, their stay in most cases extended to months, and in a few cases to years, almost always assisted by locals who go by their daily business. Thus, Jews in rural hiding places often hear not just the immediate sounds of combat or acute threats. Clara Kramer, who with her family went into hiding in a bunker constructed under the house of an ethnic German family, repeatedly becomes ear-witness to their day-to-day in the conditions of occupation: “Today, the Becks sleep overhead us, because they gave their room to some soldiers. It seems there are three of them. We don’t know for sure, but we can assume it from what we hear”.105 When Marceli Najder lays on watch in the upper part of his two-storied hide-out, he can hear the sounds of leisure of both nearby German soldiers and his Polish helpers: “On Sunday, one can hear some commotion [gwar], the soldiers entertain themselves. The Śliwiaks most probably also have a party, as can be concluded from the noise [odgłosy] from the direction of their windows”.106 For prolonged periods of time, these authors are exposed to the signatures of small-town and rural war-time life unfolding beyond the boundaries of the hideout.

  • 107 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 116 (dated November 21, 1943).
  • 108 Ibid., p. 120 (dated November 25, 1943).
  • 109 Ibid., p. 118 (dated November 21, 1943).
  • 110 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 91 (undated).
  • 111 Kramer, Tyleśmy już przeszli, p. 79 (dated February 27, 1944).
  • 112 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 35 (undated).

56The diarists at times explicitly connect the activity they are able to hear outside with a more abstract notion of “life”. Whenever Landsberg’s caretaker comes by to talk and share news, “These visits […] bring breath from the world of the living.”107 The inside, with its oppressively monotonous existence, often appears in contrast. After Landsberg and Rudy are able to spend time on the surface and have to return, “We sleep almost all the time, to sleep off the feeling of ‘being above’”;108 Landsberg even longs to “sleep for a year and wake up in a free Poland”.109 Accordingly, the absence of perceived sound is often framed as “death”. It is present in frequent idiomatic connections such as “mute as a grave [schwieg wie ein Grab]”,110 or “tomb-like silence [grobowa cisza]”.111 It is also found in more general descriptions. When Stella emerges after hiding in bunkers among the Warsaw rubble, she notes in one conjunction that “the ghetto had died out [wymarłe], calm and silence [spokój i cisza] reigned”.112

57We thus find in the diaries the outside, sound-filled environment as one in which activity and “life” is happening, and its corollary of a silent environment as stillness and a sign of “death”. This particular connection of two registers, of perceived sound/silence and imagined life/death, of the experiential and the meaningful, is not accidental. It is rooted in both the properties of sound, and in the cultural connotations of the employed images around death.

  • 113 Berg Richard E., "Sound", Encyclopedia Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/science/sound-physics(...)
  • 114 LaBelle Brandon, "Other Acoustics", Immersed Sound and Architecture, no. 78, 2009, pp. 14‑18, here (...)
  • 115 Ibid.
  • 116 Schulze Holger, "The Sonic Persona: An Anthropology of Sound", Exploring the Senses: South Asian an (...)
  • 117 Pocock Douglas, "Sound and the Geographer", Geography, vol. 74, no. 3, 1989, pp. 193‑200, 196.

58On a material level, a minimal definition of sound is the “mechanical disturbance from a state of equilibrium that propagates through an elastic material medium”.113 This physical definition hinges on activity, and it has been pointed out that sound as a phenomenon of perception points to activity as well. In the words of Brandon LaBelle, sound, “by stemming from an object or body, signals that movement is occurring”.114 This nexus has wider implications. Following his observation, LaBelle somewhat ambiguously adds that sound signals “that life is happening”.115 One sense in which this is the case is that human lives are not possible without generating sonic traces. Sound studies scholar Holger Schulze reminds us that “human beings live and act—and as they do so, they actualize sound”.116 In a more general sense of “life”, the presence of sounds points to the temporal unfolding of activity in the world. In the words of cultural geographer Douglas Pocock, since “something is happening for sound to exist”, sound is “temporal, continually and perhaps unpredictably coming and going, but it is also powerful, for it signifies existence, generates a sense of life”.117 A perceived sound, whether a sign of inanimate or animate movement, can be said to evidence activity.

  • 118 Kuczok Marcin, "Metaphorical conceptualizations of death and dying in American English and Polish: (...)
  • 119 Laqueur Thomas W, The Work of the Dead. A Cultural History of Mortal Remains, Princeton, Princeton (...)
  • 120 Taylor Richard P., "Sheol", Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Calif, (...)

59It is thus not surprising that the authors, listening to the sounds reaching them from the outside of their underground shelters, frame them as the outside presence of activity and life, and conversely associate their absence with death. The idioms and images they employ provide the necessary connotations. In the Polish linguistic corpus, death is lexically linked to and conceptually framed as a loss, end and rest or sleep.118 The Polish word cemetery, cmentarz, etymologically derives from the Latin word coemeterium and the ancient Greek koimeterion, literally meaning “sleeping place” or “dormitory”.119 In Jewish tradition, we find the netherworld of sheol, a famously undetermined “holding space” in which the dead are suspended until their bodily resurrection.120 As with the state of “being below”, the cultural semantics around death and burial are suited to express the state of being “apart from activity”.

60Summing up this look at how diarists in different conditions conceived of their situation, the following can be noted: In most diaries, sound reaching the hideout from outside is a reminder that movement happens “not here”. When the authors turn to imagine and describe their situation, they do so with a vivid and sustained awareness of being placed outside of unfolding events.

61For several Warsaw diarists, these events are not just predominantly and relentlessly threatening, but their sonic presence in very perforated hideouts can additionally be said to phenomenologically “surround” or envelop those in hiding. This helps account for the fact that these diarists highlight the protection implicit in their apartness, for example through metaphors of a ship providing tenuous shelter from waves.

62In rural hiding places, however, the social sounds of daily life enter. The sustained awareness of being removed from the outside day-to-day takes on another sense—not of being protected, but of being outside of life. The less perforated acoustic conditions remind the hiding diarists of their separation from the relative normalcy of the wartime everyday. Understanding these sounds as indices of life passing by above, the diarists here are more likely to access the semiotic resources provided by images of grave and burial.

  • 121 Thus, for instance, Carolyn Birdsall, examining interviews with German civilians in World War II, o (...)

63Having observed the interconnection of the specifics of the aural architecture and the conceptualization of one’s own position, we thus arrive at and are able to account for important differences in the attitudes of Jews in hiding to the aurally present “outside”. Being attuned to the sounds that trigger such depictions helps unearth their connotations of protection, morbidity, exclusion or torturous ambiguity. This adds complexity and nuance to previous observations regarding the straightforward association between external sounds and feelings of risk and endurance in, for example, air raid shelters.121

Conclusion

64This study outlined several points of connection between hideout acoustics, inhabitation practices of Jews, and their imaginatory framing of the hideout-outside relationship.

65For this, it described the cellars, bunkers and dugouts with attention to the sound conditions they created. In doing so, it understood them as instances of aural architecture ranging from exposed cellars to increasingly insulated bunkers. Within this gradation, an important role is played by perforations that channelled the flow of sound from the outside to different degrees at different places. This model brought to the fore and contextualized important aspects of how Jews in Warsaw and East Galicia inhabited their shelters. It drew attention to various sound-related bodily techniques, as well as more complex practices such as surveilling the outside and homemaking routines. It thus directed the aural war historian’s ear beyond its common focus on violent moments to the wartime everyday.

66The essay further highlighted the interrelationship of the acoustic conditions in the hideouts and the imaginative description of the hiding place employed by the diarists. Examining how much of which type of sound the diarists could hear announcing the outside world, and how they heard it in their shelters, helped account for marked differences in how they made sense of their current life conditions. In relating (and relating to) both the nature of the sounds that could be heard in various degrees of insulation, as well as their penetration and spatial localization underground, the diarists interpreted the confines of their hideouts by using metaphors variously underlining protection or social exclusion. Attention to the functioning of sound thus not just helped describe and understand practicalities of everyday Jewish life in conditions of underground hiding. What these practicalities can eclipse is a world of often ambivalent attitudes and meaning-making—one that became accessible through the consideration of aural experience.

67While this survey thus emphasizes the influence of sound on historical actors, it also indicates its wider evidentiary potential for historians of the “unexplored continent of Holocaust historiography”. It is not just true that acoustic conditions are an important factor for how people inhabited shelters, and that their analysis provides necessary context for understanding homemaking practices and the daily life of those hiding from persecution. Meanings inspired by, shaped through and expressed around the experience of sounds also reveal how Jews related to the events unfolding outside the confines of their hiding places, from searches and battles to social gatherings and daily routines. Taking sound seriously thus has significant potential for the history of emotions and the social history of the Holocaust.

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Bibliographie

Diaries (archival)

Ghetto Fighters' House, Western Galilee, Israel

GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw]

GFH 21899 [Blumenfeld, Warsaw]

Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw, Poland

ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw]

ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw]

ŻIH 302/103 [Grocher, Warsaw]

ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw]

ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw]

ŻIH 302/228 [NN, Warsaw]

ŻIH 302/229 [Maryłka, Warsaw]

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel

YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie]

YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków]

YVA O.33/1092 [Okonowski, Warsaw]

YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec]

YVA O.33/2535 [Guensberg, Mikulińce]

YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice]

Private archives

Silberman, Leo (Lejzer), transl. by Kristine Belfour, in possession of the author.

Diaries (published)

Applebaum Molly, Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum, Azrieli Foundation, 2017.

Kramer Clara, Tyleśmy już przeszli: dziennik pisany w bunkrze (Żółkiew 1942-1944) [We have gone through so much: A diary written in the bunker (Żółkiew 1942-1944)], Warszawa, Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 2017.

Kessler Edmund, The Wartime Diary of Edmund Kessler: Lwow, Poland, 1942-1944, Boston, Academic Studies Press, 2010.

Zimmerman Sosia Gottesfeld, A Mother’s Diary: Surviving the Holocaust in Ukraine 1941-1944, Morgan Hill, CA, Bookstand Publishing, 2015.

Zisman Asher, “The Diary of a Survivor of the Brisk Ghetto, R. Asher Zisman of Antwerp", The Life and Times of Maran Hagaon HaRav Yitzchok Ze’ev Halevi Soloveitchik, Jerusalem; New York, Feldheim Publishers, 2007, pp. 551‑516.

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Notes

1 Landmark studies include Alain Corbin’s work on the role of bells in 19th-century France (Corbin Alain, Village Bells: Sound and Meaning in the Nineteenth-century French Countryside, London, Papermac, 1999); Bruce R. Smith’s reconstruction of the sound-worlds and their meanings for Shakespeare’s contemporaries in England (Smith Bruce R., The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor, Chicago, London, University of Chicago Press, 1994); and Mark M. Smith’s study on politicized sound environments in antebellum America (Smith Mark M., Listening to Nineteenth-century America, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2001); as well as the important works by Jonathan Sterne (Sterne Jonathan, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Durham; London, Duke University Press, 2003) and Emily Thompson (Thompson Emily Ann, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933, Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press, 2004) on the impact of sound technology in the 20th century. For synopsis see Smith Mark M., Sensory History, Oxford, New York, Berg, 2007, pp. 41–58; Mills Steve, Auditory Archaeology: Understanding Sound and Hearing in the Past, London; New York, Routledge, 2016, pp. 48–51.

2 On the limitations and promises of this approach, see e.g. Smith Mark M., "Producing Sense, Consuming Sense, Making Sense: Perils and Prospects for Sensory History", Journal of Social History, vol. 40, no. 4, 2007, pp. 841‑858; Müller Jürgen, "The Sound of History and Acoustic Memory: Where Psychology and History Converge", Culture & Psychology, vol. 18, no. 4, 2012, pp. 443‑464; as well as Missfelder Jan-Friedrich, "Period Ear: Perspektiven einer Klanggeschichte der Neuzeit", Geschichte und Gesellschaft, vol. 38, no. 1, 2012, pp. 21‑47 and Missfelder Jan-Friedrich, "Der Klang der Geschichte: Begriffe, Traditionen und Methoden der Sound History", Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, vol. 66, no. 11/12, 2015, pp. 633‑649.

3 Birdsall Carolyn, Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2012.

4 Jacobs Annelies, "The Silence of Amsterdam before and during World War II: Ecology, Semiotics and Politics of Urban Sound"; Morat Daniel, Sounds of Modern History. Auditory Cultures in 19th and 20th Century Europe, New York, Berghahn Books, 2014, pp. 305‑325; Jacobs Annelies; Bijsterveld Karin, "Der Klang der Besatzungszeit: Amsterdam 1940 bis 1945", Paul Gerhard; Schock Ralf, Sound des Jahrhunderts: Geräusche, Töne, Stimmen – 1889 bis heute, Göttingen, Wallstein, 2014, pp. 254‑261; Snyder Saskia Coenen, "An Urban Semiotics of War: Signs and Sounds in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam", Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society, Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 56‑77; Tańczuk, Renata; Wieczorek, Sławomir, Sounds of War and Peace: Soundscapes of European Cities in 1945, Berlin; Bern; Bruxelles; New York; Oxford; Warszawa; Wien, Peter Lang, 2018.

5 USHMM, "Bibliographies: Music", United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2018 (https://www.ushmm.org/collections/bibliography/music, consulted on 04 August 2019). Further important studies include: Kagen Melissa, "Controlling Sound: Musical Torture from the Shoah to Guantánamo", The Appendix, vol. 3, no. 1, 2013 (http://theappendix.net/issues/2013/7/controlling-sound-musical-torture-from-the-shoah-to-guantanamo, consulted on 01 August 2019); Świerzowska Agata; Klimczyk Wojciech, Music and Genocide, Frankfurt am Main; Berlin; Bern; Bruxelles; New York; Oxford; Wien, Peter Lang, 2015; Brauer Juliane, “How Can Music Be Torturous?: Music in Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps”, Music and Politics, vol. 10, no. 1, 2016 (DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3998/mp.9460447.0010.103).

6 Carolyn Birdsall provides a sophisticated analysis of themes occurring in narrative interviews of air raids, albeit for German civilians: Birdsall Carolyn, "Sound Memory: A Critical Concept for Researching Memories of Conflict and War", Memory, place and identity: commemoration and remembrance of war and conflict, London, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016, pp. 111‑129.

7 Gerlach Christian, “Echoes of Persecution: Sounds in Early Post-Liberation Jewish Memories”, Holocaust Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1‑25.

8 Paulsson Gunnar S., "Evading the Holocaust: The Unexplored Continent of Holocaust Historiography", Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, New York, Palgrave, 2001. pp. 302‑318.

9 Paulsson Gunnar S., Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2002.

10 Ringelblum Emanuel, Pisma Emanuela Ringelbluma z getta [Emanuel Ringelblum’s writing from the ghetto], Warszawa, Żydowski Instytut Historyczny im. Emanuela Ringelbluma, 2018. Part. Engl. transl.: Ringelblum Emanuel, Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto, New York; Enfield, Ibooks, 2006.

11 Grynberg Michał, "Bunkry i schrony w warszawskim getcie [Bunkers and hideouts in the Warsaw ghetto]", Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Polsce, vol. 3, no. 149, 1989, pp. 53‑64; Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2009; Zohar Eran, "Jewish Subterranean Operations in Major East European Ghettos", Holocaust Studies, 2018, pp. 1‑37.

12 Nalewajko-Kulikov Joanna, Strategie przetrwania: żydzi po aryjskiej stronie Warszawy [Strategies of survival: Jews on the Aryan side of Warsaw], Warszawa, Neriton, 2004; Paulsson, Secret City.

13 Melchior Małgorzata, "Uciekinierzy z gett po „stronie aryjskiej“ na prowincji dystryktu warszawskiego – sposoby przetrwania [fugitives from the ghettos on the ‘Aryan side’ in the provincial part of the Warsaw district – ways of survival]", Prowincja noc: życie i zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie warszawskim [Province Night: Life and extermination of the Polish Jews in the Warsaw district], Warszawa, Wydawn. IFiS PAN, 2007, pp. 344‑372; Aleksiun Natalia, "Gender and the Daily Lives of Jews in Hiding in Eastern Galicia", Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues, no. 27, 2014, pp. 38‑61; Aleksiun Natalia, "Daily Survival. Social History of Jews in Family Bunkers in Eastern Galicia", Lessons & Legacies, no. 12, 2017, pp. 304‑331; Cobel-Tokarska Marta, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave: Wartime Hiding Places of Jews in Occupied Poland, Berlin; Bern; Bruxelles; New York; Oxford; Warszawa; Wien, Peter Lang, 2018.

14 Leociak Jacek, Ratowanie: Opowiesci Polakow i Żydow [Rescue: Accounts by Poles and Jews], Warszawa, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2010; Engelking, Barbara; Grabowski, Jan; Persak, Krzysztof, Zarys krajobrazu: wieś polska wobec zagłady Żydów 1942-1945 [An outline of the landscape: The Polish countryside in the face of the extermination of Jews 1942-1945], Warszawa, Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 2011; Grabowski Jan, Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland, Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Press, 2013; Engelking, Barbara; Grabowski, Jan, Dalej jest noc: Losy Żydów w wybranych powiatach okupowanej Polski [Beyond there is night: The fate of Jews in selected districts of occupied Poland], Warszawa, Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 2018; Koprowska Karolina, Postronni?: Zagłada w relacjach chłopskich świadków [Bystanders?: The Holocaust in peasant witness accounts], Kraków, TAiWPN Universitas Kraków, 2018.

15 For more on this mode of survival, see: Arad Yitzhak, "Jewish Family Camps in the Forests: An Original Means of Rescue", Proceedings of the Second Yad Vashem International Historical Conference, 1977, pp. 333‑353; Merin Yehuda; Porter Jack Nusan, "Three Jewish Family-Camps in the Forests of Volyn, Ukraine during the Holocaust", Jewish Social Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 1984, pp. 83‑92; Bańkowska Aleksandra, Las jako miejsce przetrwania Zagłady. Zjawisko ukrywania się Żydów w lasach w okresie okupacji niemieckiej w latach 1941-1945 na terenie II Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [The forest as a place of Holocaust survival. The phenomenon of Jews hiding in forests during the German occupation in the years 1941-1945 on the territory of the Second Republic of Poland], M.A. Thesis, Warsaw, University of Warsaw, 2006; Weiner Weber Suzanne, Life and Death in the Forest: Landscape Agency During the Holocaust, Miami, Florida, Florida International University, 2007; Weiner Weber Suzanne, "The Forest as a Liminal Space: A Transformation of Culture and Norms during the Holocaust", Holocaust Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2008, pp. 35‑60; Weiner Weber Suzanne, "Shedding City Life: Survival Mechanisms of Forest Fugitives during the Holocaust", Holocaust Studies, vol. 18, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1‑28.

16 Representations of sounds can vary significantly between languages: Chion Michel, Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise, Durham, Duke University Press Books, 2016.

17 Sykes Jim, “Ontologies of acoustic endurance: rethinking wartime sound and listening”, Sound Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 35-60, here 37-38.

18 Sykes, “Ontologies of acoustic endurance”, p. 40.

19 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 698-748.

20 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, p. 55.

21 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 796–799.

22 Ringelblum Emanuel, Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War, Evanston, Ill, Northwestern University Press, 1992.

23 Zohar, “Jewish Subterranean Operations”, pp. 6; 19 ff.

24 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, p. 782; for more on the network: Grynberg, "Bunkry i schrony”; Paulsson, Secret City.

25 Zohar, “Jewish Subterranean Operations”, p. 19 ff.

26 Nalewajko-Kulikov, Strategie przetrwania, pp. 36–39; see also Engelking Barbara; Libionka Dariusz, Żydzi w powstańczej Warszawie [Jews in the Warsaw Uprising], Warszawa, Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 2009.

27 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw]. Havi Ben-Sasson describes it as the only known diary written under the ghetto during the uprising: Dreifuss (Ben-Sasson) Havi, "“Hell Has Risen to the Surface of the Earth”: An Anonymous Woman’s Diary from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising", Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 36, no. 2, 2008, pp. 13‑43, here 7. We can add to this another diary written underground by a woman who worked at the Többens textile factory. It ends after the start of the fighting with an entry dated April 27, 1943: ŻIH 302/229 [Maryłka, Warsaw] and ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw]. With less reliable self-dating, another diary fragment written in a bunker under Zamenhof street appears to report on the ghetto uprising while it is happening: ŻIH 302/228 [NN, Warsaw].

28 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 3 (dated Apr 27, 1943); p. 4 (dated Apr 30, 1943); p. 9 (dated May 10, 1943).

29 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 1 (dated Apr 24, 1943); p. 8 (dated May 10, 1943).

30 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw]; Zisman Asher, “The Diary of a Survivor of the Brisk Ghetto, R. Asher Zisman of Antwerp", The Life and Times of Maran Hagaon HaRav Yitzchok Ze’ev Halevi Soloveitchik, Jerusalem; New York, Feldheim Publishers, 2007, pp. 551‑516, here 559 (dated October 15, 1942); see Aleksiun, "Daily Survival”, p. 307.

31 Pohl Dieter, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941-1944: Organisation und Durchführung eines staatlichen Massenverbrechens, München, Walter de Gruyter, 1997, p. 44.

32 Pohl, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung, p. 363; see Aleksiun, "Daily Survival”, p. 306 f.

33 Pohl, Ibid.

34 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, p. 86. A concise description is given by Jacek Leociak, who writes of the countryside east of Warsaw : “The topography of the village lacks the elements of the urban scenery. Cobblestones, pavements, tenement houses locking in the perspective of the street, all this changes into the open space of fields and forests, crossed by bands of roads.” Leociak Jacek, "Wizerunek Polaków w zapisach Żydów z dystryktu warszawskiego [The image of Poles in the writings of Jews from the Warsaw district]", Prowincja noc: życie i zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie warszawskim [Province Night: Life and extermination of the Polish Jews in the Warsaw district], Warszawa, IFiS PAN, 2007, pp. 321‑372, here 395.

35 Zohar, “Jewish Subterranean Operations”, p. 7.

36 Cole Tim, Holocaust Landscapes, London; Oxford; New York; New Delhi; Sydney, Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016, p. 51.

37 Engelking; Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 737-739. While the boundaries of urban centers thus presented a definite psychological and organizational barrier for many Jews, the impact and danger of unfamiliar surroundings can be seen also in instances where Jews returned to the ghetto after seeking shelter within the city: ŻIH 302/229 [Maryłka, Warsaw], pp. 2-3 (dated April 1, 1943).

38 YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice], p. 14 (dated May 1, 1943).

39 Bauer Yehuda, The Death of the Shtetl, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2010, pp. 79; 155.

40 Najder Marceli, Rewanż [Revenge], Warszawa, Ośrodek Karta, 2013 (no exact date).

41 YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice], p. 14 (dated May 1, 1943).

42 Applebaum Molly, Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum, Azrieli Foundation, 2017.

43 YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie], p. 16 (undated, approx. early November 1942).

44 YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie], p. 16 (undated, approx. early November 1942), p. 18 (dated December 10, 1942).

45 Silberman, undated. Manuscript courtesy of Alexandra Zapruder.

46 YVA O.33/633 [Rathauserowa, Peczeniżynie], p. 16 (undated, approx. early November 1942).

47 Ibid.

48 Silberman, undated.

49 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 58; 67.

50 Engelking Barbara; Leociak Jacek, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 788, 796–799; Gutman Israel, Fighters Among the Ruins: The Story of Jewish Heroism During World War II, Tel Aviv; Washington, D.C, Bnai Brith Books, 1988, pp. 53–57, 91–113.

51 ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw], pp. 327; 332.

52 ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw].

53 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 9 (undated); ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw], pp. 5-6; ŻIH 302/103 [Grocher, Warsaw], passim; GFH 21899 [Blumenfeld, Warsaw], passim.

54 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated May 2, 1943).

55 Thus, Warsaw diarist Dawid Fogelman adapts a canalization pipe: ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], pp. 44-45 (undated); see ŻIH 302/228 [NN, Warsaw], p. 4 (dated May [real date poss. April] 18, 1943); GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated May 2, 1943).

56 ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], pp: 45; 46 (undated); ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated December 2, 1944). The shelters in the Warsaw ghetto also possessed something akin to a mutual welfare system for food, see Dreifuss (Ben-Sasson), “Hell Has Risen”, p. 28 fn. 62.

57 For a typology of assisted hiding places as “under the same roof” and “at a distance”, see Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 75-84.

58 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 18 (dated August 5, 1943).

59 Najder, Rewanż (dated April 21, 1943); YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 18 (dated August 5, 1943). Depending on the number of people, air availability also became a problem in Warsaw, see ŻIH 302/39 [Maryłka, Warsaw], p. 23 (dated April 20, 1943).

60 First name unknown. YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 72 (amb. dating, 1942).

61 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], pp. 84-85 (dated July 14, 1943).

62 YVA O.33/2535 [Guensberg, Mikulińce], p. 15 (dated June 3, 1943).

63 Stanyek Jason; Piekut Benjamin, "Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane", TDR/The Drama Review, vol. 54, no. 1, 2010, pp. 14‑38, here 19-20. This application to war-time audition is indebted to: Daughtry J. Martin, Listening to War: Sound, Music, Trauma and Survival in Wartime Iraq, New York, Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 203 ff.

64 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 43 (dated September 22, 1943).

65 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 77 (dated “June 22 to July 3 [1942]”).

66 Silberman, undated.

67 ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], undated.

68 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 43 (dated July 14, 1943); Najder, Rewanż (dated August 5, 1943); for more on Najder’s situation, see Grzemska Aleksandra, "Odmierzanie pamięci [Measuring memory]", Autobiografia. Literatura. Kultura. Media, vol. 2, no. 3, 2014, pp. 151‑164.

69 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 7 (dated May 10, 1943).

70 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 3, 1943); see also YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 73 (amb. dating, 1942); see ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 34 (but with unclear location).

71 Najder, Rewanż (dated April 20-21, 1943); YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 73 (amb. dating, 1942).

72 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 3, 1943).

73 Najder, Rewanż (dated April 23, 1943).

74 See e.g. the diary of Sosia Zimmerman, who hid in various attics: Zimmerman Sosia Gottesfeld, A Mother’s Diary: Surviving the Holocaust in Ukraine 1941-1944, Morgan Hill, CA, Bookstand Publishing, 2015.

75 e.g. Najder, Rewanż (dated August 18, 1943).

76 ŻIH 302/103 [Grocher, Warsaw], p. 7 (dated 19 October, 1944); p. 14 (dated 17 November, 1944).

77 Applebaum Molly, Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum, Azrieli Foundation, 2017 (dated November 1943).

78 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 10 (undated). For more on “newspaper reading” as a practice in hiding, see Garbarini Alexandra, Numbered Days: Diaries and the Holocaust, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2006, pp. 58–94. For similar “discussion culture”, see Kessler Edmund, The Wartime Diary of Edmund Kessler: Lwow, Poland, 1942-1944, Boston, Academic Studies Press, 2010.

79 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 119; 186.

80 Blesser Barry, "Aural architecture: The missing link.", The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 124, no. 4, 2008, pp. 124; 252.

81 Cobel-Tokarska, Desert Island, Burrow, Grave, pp. 151–203.

82 Ibid.

83 YVA O.33/1092 [Okonowski, Warsaw], undated.

84 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], pp. 8-9 (dated May 10, 1943).

85 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 12, 1943).

86 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], pp. 5-6 (dated May 2, 1943).

87 GFH 6045 [NN, Warsaw], p. 4 (dated April 30, 1943).

88 ŻIH 302/229 [Maryłka, Warsaw], pp. 318-319 (dated April 20, 1943).

89 ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], p. 47 (undated).

90 Applebaum, Buried Words, p. 20 (dated April 7, 1943).

91 Leociak Jacek, Texts in the Face of Destruction: Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto Reconsidered, Warszawa, Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, 2004, p. 179.

92 Ibid.

93 Kövecses Zoltán, Metaphor: A Practical Introduction, New York, NY, Oxford Univ. Press, 2010, pp. 82–88.

94 YVA O.33/9399 [Wulkier, Łosice], p. 14 (dated May 1, 1943).

95 Ibid.

96 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 14 (dated August 2, 1943).

97 Taylor Richard P., "Eresh", Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Calif., ABC-CLIO, 2000, p. 97.

98 Rodaway Paul, Sensuous Geographies: Body, Sense, and Place, London, Routledge, 1994, pp. 91–92.

99 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 11 (undated); see p. 13 (undated): “We hear the steps of the thugs walking right here above our heads. […] Suddenly, from the direction of the backyard…”.

100 GFH 21899 [Blumenfeld, Warsaw], p. 5 (dated August 10, 1944).

101 e.g. YVA O.33/2535 [Guensberg, Mikulińce], pp. 15; 17 (dated June 3, 1943).

102 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 104 (undated).

103 ŻIH 302/161 [Midler, Warsaw], p. 1 (dated November 16, 1944).

104 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 92 (undated); ŻIH 302/25 [Fogelman, Warsaw], p. 52 (amb. dating, before December 15,1944); see nervous waiting for it, YVA O.33/2535 [Guensberg, Mikulińce], p. 41 (dated November 15, 1943).

105 Kramer Clara, Tyleśmy już przeszli: dziennik pisany w bunkrze (Żółkiew 1942-1944) [We have gone through so much: A diary written in the bunker (Żółkiew 1942-1944)], Warszawa, Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 2017, p. 99 (dated March 27, 1944).

106 Najder, Rewanż (dated August 5, 1943).

107 YVA O.33/1099 [Landsberg, Krzemieniec], p. 116 (dated November 21, 1943).

108 Ibid., p. 120 (dated November 25, 1943).

109 Ibid., p. 118 (dated November 21, 1943).

110 YVA O.33/774 [Holländer, Czortków], p. 91 (undated).

111 Kramer, Tyleśmy już przeszli, p. 79 (dated February 27, 1944).

112 ŻIH 302/180 [Stella, Warsaw], p. 35 (undated).

113 Berg Richard E., "Sound", Encyclopedia Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/science/sound-physics, consulted on 01 August 2019).

114 LaBelle Brandon, "Other Acoustics", Immersed Sound and Architecture, no. 78, 2009, pp. 14‑18, here 16.

115 Ibid.

116 Schulze Holger, "The Sonic Persona: An Anthropology of Sound", Exploring the Senses: South Asian and European Perspectives on Rituals and Performativity, Milton, Taylor and Francis 2015, pp. 164‑175, here 165.

117 Pocock Douglas, "Sound and the Geographer", Geography, vol. 74, no. 3, 1989, pp. 193‑200, 196.

118 Kuczok Marcin, "Metaphorical conceptualizations of death and dying in American English and Polish: a corpus-based contrastive study", Linguistica Silesiana, no. 37, 2016, p. 125‑142.

119 Laqueur Thomas W, The Work of the Dead. A Cultural History of Mortal Remains, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2015, p. 140.

120 Taylor Richard P., "Sheol", Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Calif, ABC-CLIO, 2000, p. 322.

121 Thus, for instance, Carolyn Birdsall, examining interviews with German civilians in World War II, outlined themes of risk and endurance, as well as the connection the interviewees made between the intensity and regularity of the sounds and the perception of one’s “enduring” self, see Birdsall, “Sound Memory”, p. 122 ff.

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Nikita Hock, « Making Home, Making Sense: Aural Experiences of Warsaw and East Galician Jews in Subterranean Shelters during the Holocaust »Transposition [En ligne], Hors-série 2 | 2020, mis en ligne le 15 mars 2020, consulté le 16 janvier 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/transposition/4205 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/transposition.4205

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Nikita Hock

Nikita Hock studied Jewish and Religious Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as Cultural Theory and History at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He has measured religious sonic spaces in Namibia and curated a sound exhibit at the Märkisches Museum in Berlin. As Research Assistant, he taught seminars on Auditory Culture Studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and served as chief editor of the Berlin-based Kulturwelle radio show. He is currently pursuing his PhD at the Historical Institute in Bern, examining the sonic dimension in Jewish wartime diaries.

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