his guidelines Heydrich spoke of two phases to the solution of the
“Jewish problem”: the concentration of Jews in
isolation sites, and their total extermination, hidden behind the
term “final solution“ (Endziel).
of the foundation of a Ghetto in Łódź ran around the city
probably from the end of September or the beginning of October
1939. This is attested to by the account of an unknown person in
the documents of Chief
of the Jewish Elders in Litzmannstadt Ghetto:
remember that as early as October 1939 the director of the Adam
Osser mill, Mr Otto
Hiller, whose son was a Gestapo officer, showed me a detailed plan
of the projected Ghetto. He told me then, that the entire Jewish
population of Łódź, i.e. 260,000 people, would be placed into
this patch of Łódź... and that the Ghetto would have its own
internal currency, post office, security services, and that
Jews would work in the Ghetto for the German authorities
... his words sounded strangely unpleasant and seemed like a
fantasy even when heard from the mouth of a whole range of other
position of the authorities was set down in a secret circular from
the chief of the Kalisz department on 10 XII 1939 in which
Friedrich Übelhör wrote that the complete evacuation of all Jews
from Łódź was not at that time possible, and in connection with
this a ghetto would be opened in the northern districts of the
city. This undertaking was not realized occur till the beginning
of February 1940, when the idea of deporting all Jews from the
land incorporated into the Reich to the General Gubernat was
decree issued by the police president Johann Schäfer announcing
the opening of a separated district for Jews in Łódź appeared
on 8 February 1940 in the newspaper “Lodscher Zeitung”.
It indicated the approximate borders of the Ghetto and contained a
detailed plan for the resettlement of the area’s inhabitants.
Ghetto was situated in the most rundown, northern part of Łódź
- Bałuty and the Old Town, in a total area of 4.13 km2.
the time the district was opened, its borders ran along the
following streets: Goplańska - Żurawa - Wspólna - Stefana -
Okopowa -Czarnieckiego - Sukiennicza - Marysińska - Inflancka
– along the walls of the Jewish cemetery, and further along
Bracka - Przemysłowa - Środkowa - Głowackiego - Brzezińska -
Oblęgorska - Chłodna - Smugowa - Nad Łódka - Stodolniana -
Podrzeczna - Drewnowska - Majowa - Wrześnieńska - Piwna - Urzędnicza
- to Zgierska and Goplańska. A year later, in May 1941, by a
decision of the German authorities the area of land contained
within the triangle of Drewnowska, Majowa and Jeneralska streets
was detached from the Ghetto. As a result of this, the Jewish
district’s western border was moved eastwards, and its total
area reduced to 3.82 km2.
main arterial roads, running along
Nowomiejska - Zgierska and B. Limanowskiego streets, were
excluded from the Ghetto. In this way the Ghetto was cut into
three parts. At first movement between these parts was possible
through gates built specially for this purpose and opened at
specified times. However, these crossings did not fulfil their
role, as they interrupted traffic flows. In their place, in summer
1940, wooden footbridges were built over Zgierska Street, near
Podrzeczna and Lutomierska Streets, and Limanowskiego Street, near
final sealing of the Ghetto and its total isolation from the rest
of the city took place on 30 April 1940. Barriers and barbed-wire
fences were erected around the Ghetto and along its two main,
separated through roads (Nowomiejska - Zgierska and B.
telephone was available only to the administrative authorities,
and even then only on business. On 13 July 1940 conditions for
postal communication between the Ghetto and the outside world were
defined. Only post cards could be sent, they had to be written
legibly in German, and only personal news was permitted.
contacts between the Jewish and “Aryan” inhabitants of
Łódź were hampered by the fact that the town had a 70,000
strong German minority, loyal to the new authorities. Houses next
to the Ghetto were demolished. Bałuty and the Old Town had no
sewers, so it was not possible to escape from the Ghetto
underground. All these factors combined to mean that that Łódź
Ghetto was more tightly sealed and better guarded than any other
ghetto set up by the III Reich. This had a tragic effect on the
lives of the Ghetto’s inhabitants, as it made the smuggling
of food and medicine virtually impossible.
total, according to official statistics from the 12 VI 1940,
160,320 Jews were held in the Łódź Ghetto, of whom 153,849 were
inhabitants of Łódź and 6471 came from the Warta Land, and had
found themselves here as a result of wartime movements. Half a
year later, that is, in the period from 17 October to 4 November
1941, 19,954 Jews from Austria, the Czech lands, Luxemburg and
Germany were deported to Łódź on the order of Heinrich Himmler
of 18 September 1941.
7 December 1941 to 28 August 1942 a further 17,826 Jews from
liquidated provincial ghettos
in the Warta Land, including those from the ghettos in Włocławek,
Brzeziny, Głowno, Ozorków, Stryków, Łask, Pabianice, Sieradz,
Zduńska Wola and Wielun, were settled in the Łódź ghetto. In
all, over 200,000 Jews from the Warta Land and Western Europe
passed through the Łódź Ghetto.
isolated camps were opened within the Ghetto’s borders
– one for Gypsies (Zigeunerlager) and one for Polish
children and youth (Polenjugendverwahrlager).
Gypsies from the Austro-Hungarian border region – Burgenland
– were transported to Łódź between 5 and 9 November 1941.
A camp for them was established in the square of
Brzezińska, Towiańskiego, Starosikawska and Głowackiego
Streets. The sanitary conditions here were horrendous. Over 600
Gypsies died as a result of typhus and other diseases. This camp
was in existence until 12 I 1942, i.e. until the murder of its
inhabitants in the extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem.
camp for Polish children and youth on Przemysłowa Street came
into life on 1 December 1942. Its inmates were children from 8 to
16 years old, whose parents were in camps or prisons, minors from
orphanages and foster homes, and homeless children. Children
accused of collaborating with the resistance movement, illegal
trade, refusing to work, petty theft,
formed a large group of those imprisoned here. The number
of inmates in this camp at the end of 1943/beginning of 1944 was
1086 boys and approximately 250 girls. The conditions in the camp
were tough, destroying their young bodies. They were fed
starvation rations, like those in concentration camps. All
children over 8 were subject to forced labour (10 - 12 hours).
Many of them died of hunger, diseases and beatings from the German
functionaries. The camp was in operation until the liberation of