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Commemorating Liquidation Of The Lodz (Litzmannstadt) Ghetto

     In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

 

     The Lodz Ghetto was one of the largest on Polish territory (second to the Warsaw Ghetto). Established in February 1939 and liquidated in August 1944, it lasted longer than the other ghettos. Approximately 200,000 men, women and children were imprisoned in the Lodz ghetto throughout its existence.

 

     The organization of the Lodz Ghetto became a role model for the Warsaw Ghetto and other ghettos. In 1941 the Germans began deporting Jews from Prague, Vienna, Luxembourg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Emden, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne into the Lodz Ghetto. Within one month 19,954 Jews from Western Europe were deported and in few next months the Germans transported another 18,000 Jews from liquidated provincial ghettos.

 

    According to the German policy only Jews capable of work could stay in the ghetto. Those who were not able to work were sent to the death camp in Chelmno where the Germans killed 80 000 Jews.

 

    On August 9, 1944 the first transport from Lodz to Auschwitz took place. Deportees were informed that they were going deep into the Third Reich. In reality they were sent straight into the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Until August 9, 1944 the Germans had deported 67,000 Lodz Ghetto inhabitants. It is estimated that when the Nazis liquidated the ghetto, there were only 12-15,000 inhabitants. After the liquidation, only 800 Jews were left for cleaning. Most of those survived. 

 

      This coming week the city of Lodz is holding a weeklong conference in memory of the victims of the Ghetto.

 

       The conference will include many well-known speakers, feature films, new exhibits, and concerts as well as the unveiling of new monuments at the Survivors Park, dedicated to survivors and those that helped them survive.

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More Articles from Shmuel Ben Eliezer
Arnold Fine 2008

I REMEMBER WHEN I first started working at the Jewish Press 18 years ago, Arnie who was in charge of the newsroom, took me under his wing…

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/commemorating-liquidation-of-the-lodz-litzmannstadt-ghetto/2009/08/19/

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