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HISTORY OF GHETTO IN LODZ

The persecution of the Jewish population in Lodz started as soon as the German army entered the city in 1939. The occupants gradually limited the Jews of freedom to moving around, deprived them of possibilities to earn their living. On the 8 II 1940 the announcement of the establishing of the Jewish quarter was publicized and till 30 IV 1940 all Jewish residents of Lodz were moved to this area. Then the Ghetto was closed and cut off of the remainder of the city with a barbed wire and numerous police posts.

Following the first stage of the deportation, about 160 000 Jews found themselves in Lodzer Ghetto. Between 17 X and 4 XII 1940 arrived Ghetto Lodz transports of Jews from Austria, Bohemia, Luxembourg and Germany (about 20 000 people) and between 7 XII and 28 VIII 1942 also from the liquidated ghettos in the Warta-Land (about 18 000 people).

In spite of closure and difficult conditions, the Jews in Ghetto organized their own administration, schooling system, post, health and social care. There was a House of Culture, where the theatre and music performances (among the famous "Hazomir" chorus) took place.

But difficult life conditions decimated the Ghetto population. Part of them were dying exhausted by hunger, to-hard work or diseases, part of them from the shots by police or from torments by so called Kriminalpolizei. From the 16 I 1942 the Jews were deported from Ghetto to the first extermination camp in Poland, Chelmno on the Ner. The first sent were those receiving subventions and prisoners, then the west European Jews and at the end those not working: children and old people. In the result of these deportations Ghetto was transferred into one big camp of slave work.

In the middle of June 1944, facing the front coming closer, the Germans started the so called final liquidation of the Lodzer Ghetto. The deportations started again - to Chelmno on Ner and to Auschwitz. On 29th of August 1944 the last transport of Lodzer Jews left the railway station Radegast to Auschwitz. Only a small group of Jews was left in the Ghetto in order to clean it.

Unlike to other ghettos in Poland, the Lodzer Ghetto wasn't destroyed. Many of Ghetto sites were devastated after the war and even in recent years.

During the 50's the cemetery in the Wesola Street disappeared and a street and apartment houses were built on these grounds. In the same time, as a result of a development of the Zagajnikowa Street, a part of the cemetery in the Bracka Street was destroyed. Not long ago, the accommodations of Ghetto's House of Culture were rebuilt and changed into shops. We see the continuing decline of the hospital in the Lagiewnicka Street. One after another Ghetto sites are disappearing…

Still, there is a lot to save. The Foundation Monumentum Iudaicum Lodzense tries to rescue and to popularize the memory of the Ghetto Lodz, among others through her involvement in the commemoration of the 60 Anniversary of the Liquidation of the Ghetto Lodz in 2004. In connection with these events, the railway station Radegast will be re-build as a memorial place and educational-scientific center.

 

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