Łódź Ghetto

The Litzmannstadt Ghetto was a World War II ghetto established by the Nazi German authorities for Polish Jews and Roma following the 1939 invasion of Poland. It was the second-largest ghetto in all of German-occupied Europe after the Warsaw Ghetto.[1] Situated in the city of Łódź, and originally intended as a preliminary step upon a more extensive plan of creating the Judenfrei province of Warthegau,[2] the ghetto was transformed into a major industrial centre, manufacturing much needed war supplies for Nazi Germany and especially for the German Army.[3] The number of people incarcerated in it was augmented further by the Jews deported from the Reich territories.[1]

On 30 April 1940, when the gates closed on the ghetto, it housed 163,777 residents.[4] Because of its remarkable productivity, the ghetto managed to survive until August 1944. In the first two years, it absorbed almost 20,000 Jews from liquidated ghettos in nearby Polish towns and villages,[5] as well as 20,000 more from the rest of German-occupied Europe.[6] After the wave of deportations to Chełmno death camp beginning in early 1942,[6] and in spite of a stark reversal of fortune, the Germans persisted in eradicating the ghetto: they transported the remaining population to Auschwitz and Chełmno extermination camps, where most were murdered upon arrival. It was the last ghetto in occupied Poland to be liquidated.[7] A total of 210,000 Jews passed through it;[4] but only 877 remained hidden when the Soviets arrived. About 10,000 Jewish residents of Łódź, who used to live there before the invasion of Poland, survived the Holocaust elsewhere.[8]

Łódź Ghetto
Ghetto Litzmannstadt
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Schilf-002-30, Polen, Ghetto Litzmannstadt, Bewohner
Jewish children inside Ghetto Litzmannstadt, 1940
Litzmannstadt Ghetto plan
Map of the Łódź Ghetto within the city. Walled-off area in blue, the Jewish cemetery in green, Radegast train loading station at the top right of this map; in red: Kinder KZ for Polish children
LocationŁódź, German-occupied Poland
PersecutionImprisonment, forced labor, starvation
OrganizationsSchutzstaffel (SS)
Death campChełmno extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp
Victims210,000 Polish Jews


When German forces occupied Łódź on 8 September 1939, the city had a population of 672,000 people. Over 230,000 of them were Jewish,[9] or 31.1% according to statistics.[10] Nazi Germany annexed Łódź directly to the new Warthegau region and renamed the city Litzmannstadt in honour of a German general, Karl Litzmann, who had led German forces in the area in 1914. The Nazi German authorities intended to "purify" the city. All Polish Jews were to be expelled to the Generalgouvernement eventually, while the non-Jewish population of Polish people reduced significantly, and transformed into a slave labour force for Germany.[9][11]

Bundesarchiv Bild 137-051639A, Polen, Ghetto Litzmannstadt, Deportation
Resettlement of Jews to the Ghetto area c. March 1940. Old Synagogue in the far background (no longer existing)

The first known record of an order for the establishment of the ghetto, dated 10 December 1939,[12] came from the new Nazi governor Friedrich Übelhör,[11] who called on for the cooperation of major policing bodies in the confinement and mass transfer of the local Jews.[9] By 1 October 1940, the relocation of the ghetto inmates was to have been completed, and the city's downtown core declared Judenrein (cleansed of its Jewish presence). The new German owners pressed for the ghetto size to be shrunk beyond all sense in order to have their factories registered outside of it.[3] Łódź was a multicultural mosaic before the war began, with about 8.8% ethnic German residents on top of Austrian, Czech, French, Russian and Swiss business families adding to its bustling economy.[10]

The securing of the ghetto system was preceded by a series of anti-Jewish measures as well as anti-Polish measures meant to inflict terror. The Jews were forced to wear the yellow badge. Their businesses were expropriated by the Gestapo.[3] After the invasion of Poland, many Jews, particularly the intellectual and political elite, had fled the advancing German army into the Soviet-occupied eastern Poland and to the area of future General Government in the hope of the Polish counter-attack which never came.[13] On 8 February 1940, the Germans ordered the Jewish residence to be limited to specific streets in the Old City and the adjacent Bałuty quarter, the areas that would become the ghetto. To expedite the relocation, the Orpo Police launched an assault known as "Bloody Thursday" in which 350 Jews were fatally shot in their homes, and outside, on 5–7 March 1940.[14] Over the next two months, wooden and wire fences were erected around the area to cut it off from the rest of the city. Jews were formally sealed within the ghetto walls on 1 May 1940.[3]

As nearly 25 percent of the Jews had fled the city by the time the ghetto was set up, its prisoner population as of 1 May 1940 was 164,000.[15] Over the coming year, Jews from German-occupied Europe as far away as Luxembourg were deported to the ghetto on their way to the extermination camps.[6] A small Romany population was also resettled there.[3] By 1 May 1941, the population of the ghetto was 148,547.[16]

Ghetto policing

Ghetto entrance
German and Jewish police guard at the entrance to the Ghetto

To ensure no contact between the Jewish and non-Jewish populations of the city, two German Order Police formations were assigned to patrol the perimeter of the ghetto including the Battalion 101 from Hamburg.[17] Within the Ghetto, a Jewish Police force was created to ensure that no prisoners tried to escape. On 10 May 1940 orders went into effect prohibiting any commercial exchange between Jews and non-Jews in Łódź. By the new German decree, those caught outside the ghetto could be shot on sight. The contact with people who lived on the "Aryan" side was also impaired by the fact that Łódż had a 70,000-strong ethnic German minority loyal to the Nazis (the Volksdeutsche),[5] making it impossible to bring food illegally. To keep outsiders out, rumours were also spread by Hitler's propaganda saying that the Jews were the carriers of infectious diseases.[5] For the week of 16–22 June 1941 (the week Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa), the Jews reported 206 deaths and two shootings of women near the barbed wire.[18]

In other ghettos throughout Poland, thriving underground economies based on smuggling of food and manufactured goods developed between the ghettos and the outside world.[19] In Łódź, however, this was practically impossible due to heavy security. The Jews were entirely dependent on the German authorities for food, medicine and other vital supplies. To exacerbate the situation, the only legal currency in the ghetto was a specially created ghetto currency. Faced with starvation, Jews traded their remaining possessions and savings for this scrip, thereby abetting the process by which they were dispossessed of their remaining belongings.[19]

Chaim Rumkowski and the Jewish Council

Chaim Rumkowski delivering a speech in the ghetto, 1941–42

To organize the local population and maintain order, the German authorities established a Jewish Council commonly called the Judenrat or the Ältestenrat ("Council of Elders") in Łódź. The chairman of the Judenrat appointed by the Nazi administration was Chaim Rumkowski (age 62 in 1939). Even today, he is still considered one of the most controversial figures in the history of the Holocaust. Known mockingly as "King Chaim", Rumkowski was granted unprecedented powers by the Nazi officials, which authorized him to take all necessary measures to maintain order in the Ghetto.[20]

Directly responsible to the Nazi Amtsleiter Hans Biebow, Rumkowski adopted an autocratic style of leadership in order to transform the ghetto into an industrial base manufacturing war supplies.[21] Convinced that Jewish productivity would ensure survival, he forced the population to work 12-hour days despite abysmal conditions and the lack of calories and protein;[20] producing uniforms, garments, wood and metalwork, and electrical equipment for the German military. By 1943, some 95 percent of the adult population was employed in 117 workshops, which – Rumkowski once boasted to the mayor of Łódź – were a "gold mine." It was possibly because of this productivity that the Łódź Ghetto managed to survive long after all the other ghettos in occupied Poland were liquidated. Rumkowski systematically singled out for expulsion his political opponents, or anyone who might have had the capacity to lead a resistance to the Nazis. Conditions were harsh and the population was entirely dependent on the Germans. Typical intake, made available, averaged between 700 and 900 calories per day, about half the calories required for survival.[22] People affiliated with Rumkowski received disproportionately larger deliveries of food, medicine, and other rationed necessities. Everywhere else starvation was rampant and diseases like tuberculosis widespread, fueling dissatisfaction with Rumkowski's administration, which led to a series of strikes in the factories. In most instances, Rumkowski relied on the Jewish police to quell the discontented workers, although at least in one instance, the German Order Police was asked to intervene. Strikes usually erupted over the reduction of food rations.[21]

Paper factory
A young girl assists in the paper factory

Disease was a major feature of ghetto life with which the Judenrat had to contend. Medical supplies were critically limited, and the ghetto was severely overcrowded. The entire population of 164,000 people was forced into an area of 4 square kilometres (1.5 square miles), of which 2.4 square kilometres (0.93 square miles) were developed and habitable. Fuel supplies were severely short, and people burned whatever they could to survive the Polish winter. Some 18,000 people in the ghetto are believed to have died during a famine in 1942, and all together, about 43,800 people died in the ghetto from starvation and infectious disease.[23]


Dora Gerson, Litzmannstadt-Getto, 1942
Dora Gerson Identity card Lodz Ghetto 19-4-1942

Overcrowding in the ghetto was exacerbated by the influx of some 40,000 Polish Jews forced out from the surrounding Warthegau areas, as well as by the Holocaust transports of foreign Jews resettled to Łódź from Vienna, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and other cities in Nazi Germany, as well as from Luxembourg, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia including the citywide Theresienstadt concentration camp.[6] Heinrich Himmler visited the ghetto for the first time on 7 June 1941.[24] On 29 July 1941, following an inspection, most patients of the ghetto's psychiatric hospital were taken away never to return. "They understood, for example, why they had been injected with tranquilizers in the night. Injections of scopolamine were used, at the request of the Nazi authorities."[25] Situated 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Łódź in the town of Chełmno, the Kulmhof extermination camp began gassing operations on 8 December 1941. Two weeks later, on 20 December 1941, Rumkowski was ordered by the Germans to announce that 20,000 Jews from the ghetto would be deported to undisclosed camps, based on selection by the Judenrat. An Evacuation Committee was set up to help select the initial group of deportees from among those who were labelled 'criminals': people who refused to or who could not work, and people who took advantage of the refugees arriving in the ghetto in order to satisfy their own basic needs.[6]

By the end of January 1942 some 10,000 Jews were deported to Chełmno (known as Kulmhof in German). The Chełmno extermination camp set up by SS-Sturmbannführer Herbert Lange, served as a pilot project for the secretive Operation Reinhard, the deadliest phase of the "Final Solution". In Chełmno, the inmates were killed with the exhaust fumes of moving gas vans. The stationary gas chambers had yet to be built at death camps of Einsatz Reinhardt.[6] By 2 April 1942 additional 34,000 victims were sent there from the ghetto, with 11,000 more by 15 May 1942, and over 15,000 more by mid September, for the total of an estimated 55,000 people. The Germans planned that children, the elderly, and anyone deemed "not fit for work" would follow them.[6]

In September 1942, Rumkowski and the Jews of Łódź had realized the fate of the evacuees, because all baggage, clothing, and identification papers of their fellow inmates, were being returned to the ghetto for "processing". The slave workers began to strongly suspect that deportation meant death; even though they had never deduced that the annihilation of Jews was all-encompassing, as was intended.[26] They witnessed the German raid on a children's hospital where all patients were rounded up and put into trucks never to return (some thrown from windows). A new German order demanded that 24,000 Jews be handed over for deportation. A debate raged in the ghetto over who should be given up. Rumkowski sounded more convinced than ever that the only chance for Jewish survival lay in the ability to work productively for the Reich without interference.[27] As Rumkowski believed productivity was necessary for survival, he thought they should give their 13,000 children and their 11,000 elderly. He addressed the parents of Łódź as follows.

Children headed for deportation
Children rounded up for deportation to the Chełmno death camp, September 1942

A grievous blow has struck the ghetto. They [the Germans] are asking us to give up the best we possess – the children and the elderly. I was unworthy of having a child of my own, so I gave the best years of my life to children. I've lived and breathed with children, I never imagined I would be forced to deliver this sacrifice to the altar with my own hands. In my old age, I must stretch out my hands and beg: Brothers and sisters! Hand them over to me! Fathers and mothers: Give me your children! — Chaim Rumkowski, September 4, 1942 [27]

Despite their horror, parents had little choice but to turn over their children for deportation. Some families committed collective suicide to avoid the inevitable. The deportations slowed down, for a time, only after the purge of the ghetto was completed. Some 89,446 able-bodied prisoners remained. In October, the number of German troops was reduced, as no longer needed.[28] The German Police Battalion 101 left the ghetto to conduct anti-Jewish operations in Polish towns with direct lines to Treblinka, Bełżec, and Sobibór.[29] Meanwhile, a rare camp for the Christian children between 8 and 14 years of age was set up adjacent to the ghetto in December 1942, separated only by a high fence made of planks. Some 12,000–13,000 adolescent Poles with parents already dead went through the Kinder-KZ Litzmannstadt according to International Tracing Service.[30] Subjected to a selection process for Germanisation, the 1,600 children performed work closely connected with the industrial output of the ghetto, with help and advice from Jewish instructors.[31]

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-133-0719-04, Polen, Lodz, Juden in einer Schneiderei
Jews clean and repair coats salvaged at Chełmno for redistribution among Volksdeutsche in accordance with the top secret August Frank memorandum. The Yellow badge was removed.[32]

Since late 1942 the production of war supplies was coordinated by the autonomous German Management Board (Gettoverwaltung).[28] The Ghetto was transformed into a giant labor camp where survival depended solely on the ability to work.[33] Two small hospitals were set up in 1943, nonetheless hundreds of tormented prisoners died each month. In April 1,000 Jews were transferred to labour camps in Germany.[28] In September 1943 Himmler ordered Greiser to get ready for a mass relocation of labour to the Nazi District of Lublin. Max Horn from the Ostindustrie arrived and made an assessment, which was damning.[34] The ghetto was too large in his opinion, badly managed, not profitable, and it had the wrong products. From his perspective the presence of children was unacceptable. The relocation idea was abandoned, but the immediate consequence of his report was an order to reduce the size of the ghetto.[34] By January 1944, there were around 80,000 Jewish workers still subsisting in Łódź.[33] Soviet troops were just 95 kilometres (59 miles) away and advancing rapidly, and the survivors lived with persistent rumors of salvation. Then suddenly, the Soviets stopped their advance. In February, Himmler brought back Bothmann to reinstate operations at Chełmno.[35]

Camp for Polish Children

On November 28, 1942, a camp for Polish children was opened [36]. The official name of the camp was Polen-Jugendverwahrlager der Sicherheitspolizei in Litzmannstadt translated means Security Police Litzmannstadt Isolation Camp for Polish Youth, however, the camp was most commonly referred to as “The Camp on Przemyslowa Street.” The camp housed imprisoned children, between the ages of eight and sixteen, who were oprhans or had been accused of criminal activity, including theft and any form of resistance [37]. Over 1,000 children were imprisoned within a year of the camp's opening. They were kept separate from the rest of the camp where their families lived. The children were required to work a minimum of eight hours a day with harsh living conditions such as starvation rations smaller than that of the main camp, no access to water, heating or bathrooms. They were constantly tortured and beaten by the guards. The camp ran until the end of the Lodz ghetto. [38].


Gypsy camp in ghetto
The Gypsy quarter in the Ghetto after its inhabitants had been transported to the Chełmno extermination camp.

In early 1944, the ultimate fate of the Łódź Ghetto was debated among the highest-ranking Nazis. The initial wave of deportations to Chełmno ended in the autumn of 1942 with over 72,000 people defined as "dispensable" already sent to their deaths.[39] Heinrich Himmler called for the final liquidation of the ghetto. Between 23 June and 14 July 1944, the first 10 transports of about 7,000 Jews were sent by Arthur Greiser from the Radegast train station to Chełmno.[39] Although the killing centre was partly razed in April 1943,[40] it had resumed gassing operations specifically for this purpose.[41] Meanwhile, Armaments Minister Albert Speer proposed the ghetto be continued as a source of cheap labour for the front.[39]

On 15 July 1944 the transports paused for two weeks. On 1 August 1944 the Warsaw Uprising erupted, and the fate of the remaining inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto was sealed. During the last phase of its existence, some 25,000 inmates were murdered at Chełmno, their bodies burned immediately after death.[40][41] As the front approached, German officials decided to deport the remaining Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau aboard Holocaust trains, including Rumkowski. On 28 August 1944, Rumkowski's family were gassed along with thousands of others. A handful of people were left alive in the ghetto to clean it up.[39] Others remained in hiding with the Polish rescuers.[42] When the Soviet army entered Łódź on 19 January 1945, only 877 Jews were still alive, 12 of whom were children.[1] Of the 223,000 Jews in Łódź before the invasion, only 10,000 survived the Holocaust in other places.[8]

Forms of resistance

Bundesarchiv R 49 Bild-1312, KZ Radogosc bei Litzmannstadt, Juden
Jewish prisoners of the Gestapo KZ Radogoszcz in Łódź, 1940

The peculiar situation of the Łódź Ghetto prevented armed resistance, which occurred within other ghettos in Nazi-occupied Poland, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Białystok Ghetto Uprising, the revolt at the Wilno Ghetto, the Częstochowa Ghetto Uprising, or similar rebellions in other Polish cities.[43] Rumkowski's overbearing autocracy including his periodic crackdowns, and the resulting failure of Jewish attempts to smuggle food – and consequently, arms – into the ghetto, as well as misleading confidence that productivity would ensure survival, precluded attempts at an armed revolt.[44]

The distinct forms of defiance included instead the symbolic, polemic and defensive resistance.[45] Throughout the early period, the symbolic resistance was evident in the rich cultural and religious life that the people maintained in the ghetto. Initially, they created 47 schools and daycare facilities which continued to operate despite harsh conditions. Later, when the school buildings were converted to new living quarters for some 20,000 inmates brought in from outside occupied Poland, alternatives were established, particularly for younger children whose mothers were forced to work. Schools tried to provide children with adequate nourishment despite meager rations. After the schools were shut down in 1941, many of the factories continued to maintain illegal daycare centres for children whose mothers were working.[46]

Political organizations also continued to exist, and engaged in strikes when rations were cut. In one such instance, a strike got so violent that the German Orpo police were called upon to suppress it. At the same time, the rich cultural life included active theatres, concerts, and banned religious gatherings, all of which countered official attempts at dehumanization. Much information about the Jewish day-to-day life in that period can be found in the ghetto archive of Lucjan Dobroszycki from YIVO.[47]

Emaciated child
Photographs such as this served to record the horrors of ghetto life for posterity

The photographers of the statistical department of the Judenrat, besides their official work, illegally took photos of everyday scenes and atrocities. One of them, Henryk Ross, managed to bury the negatives and dig them up after liberation, at 12 Jagielonska Street. Because of this archive, the reality of the ghetto was recorded and preserved. The archivists also began creating a ghetto encyclopedia and a lexicon of the local slang that emerged in their daily lives. The Jewish population maintained several illegal radios with which they kept abreast of events in the outside world. At first, the radio could only receive German broadcast, which is why it was codenamed the "Liar" in the diaries. Among the news that quickly spread around the ghetto was the Allied invasion of Normandy on the day it occurred.[44]

Since production was essential to the German war effort, the slowing down of work was also a form of resistance. In the later years, leftist workers adopted the slogan P.P. (pracuj powoli, or "work slowly") to hinder their own output on behalf of the Wehrmacht.[48]

Escape and rescue efforts

Ocaleli i goście uroczystości wręczenia certyfikatów nowych drzewek w Parku Ocalałych w Łodzi MZW DSC03426
The Polish rescuers and the Jewish survivors plant Trees of Memory during the ceremony at the Park of the Rescued (pl) inaugurated in Łódź in August 2009

A number of Poles from Łódź were awarded titles of Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.[42] On their and their families initiative, a Park of the Rescued adorned with monuments was built in Łódź, measuring 3,660 square metres (39,400 sq ft). It was inaugurated in August 2009 by the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński in the presence of prominent dignitaries.[49] A year later, the Park was awarded a medal for top urban design by the Towarzystwo Urbanistów Polskich.[50]

Notable inmates

See also


  1. ^ a b c Jennifer Rosenberg (1998). "The Łódź Ghetto". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  2. ^ Horwitz 2009, p. 27. Plan hammered out by Friedrich Uebelhoer.
  3. ^ a b c d e Horwitz, Gordon J. (2009). Ghettostadt: Łódź and the making of a Nazi city. Harvard University Press; Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 27, 54–55, 62. ISBN 0674038797. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, Geoffrey P. Megargee, Martin C. Dean, and Mel Hecker, Volume II, part A, pp. 75-82.
  5. ^ a b c Biuletyn Informacyjny Obchodów 60. Rocznicy Likwidacji Litzmannstadt Getto. Nr 1-2. "The establishment of Litzmannstadt Ghetto", Torah Code website. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Shirley Rotbein Flaum (2007). "Lodz Ghetto Deportations and Statistics". Timeline. JewishGen Home Page. Retrieved 26 March 2015. Source: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (1990), Baranowski, Dobroszycki, Wiesenthal, Yad Vashem Timeline of the Holocaust, others.
  7. ^ The statistical data, compiled on the basis of "Glossary of 2,077 Jewish towns in Poland" Archived 8 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine by Virtual Shtetl, Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, as well as "Getta Żydowskie" by Gedeon  (in Polish) and "Ghetto List" by Michael Peters  (in English). Accessed 25 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b Abraham J. Peck (1997). "The Agony of the Łódź Ghetto, 1941–1944". The Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto, 1941–1944 by Lucjan Dobroszycki, and The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. The Simon Wiesenthal Center. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Jennifer Rosenberg (2006). "The Łódź Ghetto". Part 1 of 2. 20th Century History, About.com. Archived from the original on 30 April 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2015. Lodz Ghetto: Inside a Community Under Siege by Adelson, Alan and Robert Lapides (ed.), New York, 1989; The Documents of the Łódź Ghetto: An Inventory of the Nachman Zonabend Collection by Web, Marek (ed.), New York, 1988; The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry by Yahil, Leni, New York, 1991.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  10. ^ a b Mariusz Kulesza, Struktura narodowościowa i wyznaniowa ludności Łodzi PDF file, direct download.
  11. ^ a b Jennifer Rosenberg (2015) [1998]. "The Lódz Ghetto (1939–1945)" (Reprinted with permission). History & Overview. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  12. ^ Journals and footage on YouTube of the establishment of Łódź Ghetto by Nazi occupants.
  13. ^ Holocaust Encyclopedia (20 June 2014). "Jewish Refugees, 1939". German Invasion of Poland. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  14. ^ Horwitz 2009, page 49.
  15. ^ Horwitz 2009, page 62.
  16. ^ Dobroszycki 1987, 1984; p. 52, ISBN 9780300039245
  17. ^ Holocaust Encyclopedia (2014). "Ghettos". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2015.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  18. ^ Dobroszycki 1987, 1984; p. 61, ISBN 9780300039245
  19. ^ a b Emmanuel Ringelblum, Polish-Jewish Relations During the Second World War, Northwestern University Press, 1992, p.86. ISBN 0810109638.
  20. ^ a b Carmelo Lisciotto, H.E.A.R.T (2007). "Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski". The Łódź Ghetto. Holocaust Research Project.org. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  21. ^ a b Trunk & Shapiro 2008, p. xlii.
  22. ^ Trunk & Shapiro 2008, p. 117, Minimal need.
  23. ^ Trunk & Shapiro 2008, p. 223, "Natural" death.
  24. ^ Dobroszycki 1987, 1984; p. 59, ISBN 9780300039245
  25. ^ Dobroszycki 1987, 1984; pp. 68–69, ISBN 9780300039245
  26. ^ Trunk & Shapiro 2008, p. 52: Łódź Ghetto: A History
  27. ^ a b Simone Schweber, Debbie Findling (2007). Teaching the Holocaust (Google Book, preview). Ghettoization. Torah Aura Productions. p. 107. ISBN 1891662910. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  28. ^ a b c Michal Latosinski. "Litzmannstadt Ghetto – The Calendar 1942–1945" (Traces of the Litzmannstadt Getto. A Guide to the Past). LodzGhetto.com home.
  29. ^ Struan Robertson. "Hamburg Police Battalions during the Second World War". Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2009.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  30. ^ ITS, Erecting the Łódź Ghetto February 1940 International Tracing Service. Internet Archive. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  31. ^ Michal Latosinski. "The camp for Polish children at Przemystowa Street (Gewerbestrasse)" (Traces of the Litzmannstadt Getto. A Guide to the Past). LodzGhetto.com home. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  32. ^ Frank, August, "Memorandum, 26 September 1942; Utilization of property on the occasion of settlement and evacuation of Jews. Top Secret", in NO-724, Pros. Ex. 472 (ed.), United States of America v. Oswald Pohl, et al. (Case No. 4, the "Pohl Trial), V, Military Tribunal Nuremberg, pp. 965–967
  33. ^ a b Yechiam Weitz (2006), "Working against time," book review. Haaretz.com.
  34. ^ a b Dobroszycki 1984, The Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto, page lxi.
  35. ^ Dobroszycki 1987, 1984; p. lxii, ISBN 9780300039245
  36. ^ "The camp for Polish children". Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  37. ^ "The establishment of Litzmannstadt Ghetto". Litzmannstadt-Getto. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  38. ^ Bałulis, Sabina. "Raport 2017: Children // THE CAMP AT PRZEMYSŁOWA STREET". Centrum Dialogu. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  39. ^ a b c d S.J., H.E.A.R.T (2007). "Chronicle: 1940 – 1944". The Łódź Ghetto. Holocaust Research Project.org. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  40. ^ a b Golden, Juliet (2006). "Remembering Chelmno". In Vitelli, Karen D.; Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Chip (eds.). Archeological Ethics (2nd ed.). AltaMira Press. p. 189. ISBN 075910963X. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  41. ^ a b JVL (2013). "Chelmno (Kulmhof)". The Forgotten Camps. Jewish Virtual Library.org. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  42. ^ a b Archives (2015). "Polish Righteous". Łódź. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  43. ^ Trunk & Shapiro 2008, p. 53, Częstochowa.
  44. ^ a b Trunk & Shapiro 2008, p. 53.
  45. ^ Swiss sociologist, Werner Rings, identifies four distinct forms of ghetto resistance: symbolic, polemic, and defensive; with offensive resistance (including sabotage) constituting its final form. 
  46. ^ Heberer, Patricia. Children During the Holocaust. Plymouth: AltaMira Press, 2011. The Łódź Ghetto had “some forty-three elementary schools, two high schools, and one vocational training facility, serving some 63 percent of the ghettos school aged youngsters.” 
  47. ^ Dobroszycki 1987, ISBN 0-300-03924-7
  48. ^ Trunk & Shapiro 2008, pp. 53–56, "Pracuj powoli".
  49. ^ Uroczystości w Łodzi, 28 sierpnia 2009. Polin.
  50. ^ Pomnik Polaków odznaczonych Medalem Sprawiedliwych Wśród Narodów Świata w Łodzi. Dom i Miasto. (in Polish)
  51. ^ Grimes, William (9 December 2010). "Heda Kovaly, Czech Who Wrote of Totalitarianism, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  52. ^ Hoffman, Allison (10 April 2013). "How an NYU Scholar Became the Keeper of Poland's Jewish Heritage". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 18 January 2019.


Further reading

  • Alan Adelson and Robert Lapides, Łódź Ghetto : A Community History Told in Diaries, Journals, and Documents, Viking, 1989. ISBN 0-670-82983-8
  • Bostock, William, "Language policy and use in the Łódź ghetto", Web Journal of Modern Language Linguistics, 3/98, (June 1998)
  • Frank Dabba Smith, My Secret Camera: Life in the Łódź Ghetto; photographs by Mendel Grosman. Great Britain: Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2000. ISBN 0-7112-1477-8
  • Sheva Glas-Wiener, Children of the Ghetto, Globe Press, 1983. ISBN 0-9593671-3-6
  • Mendel Grosman (Zvi Szner and Alexander Sened, eds.), With a Camera in the Ghetto. New York: Schocken Books, 1977.
  • Peter Klein, "Die "Gettoverwaltung Litzmannstadt", 1940–1944. Eine Dienstelle im Spannungsfeld von Kommunalbürokratie und staatlicher Verfolgungspolitik", Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2009, ISBN 978-3-86854-203-5.
  • Andrea Löw, Juden im Getto Litzmannstadt: Lebensbedingungen, Selbstwahrnehmung, Verhalten, Wallstein: Göttingen, 2006
  • Xenia Modrzejewska-Mrozowska, Andrzej Różycki, Marek Szukalak (eds.), Terra Incognita: the Struggling Art of Arie Ben Menachem and Mendel Grosman, Łódź: Oficyna Bibliofilow, 2009. ISBN 978-83-61743-16-3
  • Werner Rings, Life with the Enemy: Collaboration and Resistance in Hitler's Europe, 1939–1945 (trans. J. Maxwell Brownjohn). Doubleday & Co., 1982. ISBN 0-385-17082-3
  • Dawid Sierakowiak, The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the Łódź Ghetto, Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-512285-2
  • Isaiah Trunk, Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe under Nazi Occupation. The University of Nebraska Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8032-9428-X
  • Michal Unger (ed.), The Last Ghetto: Life in the Łódź Ghetto 1940–1944, Yad Vashem, 1995. ISBN 965-308-045-8
  • Chava Rosenfarb, The Tree Of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Łódź Ghetto Book One: On the Brink of the Precipice, 1939. The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985. ISBN 0-299-20454-5
  • Chava Rosenfarb, The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Łódź Ghetto Book Two: From the Depths I Call You, 1940–1942. Terrace Books. ISBN 0-299-20924-5.
  • Chava Rosenfarb, The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Łódź Ghetto Book Three: The Cattle Cars Are Waiting, 1942–1944.
  • Horwitz, Gordon J., Ghettostadt: Łódź and the Making of a Nazi City. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. Terrace Books. ISBN 0-299-22124-5.
  • Eva Libitzky and Fred Rosenbaum, Out on a Ledge, Lehrhaus Judaica, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9960886-0-2.


External links

Coordinates: 51°47′35″N 19°27′50″E / 51.79306°N 19.46389°E

Alexander Palfinger

Alexander Palfinger was the deputy to Hans Biebow, the manager of the Lodz Ghetto. Due to differences with Biebow, he left to work at the "Transferstelle" in the Warsaw Ghetto. This agency was in charge of the traffic of goods entering and leaving the ghetto. He was succeeded by Max Georg Bischof. "Given the mentality of the Jews," he argued, only the "most extreme exigency" would force them to part with their hidden valuables in return for food. "A rapid dying out of the Jews is for us a matter of total indifference, if not to say desirable."

Außenarbeitslager Gerdauen

Außenarbeitslager Gerdauen was a subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp in nowaday's Zheleznodorozhny, Kaliningrad Oblast. Most of the prisoners in the subcamps of the Stutthoff camp contained Jewish women from Hungary and from the Łódź Ghetto, and there were also some Jewish men from Lithuania. While a labor camp rather than a death camp, many people died - of 100 Jewish girls at the camp only three survived the war.In 1994, Riva Chirurg published an autobiography which discussed her time at Gerdauen, as well as in the Łódź Ghetto, in Auschwitz and in Stutthoff.

Chaim Rumkowski

Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski (February 27, 1877 – August 28, 1944) was a businessman appointed by Nazi Germany as the head of the Council of Elders in the Łódź Ghetto (Ghetto Litzmannstadt) during the German occupation of Poland.

Rumkowski accrued exponentially more power by transforming the Ghetto into an industrial base manufacturing war supplies for the Wehrmacht army in the mistaken belief that productivity was the key to Jewish survival beyond the Holocaust. The Germans liquidated the ghetto in 1944. All remaining prisoners were sent to death camps in the wake of military defeats on the Eastern Front.

As the head of the Judenrat, Rumkowski is remembered for his speech Give Me Your Children, delivered at a time when the Germans demanded his compliance with the deportation of 20,000 children to Chełmno extermination camp. In August 1944, Rumkowski and his family joined the last transport to Auschwitz, and were murdered there on August 28, 1944 by Jewish Sonderkommando inmates who beat him to death as revenge for his role in the Holocaust. This account of his final moments is confirmed by witness testimonies of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials.

Chełmno extermination camp

Chełmno extermination camp (German: Vernichtungslager Kulmhof), built during World War II, was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps and was situated 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of the metropolitan city of Łódź (renamed to Litzmannstadt), near the village of Chełmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof an der Nehr in German). Following the invasion of Poland in 1939 Germany annexed the area into the new territory of Reichsgau Wartheland, aiming at its complete "Germanization"; the camp was set up specifically to carry out ethnic cleansing through mass killings. It operated from December 8, 1941 parallel to Operation Reinhard during the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, and again from June 23, 1944 to January 18, 1945 during the Soviet counter-offensive. Polish Jews of the Łódź Ghetto and the local inhabitants of Reichsgau Wartheland (Warthegau) were exterminated there. In 1943 modifications were made to the camp's killing methods because the reception building was already dismantled.At a very minimum 152,000 people (Bohn) were killed in the camp, which would make it the fifth most deadly extermination camp, after Sobibór, Bełżec, Treblinka, and Auschwitz. However, the West German prosecution, citing Nazi figures during the Chełmno trials of 1962–65, laid charges for at least 180,000 victims. The Polish official estimates, in the early postwar period, have suggested much higher numbers, up to a total of 340,000 men, women, and children. The Kulmhof Museum of Martyrdom gives the figure of around 200,000, the vast majority of whom were Jews of west-central Poland, along with Romani from the region, as well as foreign Jews from Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, Germany, Luxemburg, and Austria transported to Chełmno via the Łódź Ghetto, on top of the Soviet prisoners of war. The victims were killed with the use of gas vans. Chełmno was a place of early experimentation in the development of Nazi extermination programme, continued in subsequent phases of the Holocaust throughout occupied Poland.The Red army troops captured the town of Chełmno on January 17, 1945. By then, the Nazis had already destroyed evidence of the camp's existence leaving no prisoners behind. One of the camp survivors who was fifteen years old at the time testified that only three Jewish males had escaped successfully from Chełmno. The Holocaust Encyclopedia counted seven Jews who escaped during the early 1940s; among them, the author of the Grojanowski Report written under an assumed name by Szlama Ber Winer, prisoner from the Jewish Sonderkommando who escaped only to perish at Bełżec during the liquidation of yet another Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Poland. In June 1945 two survivors testified at the trial of camp personnel in Łódź. The three best-known survivors testified about Chełmno at the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Two survivors testified also at the camp personnel trials conducted in 1962–65 by West Germany.

Dawid Daniuszewski

Dawid Daniuszewski (1885–1944) was a Polish chess master.


Fotoamator (internationally released as Photographer ) is a 1998 Polish documentary film directed by Dariusz Jablonski, examining the life of the Jewish population and their Nazi overseers in the Łódź Ghetto.

Georg John

Georg John (23 July 1879 – 18 November 1941) was a German stage and film actor.

Hans Biebow

Hans Biebow (December 18, 1902 – June 23, 1947) was the chief of German Nazi

administration of the Łódź Ghetto in occupied Poland.

Biebow's early life is summarized by the following curriculum vitae which he submitted to the German Ghetto Administration (German: Gettoverwaltung) on 10 May 1940.

I was born December 18, 1902, in Bremen, the son of Julius Biebow, an insurance company director. After graduating from secondary school, I entered my father's company — the district branch of the Stuttgart Insurance Company — as an apprentice, planning on eventually assuming my father's post. I received thorough training, remaining there an additional year as an employee. Since the insurance business had come almost completely to a standstill during the inflation, I then gave up my position to join the cereal and foodstuff bank in Bremen as a trainee. From there I went into the cereal business and stayed in this trade until I was 22. I should mention that I managed a large branch of an Eichsfeld cereal company in Göttingen for half a year. When the inflation ended, I became particularly interested in the reviving coffee trade. After a short training period with a business friend of my father's, I opened my own business with very little capital, building it, in the course of 18 years, into one of the largest such companies in Germany. At the end I employed about 250 workers and office personnel.

After working as a coffee importer in his hometown of Bremen, Biebow became the overseer of the Łódź Ghetto. He realized that the Lodz Ghetto could make a profit for the Germans if it were converted into essentially a slave labor complex.

Under his administration, the 164,000 Jews of Poland's second largest city were crammed into a small area of the city. Communication between the Ghetto inhabitants and the outside world was completely cut off and the supply of food was severely limited, ensuring that many of the inhabitants of the Ghetto would slowly starve. Over the course of its existence, the population of the Ghetto swelled to 204,000 with more Jews from Central Europe being sent there. The Ghetto Administration remained in operation from April 1940 until the summer of 1944, but there were transports out of the Ghetto to extermination camps (primarily Auschwitz and Chelmno.

He was directly responsible for starving the ghetto's population beyond limits of endurance, and he assisted the Gestapo in rounding up Jews during deportations. In the days just before the liberation of Lodz by the Red Army, Biebow ordered large burial pits to be dug in the local cemetery, intending that the Gestapo execute the remaining 877 Jews who served as a clean-up crew in the ghetto. This might have been an attempt by Biebow to eliminate witnesses to his role in the workings of the Ghetto.

Biebow exercised his control in part through a Jewish administration headed by Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski. Rumkowski believed that the Jews could survive if they produced cheap, essential goods for the Nazis. Biebow profited substantially from the sale of the products of Jewish labour as well as from the seized properties of Jews. He is also said to have provided less food to Ghetto inhabitants than was paid for, pocketing the difference. The Ghetto factories produced products such as boots for German soldiers and were profitable for the Germans because the Jews, cut off from all resources, worked for wages that consisted only of bread, soup, and other essentials. The German profits from the Jewish factories have been estimated at $14,000,000 and the productivity of the Ghetto was a factor in its comparatively long survival. The inhabitants endured four years of starvation, illness and overcrowding before being sent to the extermination camps of Chełmno and Auschwitz. Of the 204,000 inhabitants, approximately 104,000 survived.Among the Nazi hierarchy, Biebow was an early exponent of using the Jews as cheap labor rather than killing them, but he readily adapted to the extermination policy. Survivors report his encouraging the last surviving Jews of the Ghetto in the summer of 1944 to board the trains to Auschwitz with a speech that began "My Jews...” and promised them work in the West.

Biebow was able to escape into hiding in Germany in 1945 after the unconditional surrender, but was recognized by a survivor of the ghetto and subsequently arrested in Bremen. After he was extradited by the Allies to Łódź, he stood trial from April 23 to April 30, 1947. He was found guilty on all counts and executed by hanging on June 23, 1947.

Henryk Ross

Henryk Ross (1 May 1910 – 1991) was a Polish Jewish photographer who was employed by the Department of Statistics for the Jewish Council within the Łódź Ghetto during the Holocaust in occupied Poland. Daringly, working as staff photographer, Ross also documented Nazi atrocities (such as public hangings) while remaining officially in the good graces of the German occupational administration.Part of his official duties was taking identity photographs. He constructed a three level stage in his studio that let him photograph up to twelve people with a single negative. While the authorities only supplied him enough film for assigned work, this trick allowed him extra film he could use for unauthorized photography.His unofficial images covered scenes from daily life, communal celebrations, children digging for scraps of food and large groups of Jews being led to deportation and being loaded into box cars. As the ghetto was being liquidated in the fall of 1944, Ross buried his photos and negatives in a box, hoping they might survive as an historical record. He was able to dig up the box in January 1945, after the Red Army liberated Poland. Much of his material was damaged or destroyed by water; still, about half of his 6,000 images survived. Ross later testified during the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann.

Jurek Becker

Jurek Becker (probably 30 September 1937 – 14 March 1997) was a Polish-born German writer, film-author and GDR dissident. His most famous novel is Jacob the Liar, which has been made into two films. He lived in Łódź during World War II for about two years and survived the Holocaust.

Lucjan Dobroszycki

Lucjan Dobroszycki (1925 – October 24, 1995 in New York City) was a Polish scientist and historian specializing in modern Polish and Polish-Jewish history. A survivor of the Łódź Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz, Dobroszycki lived in Poland after World War II where he obtained his education and worked as a historian. His main focus was the Nazi German occupation of Poland.

Dobroszycki undertook studies of the – legal and illegal – Polish press from during the war, edited an abridged version of the chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto (Litzmannstadt Ghetto), and conducted research on the extermination of Polish Jewry. He was a visiting scholar in Jerusalem in June 1967 and emigrated to the United States in 1970. He and his family settled in New York City where, for the remainder of his life he was a member of the research staff of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He was also affiliated with Yeshiva University's Holocaust studies program.

According to Zachary Baker from Stanford, Dobroszycki became YIVO's "'research consultant to the stars'; he compiled a history of former New York mayor Ed Koch's ancestors and was a consultant to Barbra Streisand's film production of "Yentl" (an indirect Yiddish connection). His name has appeared in numerous published acknowledgments and documentary film credits."

Radegast train station

The Radogoszcz station (German: Bahnhof Radegast) built originally between 1926 and 1937, is a small historic railway station in Łódź, Poland; also referred to as the loading platform in Marysin, a neighbourhood in the Bałuty district of the city.

Ruth Minsky Sender

Ruth Minsky Senderowicz (born 3 May 1926) is a Holocaust survivor. She has written three memoirs about her experience: The Cage, To Life and Holocaust Lady.

Rywka Lipszyc

Rywka Bajla Lipszyc (ʁivka lipʃitz) (September 15, 1929 – 1945?) was a Polish-Jewish teenage girl who wrote a personal diary while in the Łódź Ghetto during the Holocaust in Poland. She survived deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp followed by a transfer to Gross-Rosen and forced labor at its subcamp in Christianstadt. She also survived a death march to Bergen-Belsen, and lived to see her liberation there in April 1945. Too ill to be evacuated, she was transferred to a hospital at Niendorf, where the record of her life ended.Her diary, composed of 112 pages, was written between 3 October 1943 and 12 April 1944 in the Polish language. Translated to English by Malgorzata Markoff and annotated by Ewa Wiatr, it was published for the first time in the United States in early 2014, some 70 years after it was written.

Shmuel Krakowski

Shmuel Krakowski, Samuel Krakowski or Stefan Krakowski (23 March 1926 – September 2018) was a Polish-Jewish historian specializing in the Holocaust in Poland.

After surviving the Holocaust, Krakowski worked for the intelligence and security services of the People's Republic of Poland. Later he became a Director of the Yad Vashem Archives in Israel.

The Story of Chaim Rumkowski and the Jews of Lodz

The Story of Chaim Rumkowski and the Jews of Łódź is a 1982 documentary film that uses archival film footage and photographs to narrate the story of one of the Holocaust's most controversial figures, Chaim Rumkowski, a Polish Jew put in charge of the Łódź ghetto by the German occupation authorities during World War II.

Victor Aronstein

Victor Aronstein (1 November 1896 – 13 January 1945) was a German-Jewish doctor whose practice in Alt-Hohenschönhausen, Berlin served as a meeting place for communists and social democrats during the rule of the Nazi Party. He was deported to the Łódź Ghetto in 1941 and was then moved to Auschwitz, where he was murdered in 1945.

Yellow Star (novel)

Yellow Star is a 2006 biographical children's novel by Jennifer Roy. Written in free verse, it depicts life through the eyes of a young Jewish girl whose family was forced into the Łódź Ghetto in 1939 during World War II. Roy tells the story of her aunt Syvia, who shared her childhood memories with Roy more than 50 years after the ghetto's liberation. Roy added fictionalized dialogue, but did not otherwise alter the story. The book covers Syvia's life as she grows from four and a half to ten years old in the ghetto. Syvia, her older sister Dora, and her younger cousin Isaac were three of only twelve children who survived. After the war, Syvia moved to the United States, married, and only much later told her story to Roy. Since its publication in 2006, the book has received multiple awards, starred reviews, and other accolades, and has been made into a likewise well-received audiobook.


Łódź (Polish: [wutɕ] (listen); also written in English as Lodz) is the third-largest city in Poland and a former industrial hub. Located in the central part of the country, it has a population of 687,702 (2018). It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) south-west of Warsaw. The city's coat of arms is an example of canting, as it depicts a boat (łódź), which alludes to the city's name.

Łódź was once a small settlement that first appeared in written records in around 1332. In the early 15th century it was granted city rights, but remained a rather small and insubstantial town. It was the property of Kuyavian bishops and clergy until the end of the 18th century, when Łódź was annexed by Prussia as a result of the second partition of Poland. Following the collapse of the independent Duchy of Warsaw, the city became part of Congress Poland, a client state of the Russian Empire. It was then that Łódź experienced rapid growth in the cloth industry and in population due to the inflow of migrants, most notably Germans and Jews. Ever since the industrialization of the area, the city has struggled with many difficulties such as multinationalism and social inequality, which were vividly documented in the novel The Promised Land written by Polish Nobel Prize-winning author Władysław Reymont. The contrasts greatly reflected on the architecture of the city, where luxurious mansions coexisted with redbrick factories and old tenement houses.After Poland regained its independence in 1918, Łódź grew to be one of the largest Polish cities and one of the most multicultural and industrial centers in Europe. The interbellum period saw rapid development in education and healthcare. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the German Army captured the city and renamed it Litzmannstadt in honour of the German general Karl Litzmann, who was victorious near the area during World War I. The city's large Jewish population was forced into a walled zone known as the Łódź Ghetto, from which they were sent to German concentration and extermination camps. Following the occupation of the city by the Soviet Army, Łódź, which sustained insignificant damage during the war, became part of the newly established Polish People's Republic.

After years of prosperity during the socialist era, Łódź experienced decline after the fall of communism throughout Central and Eastern Europe; however, it is currently experiencing revitalization of its downtown area. The city is also internationally known for its National Film School, a cradle for the most renowned Polish actors and directors, including Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski, and in 2017 was inducted into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and named UNESCO City of Film.

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