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Risk Taking Researcher
For this role, I decided to search for more details regarding the bunkers Vladek mentioned during his story, mainly because I've never seen a bunker before other than in video games, but also because I throughly enjoyed the sketches of the bunkers Vladek resided in for periods of time that Spiegelman provided in his graphic novel. So, without further ado, I present to you my findings of the subject mentioned in the sentences prior to this one.
A bunker, according to the Holocaust Glossary is a "Ghetto slang word for Jews' hiding places within the ghettos". Bunkers weren't used as hiding places too frequently until the Germans began to systematically set fire to to buildings and blowing them up with the goal to force the Jews out of their hiding places. This occurred in the Warsaw Ghetto, which was the largest ghetto in Nazi occupied Germany (Wikipedia, 2014). However, the Jews leapt from bunker to bunker using several different methods such as improvised ropes, underground passages, etc. which made finding them a whole lot harder.
The caches of Jews known as bunkers, were traditionally underground. In order to locate them, the Nazis had to use hounds, location devices, etc. Once found, they would throw poisonous gasses, which was one of the most painless deaths a Jew could suffer from during World War II or send the refugees to concentration camps or other places such as "care" centres which were quite the opposite of what the name itself states.
Bunkers weren't very comfortable. They were often overcrowded, which meant that the refugees didn't get a lot of food or water and it wasn't sanitary at all, which made the people living in them more prone to fatal diseases. Also, due to the fact that they were underground, bunkers are often described as extremely hot which made them hard to breathe.
This is a picture of a bunker located near the Warsaw ghetto allegedly used during the uprising. In it, we can see a Jew entering and we can get an idea of how dirty and crowded these hiding places were.
The image above is a picture of the Warsaw Ghetto during the uprising. The men that are standing strong and tall are evidently the Nazis, whereas the men and women that are lying on the floor, suffering and perhaps even dead are either Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc.