web analytics
September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


‘Give Me Your Children': Voices From The Lodz Ghetto

        The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened an exhibit last week remembering the children of the Lodz Ghetto.

 

         The story of the fate of the children of the Lodz Ghetto was one of the most tragic of the Shoah.

 

         At the start of World War II, the city of Lodz had been the second largest Jewish community in all of Poland. The ghetto, known by the German name Litzmannstadt ghetto, was one of the better organized. For a long time, life was kept as normal as possible under horrendous conditions. Records show that there were 160,320 Jews locked into the ghetto, including 39,561 children under the age of 14.

 

         At first 36 primary schools, two high schools, four religious schools and even a music school continued to operate, with close to a total of 15,000 students attending. In the district of Marsyin there was even a summer camp for the children.

 

         Chaim Mordechai Rumkoski, known as the  “King of the Ghetto,” ruled with an iron hand. He had the power to assign jobs that would save workers from the dreaded transports. (Jews transported from Lodz were sent at first to Chelmno and later to Auschwitz.)

 

         Rumkoski was particularly fond of the children. He organized orphanages and summer activities for them and was often honored, especially on his birthday.

 

         In the autumn of 1941, the schools had to be closed as more and more people were brought to the ghetto and space became scarce.

 

         In January 1942, the deportations to the Chelmno death camp began in earnest. Fifty-seven thousand people, including 11,000 Jews who had been brought to Lodz from Western Europe, were sent to their deaths. The remaining Jews of the ghetto continued their lives, not knowing the fate of their friends.

 


 

         The “Great Round-up” (Grobe-Sperr), as the action was called, lasted for nine days. On the first day of September 1942, word came that the Germans had surrounded the Jewish hospitals, and all the patients were being deported, with no exceptions.

 

         On September 3, word came that the Germans were now demanding that all the children under the age of 10, and the elderly over the age of 65 be handed over for deportation. It was now obvious that this was not to be a resettlement program as the Germans had claimed, but that the Jews were being sent to their deaths.

 

         Panic spread through the ghetto as parents tried in vain to register their children for work or bring forged death certificates to the registry offices to try to save as many as possible.

 

         On September 7, Rumonkoski made a passionate plea to the Jewish mothers and fathers of the ghetto. “It is absolutely necessary to sacrifice the children and the old ones. There is nothing we can do and all we ask is not to interfere with the German deportation action.”

 

         During the next few days, over 15,000 people, including 5,863 children, were deported to the death camps.

 

         Children disappeared from the ghetto. Any children who had escaped the round-up had to remain hidden during the rest of the war. They couldn’t go outside The Lodz Ghetto became one large work camp contributing to the German economy. Everybody had to work. If you didn’t work, you did not eat. There are many records, including pictures of young children, working at jobs such as shoemaking and metal work.

 

         These conditions lasted until May 1944, when the Germans started the final “liquidation” of the ghetto. In the end, there were only 800 people remaining in the ghetto, whom the Germans had left to clean up after the crimes. Even Rumonkoski, the King of the Ghetto, was sent to his death in Auschwitz, where he joined those whom he had sacrificed to save himself.

 

         The exhibition “Give Me Your Children: Voices from the Lodz Ghetto” presents their voices “preserved in letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories” as well as historic photographs, original documents, and objects from collections around the world. It offers a view into the struggle of a community and its young to live in spite of the most difficult circumstances.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘Give Me Your Children': Voices From The Lodz Ghetto”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of California, Los Angeles campus.
The Red Herring of the Definition Debate
Latest Sections Stories
Lunchbox Restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Bringing your own sandwich to a restaurant would appear as the height of chutzpah, but not any more—at least not at Lunchbox…

Recipe-082815-LChaim-cookbook

Last year, OneFamily published a cookbook in Hebrew featuring the bereaved mothers’ recipes.

Astaire-082815-Books

How did an unresolved murder case turn into an accusation of ritual murder?

Recipe-082815-Apple-cover

Excerpted from The Apple Cookbook (c) Olwen Woodier. Photography by (c) Leigh Beisch Photography with Food Stylist Robyn Valarik. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

The flag had been taken down in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting and was now back and flying.

A light breakfast of coffee and danishes will be available during the program.

A variety of glatt kosher food will be available for purchase at Kosher Korner (near Section 1).

Jewish Press South Florida Editor Shelley Benveniste will deliver a talk.

Corey Brier, corresponding secretary of the organization, introduced the rabbi.

The magnificent 400-seat sanctuary with beautiful stained glass windows, a stunning carved glass Aron Kodesh, a ballroom, social hall, and beis medrash will accommodate the growing synagogue.

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

More Articles from Shmuel Ben Eliezer
Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Lauder receiving a special album from Rabbi Maciej Pawlak, director of the Lauder-Morasha school in Warsaw.

In 1989 he hosted a dinner for 157 young Jews with the late Rabbi Chaskel Besser and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Poland was born.

Part of the reconstructed Gwozdziec Synagogue.

The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews is designed to tell the whole thousand-year story of the Jews in Poland.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/give-me-your-children-voices-from-the-lodz-ghetto/2006/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: