Jewish Ghetto Police

The Jewish Ghetto Police or Jewish Police Service (German: Jüdische Ghetto-Polizei or Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst), also called the Jewish Police by Jews, were auxiliary police units organized within the Jewish ghettos of German-occupied Poland by local Judenrat (Jewish councils) collaborating with Nazi Germany.[1]

Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Police Arm Band early 1940s
Armband worn by the Jewish Ghetto Police in the Warsaw Ghetto


Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Wisniewski-025-08, Polen, Ghetto Litzmannstadt, Bewohner
Jewish policemen in the Łódź Ghetto 1940
Jewish Police Węgrów
Jewish policemen in Węgrów, Poland

Members of the Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst at first did not have official uniforms, often wearing just an identifying armband, a hat, and a badge, and were not allowed to carry firearms, although they did carry batons. They were used by the Germans primarily for securing the deportation of other Jews to the concentration camps, but their work encompassed all forms of public order in the ghetto. The Jewish ghetto police distinguished themselves from the Polish Blue Police by their shocking corruption and immorality.[2]

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-134-0792-27, Polen, Ghetto Warschau, Ghettopolizei
Jewish Ghetto Police in the Warsaw Ghetto, May 1941

The Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst were recruited from two separate groups, who could be relied upon to follow German orders. The first were Jewish lawyers, disbarred by the German occupiers, largely recruited by deputy commander Jakub Lejkin, himself later executed by the Jewish Resistance. The second, larger and more criminally active group, were recruited from among pre-War Jewish organised crime groups.[1] The first commander of the Warsaw ghetto was Józef Szeryński, a Jewish lieutenant-colonel in the pre-War Polish Police. He changed his name from Szenkman and developed an anti-Semitic attitude.[3] Szerynski survived an assassination attempt carried out by a member of the Jewish police, Yisrael Kanal, who was working on behalf of the underground Jewish Combat Organization. In ghettos where the Judenrat was resistant to German orders, the Jewish police were often used (as reportedly in Lutsk) to control or replace the council.[1]

The criminal elements in the Ordnungsdienst soon came to dominate several areas of life in the ghetto, notably the transportation of people and goods. Additionally, there was a secret department, Section 13, known as the "Jewish Gestapo". It specialised in tracking down Jewish people outside the Ghetto walls, as well as their Polish helpers, and often profited by extorting them.

One of the largest Jewish police units was to be found in the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst numbered about 2,500. The Łódź Ghetto had about 1,200, and the Lwów Ghetto 500.[4]

Anatol Chari, a policeman in the Łodz Ghetto, in his memoirs describes his work protecting food depots, controlling bakery employees, as well as patrols aimed at the confiscation of food from the Ghetto residents. He recounts the involvement of Jewish Policemen in swindling food rations and in forcing women to provide sexual services in exchange for bread.[5]

The Polish-Jewish historian and Warsaw Ghetto archivist Emanuel Ringelblum has described the cruelty of the ghetto Jewish police as "at times greater than that of the Germans, the Ukrainians and the Latvians."[6] The Jewish ghetto police ultimately shared the same fate with all their fellow ghetto inmates. On the ghettos' liquidation (1942-1943) they were either killed on–site or sent to extermination camps. However, some of the more active collaborators, especially those associated with the Żagiew network, are known to have survived the war.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Judischer Ordnungsdienst". Museum of Tolerance. Simon Wiesenthal Center. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  2. ^ Ringelblum, Emmanuel (2015-11-06). Notes From The Warsaw Ghetto: The Journal Of Emmanuel Ringelblum. Pickle Partners Publishing. ISBN 9781786257161.
  3. ^ "Warsaw Ghetto".
  4. ^ Raul Hilberg: The Destruction of the European Jews, Quadrangle Books, Chicago 1961, p. 310.
  5. ^ Chari, Anatol. Podczłowiek. Wspomnienia członka Sonderkommanda. Świat Książki. ISBN 978-83-7799-523-5.
  6. ^ Collins, Jeanna R. "Am I a Murderer?: Testament of a Jewish Ghetto Policeman (review)". Mandel Fellowship Book Reviews. Kellogg Community College. Retrieved 2008-01-13.

Further reading

  • Anonymous (2014). The Clandestine History of the Kovno Jewish Ghetto Police. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-01283-8.
  • A Jewish Policeman in Lwow An Early Account, 1941-1943 Ben Z. Redner Translator: Jerzy Michalowicz (2015) ISBN 978-965-308-504-6

External links

Adam Czerniaków

Adam Czerniaków (30 November 1880 – 23 July 1942) was a Polish engineer and senator who was head of the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Council (Judenrat) during World War II. He committed suicide on 23 July 1942 by swallowing a cyanide pill, a day after the commencement of mass extermination of Jews known as the Grossaktion Warsaw.

Blue Police

The Blue Police (Polish: Granatowa policja, lit. Navy-blue police) was the police during the Second World War in German-occupied Poland (the General Government). The entity's official German name was Polnische Polizei im Generalgouvernement (Polish Police of the General Government; Polish: Policja Polska Generalnego Gubernatorstwa).

The Blue Police officially came into being on 30 October 1939 when Germany drafted Poland's prewar state police officers (Policja Państwowa), organizing local units with German leadership. It was an auxiliary institution tasked with protecting public safety and order in the General Government. The Blue Police, initially employed purely to deal with ordinary criminality, was later also used to counter smuggling, which was an essential element of German-occupied Poland's underground economy.The organization was officially dissolved and declared disbanded by the Polish Committee of National Liberation on August 27, 1944. After a review process, a number of its former members joined the new national policing structure, the Milicja Obywatelska (Citizens' Militia). Others were persecuted after 1949 under Stalinism.

Bruno Kittel

Bruno Kittel (born 1922 in Austria) was a Nazi official who oversaw the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto in September 1943 and became known for his cynical cruelty. He disappeared after the war.

Calel Perechodnik

Calel (Calek) Perechodnik (Polish: ['Tsaˈlɛl Pɛˈrɛxɔdnik]; 8 September 1916 – October 1944) was a Jewish diarist who joined the Jewish Ghetto Police in the Otwock Ghetto during the Nazi German occupation of Poland. His wartime diaries were published posthumously as Am I a Murderer? (Polish: Czy ja jestem mordercą?) in 1995 by the Karta Centre of Warsaw.

Dalej jest noc

Dalej jest noc: losy Żydów w wybranych powiatach okupowanej Polski (Night Continues: the Fates of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland), co-edited by Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking, and co-authored with 7 other Center members, is a two-volume study published in 2018 by the Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw, Poland. The 1,600-page study covers 8 and a half of 63 Polish counties in the General Government established by Germany in World War II. The study identifies small Polish towns as having been particularly dangerous "death traps" for Jews in hiding.The book has been widely criticized for a variety of reasons that call its conclusions into question. According to the book, of the ten percent of Jews in the General Government who sought shelter among the non-Jewish Polish population, two-thirds died, usually with Polish complicity.An abridged English-language version of the study is forthcoming.


Holzbau AktienGesellschaft Breslau (HOBAG) was a German firm located in Breslau, Germany, notorious for using forced labour. In April 1941 200 Jewish men from the Gorlice ghetto were conscripted as forced labor. In January 1943 70 were still alive and they were transferred to another labor camp in Muszyna.

Hotel Polski

Hotel Polski (lit. Polish Hotel), opened in 1808, was a hotel in Śródmieście, Warsaw, Poland, at 29 Długa street.

In 1943, in the mop up operation following the liquidation of Warsaw Ghetto, the hotel was used by Germans as bait for Jews hiding in Warsaw. There the German agents and their Jewish collaborators pretended Jews could buy foreign passports and other documents, and then as foreign citizens, leave territories occupied by Nazi Germany. Approximately 2,500 Jews fell for this trap, with most subsequently arrested, moved to Nazi concentration camps, and perishing in The Holocaust. This case is known as "Hotel Polski Affair".

In 1944 during the Warsaw Uprising the building housed a Polish insurgent stronghold called the "Holy Mother Redout", named after a painting located there. The building was heavily damaged during the fighting and re-purposed following the war.

In 1965 the building was declared an object of cultural heritage and inscribed in the Polish heritage object registry. A commemoration plaque was unveiled at the building in 2013.

Izrael Kanal

Izrael Kanał, also known as Mietek and Jehuda, was a Jewish resistance soldier in the Warsaw Ghetto and a participant of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.


A Judenrat (German: [ˈjuːdn̩ˌʁaːt], "Jewish council") was a World War II Jewish-German-collaborative administrative agency imposed by Germany, principally within the ghettos of occupied Europe, including those of German-occupied Poland. The German administration required Jews to form a Judenrat in every community across the occupied territories.The Judenrat constituted a form of self-enforcing intermediary that served the German administration for controlling larger Jewish communities in occupied areas. In some ghettos, as in the Łódź Ghetto, and in the Theresienstadt and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, the Germans applied to such councils the name "Jewish Council of Elders" (Jüdischen Ältestenrat or Ältestenrat der Juden).While the origin of the term Judenrat is unclear, Jewish communities themselves had established self-government councils as early as the Middle Ages. The Jewish community used the Hebrew term Kahal (קהל) or Kehillah (קהילה), whereas the German authorities generally used the term Judenräte.

Józef Szeryński

Józef Andrzej Szeryński (born Josef Szynkman, 8 November 1893 or 1892 – 24 January 1943) was a Jewish police-colonel in interwar Poland, inspector for the Lublin district and later – during the Second World War – a commander of the Jewish Ghetto Police in Warsaw with recommendation from Adam Czerniaków. Szeryński was arrested by the Gestapo on May 1, 1942 for smuggling furs out of the Warsaw Ghetto for personal gain. He was released on the condition of leading the deportation action to Treblinka extermination camp in July 1942. The very next month Jewish underground attempted to assassinate him, unsuccessfully. He remained at the helm of the Ghetto Police until the end of the Grossaktion Warschau which claimed the lives of over 254,000 Ghetto inmates, men, women and children. He committed suicide right after the next wave of deportations in January 1943.

Kovno Ghetto

The Kovno ghetto was a ghetto established by Nazi Germany to hold the Lithuanian Jews of Kaunas during the Holocaust. At its peak, the Ghetto held 29,000 people, most of whom were later sent to concentration and extermination camps, or were shot at the Ninth Fort. About 500 Jews escaped from work details and directly from the Ghetto, and joined Soviet partisan forces in the distant forests of southeast Lithuania and Belarus.

Kraków Ghetto Jewish Police

The Kraków Ghetto Jewish Police were a law enforcement service in the Kraków Ghetto. The Kraków Ghetto Jewish Police were a local force of the Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst, often abbreviated as OD. The OD were overseen by the Judenrat of each ghetto. The Kraków OD, unlike many other Jewish Police forces, served as willing enforcers of Nazi policies and the Gestapo. Among other duties, they oversaw the liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto and helped transport Jews to Bełżec extermination camp.

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark and its 1993 film adaptation, Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit, who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, courage, and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees.

Schindler grew up in Svitavy, Moravia, and worked in several trades until he joined the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of Nazi Germany, in 1936. He joined the Nazi Party in 1939. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czechoslovak government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938. Schindler continued to collect information for the Nazis, working in Poland in 1939 before the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II. In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed at the factory's peak in 1944 about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews. His Abwehr connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.

By July 1944, Germany was losing the war; the SS began closing down the easternmost concentration camps and deporting the remaining prisoners westward. Many were killed in Auschwitz and the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. Schindler convinced SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, commandant of the nearby Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, to allow him to move his factory to Brněnec in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, thus sparing his workers from almost certain death in the gas chambers. Using names provided by Jewish Ghetto Police officer Marcel Goldberg, Göth's secretary Mietek Pemper compiled and typed the list of 1,200 Jews who travelled to Brünnlitz in October 1944. Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.

Schindler moved to West Germany after the war, where he was supported by assistance payments from Jewish relief organisations. After receiving a partial reimbursement for his wartime expenses, he moved with his wife Emilie to Argentina, where they took up farming. When he went bankrupt in 1958, Schindler left his wife and returned to Germany, where he failed at several business ventures and relied on financial support from Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews")—the people whose lives he had saved during the war. He and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1993. He died on 9 October 1974 in Hildesheim, Germany, and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only member of the Nazi Party to be honoured in this way.

Radom Ghetto

Radom Ghetto was a World War II ghetto set up in March 1941 by Nazi Germany in the city of Radom during occupation of Poland, for the purpose of persecution and exploitation of Polish Jews. It was closed off from the outside officially in April 1941. A year and a half later, the liquidation of the ghetto began in August 1942, and ended in July 1944, with approximately 30,000–32,000 victims (men, women and children) deported aboard Holocaust trains to their deaths at the Treblinka extermination camp.

Staging Point (Rozenfeld)

Staging Point (Polish: Punkt etapowy) is one of five drawings depicting the life of children in the Warsaw ghetto in the collection of the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw. The author of the drawings is an unknown draftsman, but they are signed "Rozenfeld". The drawing was made, most probably, between autumn and winter of 1941 and commissioned as part of the Ringelblum Archive - which has been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 1999.The drawing is set at 5/7 Stawki Street, which was used to hold Jewish children arrested by the "Blue police" outside the ghetto district. The "staging point" was the place where arrested children would wait for their parents, who were obliged to pay a fine. Orphans would instead be sent to an orphanage.The drawing depicts a group of seven children arrested by the Jewish Ghetto Police for the crime of smuggling food.

The Holocaust in Luxembourg

The Holocaust in Luxembourg refers to the persecution and near-annihilation of the 3,500-strong Jewish population of Luxembourg begun shortly after the start of the German occupation during World War II, when the country was officially incorporated into Nazi Germany. The persecution lasted until October 1941, when the Germans declared the territory to be free of Jews who had been deported to extermination camps and ghettos in Eastern Europe.

The Holocaust in the USSR

The Holocaust in the Soviet Union (USSR) refers to the German persecution of Jews, Roma and homosexuals as part of The Holocaust in World War II.

It may refer to:

The Holocaust in Russia

The Holocaust in Belarus

The Holocaust in UkraineIt may also refer to The Holocaust in the Baltic states, annexed by the Soviet Union before the war:

The Holocaust in Latvia

The Holocaust in Lithuania

The Holocaust in Estonia

Warsaw Ghetto

The Warsaw Ghetto (German: Warschauer Ghetto, officially Jüdischer Wohnbezirk in Warschau, "Jewish Residential District in Warsaw"; Polish: getto warszawskie) was the largest of all the Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established by the German authorities in November 1940; within the new General Government territory of German-occupied Poland. There were over 400,000 Jews imprisoned there, at an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi), with an average of 9.2 persons per room, barely subsisting on meager food rations. From the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps and mass-killing centers. In the summer of 1942 at least 254,000 Ghetto residents were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp during Großaktion Warschau under the guise of "resettlement in the East" over the course of the summer. The ghetto was demolished by the Germans in May 1943 after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprisings which had temporarily halted the deportations. The total death toll among the Jewish inhabitants of the Ghetto is estimated to be at least 300,000 killed by bullet or gas, combined with 92,000 victims of rampant hunger and hunger-related diseases, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the casualties of the final destruction of the Ghetto.

Yizkor books

Yizkor books are memorial books commemorating a Jewish community destroyed during the Holocaust. The books are published by former residents or landsmanshaft societies as remembrances of homes, people and ways of life lost during World War II. Yizkor books usually focus on a town but may include sections on neighboring smaller communities. Most of these books are written in Yiddish or Hebrew, some also include sections in English or other languages, depending on where they were published. Since the 1990s, many of these books, or sections of them have been translated into English.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.