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Safe house

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Title: Safe house  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Espionage, Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, 2004 in Canada, Death of Gareth Williams, Toby Esterhase
Collection: Law Enforcement Terminology, Safe Houses, Secret Places
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Safe house

A safe house is, in a generic sense, a secret place for sanctuary or suitable to hide persons from the law, hostile actors or actions, or from retribution, threats or perceived danger.[1] It may also be a metaphor.


  • Historical usage 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Sources 4

Historical usage

It may also refer to:

Typically, the significance of safe houses is kept secret from all but a limited number of people, for the safety of those hidden within them.

Many religious institutions will allow one to obtain sanctuary within one's place of worship, and some governments respect and do not violate such sanctuary.

Safe houses were an integral part of the Underground Railroad, the network of safe house locations that were used to assist slaves in escaping to the primarily northern free states in the 19th century United States. Some houses were marked with a statue of an African-American man holding a lantern, called "the Lantern Holder".[3][4]

Safe houses also provided a refuge for victims of Nazi persecution and for escaping prisoners of war. Victims, such as Anne Frank and her family, were harbored clandestinely for extended periods of time. Other Jewish victims hidden from the Germans were Philip Slier and his extended family and friends.[5]

See also


  1. ^ The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: "a house in a secret location, used by spies or criminals in hiding." Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Greg Miller (7 May 2011). "CIA used safe house to spy on bin Laden". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Matheson, Kathy (2008-02-23). "Man amasses black history treasure trove -". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  4. ^ Frost, Karolyn Smardz (2007). I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  
  5. ^ Slier, Philip "Flip"; Deborah Slier (2008). Hidden Letters (illustrated ed.). New York: Star Bright Books. pp. 10, 159, 160, 161.  


  • Slier, Philip "Flip" & Slier, Deborah. Hidden Letters: The Hidden Letters of Flip Slier. Star Bright Books, 2008. ISBN 1887734880.
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