The Lodz Ghetto
1939 Lodz (Litzmannstadt, Lodzh) had a Jewish Community
of over 200,000, which was about 1/3 of the city's total
population. Lodz was the second largest city in Poland and
the second largest Jewish center after Warsaw in all of
Europe. On February 8, 1940, an order appeared, over the
signature of Johann Schaefer, the Chief of Police in Lodz,
establishing the Ghetto following the orders of Friedrich
Uebelhauer, Governor of Kalisz District. The Ghetto was
within the poorest quarter of the town - Baluty. It was
covering area of 4 km2, as fixed on April 30, 1940. Surrounded
by a wooden fence with barbed wire it was crowded with 164,000
people in indescribable conditions. In later days , 1941-1942,
the population of the Ghetto was 204,800 persons. The Nazi
authority over the Ghetto was in the hands of Hans Biebov.
He established within it a number of workshops and small
factories, employing the inmates, who were "paid"
with a slice of bread and a bowl of "soup". Beginning
on May 25, 1940, these workplaces provided the German rulers
with about 350 million Deutsche Marks of estimated loot.
Order and security of boundaries in the Ghetto was the concern
of one colonel Walter Rudolf Keuck, at the head of special
SS units. There was also criminal police called: "KriPo".
This latter was mainly concerned with ferreting out Jewish
possessions and taking them away. It was notorious for its
cruelty and sadism.
internal organization of the Ghetto was the domain of the
Aeltestenrat, practically concentrated in Rumkowski's hands.
The chief task was providing work-force for the workshops
and factories, numbering 96. Most were textile enterprises,
with a work-force of over 70,000. Rumkowski and his people
saw in these some hope of survival for a number of inmates.
The German authorities forced Rumkowski to organize the
groups for deportation, and assemble them in lots set aside
for that purpose at the periphery of the Ghetto, and to
submit lists of deportees. Work-camps were the likely destination
of deportations during the period December 1940 - end of
June 1942. As of January 16, 1942, deportations went to
Chelmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof) killing place. Most of those
arriving in Chelmno were murdered on the same day. In the
period October 1942 - May 1944 the Ghetto became a big labor
camp. At the end of that period, the population of the Ghetto
was still about 77,000 persons.
n the Spring, 1944, the Germans decided to liquidate the
Ghetto. From June 23, 1944 till July 15, 1944 Germans re-activated
the death factory in Chelmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof) and murdered
there 7,176 persons. Due to the slowness of the killing
in Chelmno nad Nerem, on August 7 they started deporting
to Auschwitz -Birkenau. On August 30, 1944 the last transport
left Lodz. The Germans planned to kill all survivors and
concentrated them in a camp they maintained on Jakuba Street.
They also prepared pits in the Jewish cemetery. However
the Jews hid in the Ghetto - 800 persons - and were liberated
by the Red Army on January 19, 1945. The total number of
survivors of the Lodz Ghetto is estimated at 7,000 persons.