The beginning of a Jewish settlement in Łódź dates back to the 18th century – the period of decline of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The town did not have the de non tolerandis Judaeis privilege. The first Jewish settlers were Daniel Layzerowicz – a baker, and Abram Lewkowicz – a tailor. Both lived in Łódź already in 1785. Mosiek a.k.a. Mojżesz Pryntz from Lutomiersk settled there in 1791. The first Łódź Jews who were wealthy and educated in the Scripture were: Pinkus Zajdler who arrived in 1795 from Przedbórz, Pinkus Sonenberg who arrived in 1797 from Łęczyca, and Lewek Heber who arrived to Łódź in 1801 from Lutomiersk. All of them played an important role as the subsequent parnases of the kehilla..
The Jewish settlement in the town prior to the second partition of Poland did not play a particularly significant role. Among the total population of 190 people, only 11 were Jewish. This undoubtedly resulted from the town’s character, rendered by historians as “agricultural Łódź,” being a particularly unattractive town for settlers. It was quite significant for the Jewish settlement that Łódź, until the second partition of Poland, was owned by bishops. In 1796-1798, Łódź became a government town.
That period saw lively economic development of the town. In 1793-1808, the number of inhabitants almost doubled. The number of Jews increased over five times, from 11 to 58. In 1807, the Łódź kehilla did not have its own rabbi, but the role of a mohel was already performed by Lewek Heber, his deputy being Pinkus Sonenberg. They were, however, banned from performing their function after a complaint had been brought to the sub-prefect of the Zgierz County. Dawid Herszkowicz, who was also a cantor, was elected as successor to Heber. The first known elders of the Łódź kehilla were: Pinkus Zajdler and Mojżesz Fajtlowicz. The first recorded kehilla elections took place on 12 November 1810.
The candidates were: Pinkus Sonenberg, Mendel Moszkowicz, Lewek Heber, and Mojżesz Fajtlowicz. Elected to the positions of kehilla elders were Pinkus Sonenberg, with 12 votes, and Mendel Moszkowicz, with 10 votes. It was they who participated in creation of the first Jewish cemetery in Łódź. Until the 1810 elections, the dead were buried at the neighbouring cemeteries in Lutomiersk and Stryków. In 1811, the kehilla elders made an agreement with Adam Lipiński and his wife for purchase of land for the Jewish cemetery[1.1]. At the same time a Chevra Kadisha was established. Its first heads were Szmul Litman vel Lipman, Hersz Sonenberg, and Mojzesz Fajtlowicz. After one year, it changed its name to Burial and Nursing Society – Chevra Kadisha u’Bikur Cholim. The first rabbi of Łódź, mentioned in the founding protocol of the burial society, was Jehuda Arje, a son of the Gaon from Widawa. Then, official documents mention the rabbi by the name of Lewek Salomonowicz. He lived in Stary Rynek (the Old Market Square). He held his office until 1818. He was succeeded in the position of rabbi by Pinkus Hiller from Rosprza.
The Łódź kehilla had its own synagogue from 1809. Thanks to the establishment of religious institutions such as the synagogue, cemetery, community board, and rabbi and mohel positions, the kehilla became autonomous. The majority of the Jewish population were craftsmen and labourers – 62% of the total population, and merchants – 35% of the total Jewish population. 73% of Łódź Jews did not own their dwellings, and 27% of them were homeowners. Łódź Jews in 1821 resided in Stary Rynek and in Wolborska, Drewnowska and Piotrkowska (today Nowomiejska) Streets. Almost half of the Łódź Jews came to the city from the neighbouring villages: Chojny, Stoki, and Bełdów. About 25% came from the neighbouring towns: Lutomiersk, Stryków, Łask and Piotrków Trybunalski. Jews also came to Łódź from Sochaczew, Kutno, and Uniejów.
The authorities of the Kingdom of Poland, by the royal decree of 20 December 1921, discontinued the kehilla system. Kehillas were replaced with Synagogue Supervisions. In 1822, the Government Commission for Religious Denominations and Public Education dissolved all organizations that dealt with funerals or cared for the ill and the poor. On the basis of these regulations, the Łódź Kehilla ceased to exist, and the operation of Chevra Kadisha u’Bikur Cholim was officially banned. Despite the ban, the Łódź Chevra Kadisza was active until the early 1890s. It was supported by the most distinguished members of the kehilla, such as Izrael Poznański or Markus Silberstein.
The position of Łódź rabbis was subsequently held, from 1824, by Mendel Wolf Jerozolimski vel Izraelski, who left Łódź in 1828. He was succeeded in the position by Hillel Hakohen, the Lutomiersk rabbi’s son. In 1832, the rabbi became Chaskiel Naumberg (Nomberg), who held the position for 24 years. In 1857, he was succeeded by the deputy rabbi, Lemel Marokko, and subsequently by Mojżesz Lipszyc, who belonged to a well-known family of Warsaw rabbis. His grandfather was an eminent Warsaw rabbi, the author of Chemdat Shlomo. Mojżesz Lipszyc was a Hassid from Kock. This fact, most likely, contributed to him being elected to the position of Łódź rabbi, as the followers of the Kock Tzaddik constituted the majority of Łódź Jewish community. Lipszyc remained a rabbi for another 15 years, until 1872. During that period, the Jewish population increased significantly: from 3,000 to 10,000. Consequently, the rabbi’s duties grew, and he enlisted three deputy rabbis to assist him: Lemel Marokko, Judel Naumberg and Mojżesz Seidl. After Lipszyc’s death in 1872, the Synagogue Supervision was headed by: Jakub Bejnik, Joachim Silberstein and Dawid Dembiński. Another Łódź rabbi, elected in 1873, was Eliasz Chaim Majzel – a Lithuanian Jew from the Vilnius Province. He strongly opposed all superstitions and intolerance. He held his office for 39 years, until his death in 1912. He enjoyed great respect in his community. His time in rabbi’s office was one of the most important for Łódź Jews. In 1873-1912, the number of Jews increased almost fourteen times, from 12 thousand to over 167 thousand. It was connected with a rapid growth of the Łódź industry, in which the Jewish community immigrating to Łódź from the territory of the Kingdom of Poland and then from Russia played a major role.
Such a large Jewish population urgently needed the assistance of the rabbi and the three aforementioned deputy rabbis, as well as of the members of the Synagogue Supervision authorities, comprising chronologically of: Abram Prussak, Joachim Silberstein, Jakub Dobranicki, Szymon Heyman, Moszek Weis, Izrael Poznański and Szaja Rosenblatt. All of them belonged to the financial élite of the city. After Elias Chaim Majzel’s death in 1912, the rabbi position was taken by Lejzor Lejb Trajstman (Treistman). A significant role was also played by Izrael S. Jelski – one of the leaders of the Zionist movement. Before the outbreak of World War I, some other deputy rabbis were active in Łódź: Natan Lipszyc, I. Frydel, M. Król, M. Goldman, I. Feiner, Sz. Frydershon, Sz. Justman, M. Domb, L. Totenberg and P. Weinsaft. At the Reform synagogue in Spacerowa Street, the Synagogue Committee operated in 1887-1914. It comprised of: I. Poznański, Markus Silberstein, Szaja Rosenblatt, Jakub Hertz, Jakub Brahms, Stanisław Jarociński, J. Bielszowski, L. Cukier, Natan Kopel, R. Lipszyc, A. S. Landau, I. Monitz, Karol Poznański, and Dawid Rosenblatt.
The Jewish population in Łódź was significantly divided between the followers of Hassidism and the so-called progressives, grouped in the German Ritual Association. According to W. Puś, there was one more group of Jews in Łódź, following traditional Judaism.
Until 1914, the Łódź economy developed at a rapid pace. Between 1822 and 1914, the number of people employed in manufacturing of textiles increased from 2 thousand to 94 thousand workers and the number of textile factories rose from 2 to 570. The number of shops and companies increased from 26 to 4050. In the early 20th century, Łódź became one of the largest industrial centres on Polish land. According to W. Puś, this dynamic development resulted from several factors – political, economic and social ones: protective and prohibitive policy of the Kingdom of Poland government in 1821-1830, immigration of craftsmen and weavers from abroad, Russian customs policy, absorptive Russian market, and the import of technology from Western Europe. All these factors combined with entrepreneurship of the multinational society of the city contributed to Łódź being called "Polish Manchester". The factories of Izrael Poznański, Markus Silberstein, Szaja Rozenblatt, Salo Budzyner, Oskar Kon, and Borys and Naum Ejtingon were among the largest ones. The development of home-based production, accumulation of merchants’ capitals, availability of cheap credits and transactions in bills of exchange gave ground for the city’s economic prosperity.
An important role was played by Lithuanian Jews, who arrived to the Kingdom of Poland (mostly to Warsaw and Łódź), with the knowledge of the Russian and Eastern markets. As a result, they monopolized almost the whole trade. Thanks to them, the sales markets extended to the Caucasus, Persia and China. At the end of the 19th century, such trade was organized by Meir Bejlin, Mordechaj Helman, and the Ruper brothers. The Lithuanian Jews had their own synagogues in Łódź and a separate cultural life. The Łódź’s multinational conglomerate was also enriched, already in the free Poland, by Jews from Galicia, who played an important role in the cultural life of the city.
An important role was also played by companies specializing in material supply. In 1913, over half of the total number of 20 such companies belonged to the Łódź Jews: the firm of Eljasz Feinenbaum – Wólczańska Street; the firm of Finkelstein and Heiman – Przejazd Street; the firm of Goldberg and Litauer – Zachodnia Street; the firm of A. Hamburger – Pańska Street; the firm of M. Kalecki – Widzewska Street; the firm of S. Kutnitzki and Co. – Cegielniana Street; the firm of Leopold Landau – Piotrkowska Street; the firm of L. Mendelshon and Co. – Zachodnia Street; the firm of A. Oppenheim – Widzewska Street and the firm of Leon Rappaport and Co. – Południowa Street[1.2]. An important role was played by commission houses of trade companies. They also belonged mostly to Jews. Moreover, the Jews owned most of the textile shops and warehouses – about 60%. Also 50% of stationery and technical shops belonged to the Jews. W. Puś mentions only a few of the most important shops and stores belonging to the Jews in 1913. These are:
- Cukierman – wholesale store of sugar and colonial goods (Zawidzka Street),
- Artur Arnstein – metal store (Widzewska Street),
- Daniel Berkowicz – wool products store (Nowomiejska Street),
- Blum and Monitz – chemical products shop (Piotrkowska Street),
- Bornstein and Grossbard – commission house – wholesale goods of Central Asia and Caucasus cotton (Południowa Street),
- Samuel Czamański – silk products store (Przejazd Street),
- Dobranicki – cotton products store (Cegielniana Street),
- Artur Goldstadt – chemical store (Zachodnia Street),
- Natan Kopla – sale of cheviot yarn (Dzielna Street),
- Emil Pfeiffer and Co. – commission house (Andrzeja Street),
- Rappaport Brothers– carpets and curtains store (Piotrkowska Street),
- Emanuel Sieradzki – furs and hats store (Piotrkowska Streets),
- Henoch Warszawski – metal products store (Spacerowa Street),
- Weiss and Poznański – wool products store (Piotrkowska Street)[1.3].
The economic development of Łódź was accompanied by heyday of its social life. At the turn of the 20th century, four large synagogues and hundreds of prayer houses were already active. Active here were also numerous political groups, such as: Agudat Israel, the General Zionists, the Revisionists, Poale Zion, the Folkists, the Bundists, and the communists. Most of those parties had their own youth organizations, cultural institutions, libraries, sports clubs, charity associations, and even schools. Active in Łódź was also an orthodox party which did not exist anywhere else, i.e. Non-Party Religious Jews, affiliated with the Hassidic group of Tzaddik Dancygier from Aleksandrowo, near Łódź. Jews also had their representatives in the Łódź City Council. Their number in the interwar period varied between 20 to 25%[1.4]. In 1919, the election to the Council was won by the socialists, in 1923 by the Christian-national group, and in 1927 the victory belonged to the socialists again. 1934 saw the new supremacy of the Christian-national party. In 1936 and 1938, the socialists were successful in the elections, mainly thanks to the Bund.
Łódź was also a birthplace of lively artistic, literary, and scientific circles. Many famous musicians, including Artur Rubinstein and Aleksander Tansman, originated from Łódź. Members of the Yung Yidish group created by Mojsze Broderson, were also active. The poet Julian Tuwim came from Łódź. Icchak Kacenelson, author of “The Song of the Murdered Jewish People”, produced his works there. In 1905, upon the initiative of Icchak Zandberg, a Jewish theatre was established. Its repertoire was quite diverse. The theatre staged not only Jewish operettas and melodramas, but also Alexander Dumas’ The Lady of the Camellias and Leo Tolstoy’s The Living Corpse. The most eminent actors of that time appeared on the stage of the theatre: Ester Rachel Kamińska, Borys Tomaszewski, and Fanny Blumentall. In 1912, another Jewish theatre was opened at 18 Cegielniana Street (today 15 Więckowskiego Street), named “Scala”. The theatre was headed by Juliusz Adler and Herman Sierocki.
Jewish painters and sculptors active in Łódź at the turn of the 20th century deserve particular attention. The following painters worked in Łódź: Dawid Modenstein, Maurycy Trębacz (a student of Jan Matejko and Samuel Hirszenberg, deemed the most notable Jewish painter on the Polish land at the turn of the 19th and 20th century), Jakub Kacenbogen (he opened a school in which he taught, among others: Artur Szyk, Henryk Barciński and Icchak Brauner). In the 19th century, the first cinemas were created in Łódź, among the owners of which were also Jewish entrepreneurs. In 1907, Mani Hendlisz established a cinema named “Theatre Optique Parisien” at 15 Piotrkowska Street. In 1908, Albert Hoffman and Dawid Bernstein established a cinema named “Arkadia” at 22 Piotrkowska Street. In 1908, more cinemas were opened: “Odeon” Association cinema at 2 Przejazd Street, “The Bio-Express” cinema established at 2 Zielona Street by Julian Tuwim’s uncle and “Oaza” cinema at 1 Główna Street (today J. Piłsudskiego Street), managed by Hersz Schönwitz).
Łódź also had its Jewish newspapers, such as: “Lodzer Togblat” and Nayer Folksblat”, published in Yiddish, as well as “Kronika Gminy Wyznaniowej Żydowskiej” (Chronicle of the Jewish Religious Community), published in Polish. Maurycy Ignacy Poznański and Marian Nussbaum-Ołtaszewski published liberal Republika, and Jan Urbach published “Głos Poranny”, read by leftist Jews.
In 1939, Łódź had 233 thousand Jewish inhabitants, i.e. 34.7% of its total population. The majority of them were small merchants, shopkeepers, tradesmen, artisans, and transport employees. Over half of the large and medium-sized industrial companies were owned by Jews.
The German troops entered Łódź on 8 September 1939. From this day, the repressions against the Jewish population began. The city came under the rule of Gauleiter Artur Greiser. In a short period of time, he issued many draconian regulations. The monetary transactions were limited and trade in leather goods and textiles was prohibited. Incorporation of Łódź into the Reich aggravated the terror against the Jewish population. On 31 October 1939, a regulation of the Łódź police president was published, ordering all enterprises and shops to be marked with noticeable signboards indicating the nationality of their owner, starting from 1 November 1939. According to the regulation of Friedrich Übelhör from 14 November 1939, Jews had to wear a yellow armband. One month later, the regulation was amended. From 11 December 1939, Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David on their chests and backs. Jews were banned from walking in city parks, along Piotrkowska Street, and using the city transport. All Jews employed in “Aryan” enterprises had to leave their workplaces. At the same time, the Jewish property started to be plundered from private dwellings, workshops, and shops.
The “wild” plunder in Łódź became so common that the president of Kalisz-Łódź region and the commander of the local police issued a regulation on 17 January 1940 warning against lawless requisition. The plundering of the Jewish property, this time official, was continued by the military authorities. At the end of 1939, the property subject to requisition amounted to 1.8 million marks. Following the regulation of 29 September 1939, administrators were appointed for enterprises, plants, and properties, both those whose owners left the country and those whose stayed. On the basis of this regulation, a significant part of Jewish enterprises were seized. Among them were plants belonging to rich Jews who left the city in a hurry at the beginning of the war.
The Jewish population also suffered great losses during the move to the ghetto. At that time, the occupiers captured thousands of furnished dwellings, properties and works of art. The regulation of 18 September 1939 ordered Jewish bank accounts, deposits, and safes to be blocked. The Jews were not allowed to withdraw more than 500 zlotys from their accounts and not more than 250 zlotys per week from their saving accounts. It was prohibited to keep more than 2,000 zlotys at home. In addition, all transport on public roads was prohibited, which left about one thousand Jews without any potential livelihood. This situation caused Jews to spend most of their time at home, with no potential or actual livelihood. From the first days of the occupation, street round-ups were a huge phenomenon. Jews caught in this way were taken to perform hard labour. The aim was also to degrade the Jewish population. This almost led to a complete “dying out” of streets in the Jewish quarter. People were afraid to leave homes in fear of assault. The kehilla, in connection with increasing fear among the inhabitants, appealed to the German authorities offering cooperation in recruiting workers. This resulted in the establishment of the Labour Recruitment Bureau on 7 October 1939. It’s office was at 18 Pomorska Street, and then at 10 Południowa Street.
At the same time, a concentration camp was created in Glaser’s factory in Radogoszcz. It was a place of torture and murder of political and social activists and intellectuals. On 2 November 1939, 15 Jews, who had been arrested on the previous day in the “Astoria Cafe,” were shot dead by the Nazis in Łagiewniki Forest. 10 days later, two Poles and a Jew – Radner – were hanged in a public execution. On the same day, four large synagogues were burnt down and then blown up: in Wolborska, Zachodnia, Kościuszki, and Wólczańska Streets. On 11 November 1939, the whole Council of Elders was arrested. Only six of them were released. The rest were shot dead in the Łagiewniki Forest.
The Jewish population was declining in numbers. Apart from those who managed to escape the terror in the first days of the war, another group spontaneously escaped to the General Government.
From 12 December 1939, a systematic deportation of Jews to the General Government began. In total, in the first months of the occupation, over 71,000 Jews moved or were deported from Łódź to the areas of the Soviet Union and the General Government. The first mention of the creation of the Jewish ghetto appeared in a secret letter of the president of the Kalisz region, dated 10 December 1939. In this letter, Friedrich Übelhör expressed his opinion that a complete evacuation of the Jewish population was impossible, and thus, a ghetto was to be created in the Northern part of the city. The ghetto was located in the most neglected district of the city – Bałuty and the Old Town. It comprised of 4.13 km2. At the time of its creation, the ghetto included the following streets: Goplańska, Żurawia, Wspólna, Stefana, Okopowa, Czarnieckiego, Sukiennicza, Marysińska, and Inflancka Streets, along the wall of the Jewish cemetery, and also Bracka, Przemysłowa, Środkowa, Głowackiego, Brzezińska, Oblęgorska, Chłodna, Smugowa, Nad Łódką, Stodolniana, Podrzeczna, Drewnowska, Majowa, Wrzesińska, Piwna, and Urzędnicza to Zgierska and Goplańska Streets.
In May 1941, a triangle was separated from the ghetto area, limited by Drewnowska, Majowa, and Jeneralska Streets. Consequently, the area of the ghetto declined to 3.82 km2. Moreover, the ghetto was cut into three parts by the main streets: Nowomiejska, Zgierska, and B. Limanowski. Initially, traffic moved through special gates opened at a specific time of the day. In the summer of 1940, the gates were replaced with wooden bridges over the streets. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place on 30 April 1940. The houses adjacent to the ghetto were demolished. The area of the ghetto did not have a sewage system, which did not help the contact between its inhabitants and the “Aryan” part of the city. An additional difficulty in contacting the outside world was the fact that Łódź at that time was inhabited by over 70,000 people belonging to German ethnic minority, who were loyal to the new authorities. According to the government data, 160,320 Jews were enclosed in the Łódź ghetto, including 6,471 people from the territory of the Reichsgau Wartheland, who came to the Łódź ghetto as a result of war migrations.
One and a half years later, by order of Heinrich Himmler, 19,722 Jews were deported to the Łódź ghetto from Austria, Bohemia, Luxembourg, and Germany. Following the conference in Wannsee near Berlin, the decision on the “Final Solution” of the Jewish question was made. As a result of the “Final Solution”, deportations of Jews to the Łódź ghetto started from the following neighbouring ghettos in the Wartheland: Brzeziny, Głowno, Ozorków, Stryków, Łask, Pabianice, Sieradz, Zduńska Wola, and Wieluń. In total, 200 thousand Jews from Wartheland and Western Europe at some point stayed at the Łódź ghetto. Two camps were isolated within the ghetto territory: the first one was for the Romani population and the other was for Polish children and youth. The gypsy camp existed until 16 January 1942, when all its inhabitants were transported to the death camp in Chełmno on the Ner river.
The ghetto was subordinated to the city authorities. Initially, it was headed by Johann Moldenhauer. Later on, he was replaced in this position by Hans Biebow, who personally participated in selections of the population during liquidation of the neighbouring ghettos. It was he who convinced the central authorities to the conception of self-sufficiency of the Łódź ghetto. The Jewish administration reported directly to him. The superior of the Jewish Elders in the Łódź ghetto was Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski. With time, he became the main intermediary between the Jewish administration and the German authorities. The occupiers forced him to cooperate first in transforming the ghetto into a labour camp and then in the plundering of the Jewish property. Their trump card in blackmailing Rumkowski were threats of reducing food provisions to the ghetto. Rumkowski had great power in the internal administration of the ghetto.
It was he who established new offices, divisions, and departments. The administrative structure of the ghetto consisted of a network of divisions, central offices, offices, and commissions. These were liquidated when no longer needed and replaced with new ones, with a specified scope of competence. In 1940-1944, the ghetto administration counted from 27 to 32 branches. In total, they employed from 13 thousand to 14 thousand people. Chaim Rumkowski administered the ghetto through the Central Office. Similarly as the majority of the ghetto sections, the Central Secretariat was located in Bałucki Square. Only people employed in the Square or having special passes were allowed access. The Central Secretariat was headed by Dora Fuchs, who held her office continuously until August 1944. The Central Secretariat collected reports from all divisions of the ghetto and also mediated in transferring the plundered Jewish property to the Ghetto Board. The Central Secretariat controlled the following divisions:
- Presidential Division
- Personnel Division
- Central Treasury
- Central Accountancy
The Central Office of Labour Departments operated in Bałucki Square. The ghetto produced uniforms, coats, sheepskin coats, quilting for jackets, caps, footwear, straw elastic-sides, knapsacks, and rucksacks. Recipients of these products were Wehrmacht-Beschaffungsamt in Berlin, Heeresbekleidungsamt in Berlin and its branch in Poznań, Marinebekleidungsamt in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, Polizeibekleidungsamt in Poznań, as well as Poznań branch of Organisation Todt. Other recipients of the ghetto production were famous department stores and private companies: “A.EG”, “J. Neckermann” in Berlin, “Asman & Co” in Berlin, “Henckel & Co” in Hamburg, “Adolf Heine” in Łódź, and “Karol T. Buhle i SA” in Łódź. They were supplied mostly with clothing, footwear, underwear, furniture, leathercraft items, textile, and tricot products.
In the ghetto, the Health Division of the Health Insurance Fund Hospital was active. It was located at 34/36 Łagiewnicka Street. It was closed, however, after the so-called “szpera”, i.e. deportations, from the ghetto in September (3-12 September 1942) – the action directed against children up to 10 years old and the elderly over 65 years old. It was accompanied with the ban on leaving homes. It resulted in the deportation of 15,681 people to death camps. All hospital patients were murdered in Chełmno on the Ner river. In the ghetto, there were 6 other hospitals, 7 pharmacies, 4 clinics, 2 casualty stations, 2 preventoria for children, and 2 old peoples’ houses.
Educational institutions were in operation in the ghetto. Primary, religious, special, middle high schools and even one music school were open. Each school had its own canteen. Summer camps and summer play centres were organized in Marysin. In October 1941, almost 20 thousand Jews from Western Europe were brought to the ghetto. They were settled in school buildings. This put an end to the activity of schools in the ghetto.
In the Łódź ghetto, a system of food cards was introduced. They were used to divide food supplied to the ghetto by the German authorities. As a result, the death rate in the Łódź ghetto was two times lower than the richer Warsaw ghetto, where smuggling was common[1.5].
Moreover, the ghetto administration had the following divisions: housing division, residents registering division, rabbinic seminary headed by rabbi Shlomo Trajstman, issuing bank (the ghetto had its own currency – Markquittungen called “rumki” after the name of the ghetto superior), valuables purchase bank, post office, tram division, court and prosecutor’s office, prison, and security personnel headquarters.
The Łódź ghetto was the only one to survive until August 1944. At the moment of its liquidation, 72 thousand prisoners lived there. In 4 years and 8 months of its existence 45,327 people died there, amounting to over 24% of all its inhabitants.
The liquidation of the ghetto was ordered in May 1944 by Heinrich Himmler. From 23 June 1944 until 14 July 1944, 10 transports of Jews (7,196 people) were deported to the death camp in Chełmno on the Ner river. On 29 August 1944, the last transport left from the ghetto for the concentration camp in Auschwitz. The ghetto ceased to exist. The only remaining people were the 840 people from the ghetto cleaning group. Additionally, about 20-30 people hid and escaped deportation. Hans Biebow also selected a group of 600 people. The people he selected were transferred to labour camps in Königswurstenhausen near Berlin and to factories in Dresden. Chaim Rumkowski and his family were on the penultimate transport to Auschwitz, where he was killed.
After the war, the area of the ghetto changed. Many old streets were liquidated: Chłodna, Garbarska, Jerozolimska, Koziołkiewicza, Lwa Kielma, Miodowa, and Pucka Streets. Some of the old ghetto streets were incorporated into the new Zachodnia Street: Masarska, Stodolniana, and Wesoła. The best preserved, in the same configuration, was the west part of the ghetto: Kościelny Square, and Bałucki Square. Also the following streets survived: Bazarowa, Brzezińska (today Wojska Polskiego), Ceglana, Ciesielska, Drewnowska, Franciszkańska, Gnieźnieńska, Joselewicza, Limanowskiego, Lutomierska, Łagiewnicka, Marynarska, Marysińska, Młynarska, Pawia, Pieprzowa, Iwna, Podrzeczna, Rybna, Wróbla, Zgierska, and Żytnia Streets.
At present, an orthodox Jewish Religious Community operates in Łódź, headed by Symcha Keller.
- A. Alperin, Żydzi w Łodzi. Początki gminy żydowskiej 1780–1822, „Rocznik Łódzki”, 3, (1933).
- Polacy–Niemcy–Żydzi w Łodzi w XIX–XX w. Sąsiedzi dalecy i bliscy, ed. by P. Samuś, Łódź 1997.
- W. Puś, Żydzi w Łodzi w latach zaborów 1793–1914, Łódź 2001.
- P. Spodenkiewicz, Zaginiona dzielnica. Łódź żydowska – ludzie i miejsca, Łódź 1999.
- Żydowskie getto w Łodzi 1940–1944. Vademecum, ed. by J. Pyczewska-Pilarek, Łódź 1999 .
- [1.1] A. Alperin, Żydzi w Łodzi. Początki Gminy Żydowskiej 1780–1822, „Rocznik Łódzki”, 3, 1933, p. 162. It refers to an old Jewish cemetery in Wesoła Street, in which the dead were buried until 1892.
- [1.2] Czas. Kalendarz na rok 1914, Łódź 1914, p. 27
- [1.3] W. Puś, Żydzi w Łodzi w latach zaborów 1793–1914, Łódź 2001, p. 59.
- [1.4] J. Walicki, Żydzi niemieccy w samorządzie Łodzi lat 1917-1939, in: Polacy-Niemcy-Żydzi w Łodzi w XIX-XX w. Sąsiedzi dalecy i bliscy, ed. P. Samuś, Łódź 1997, pp. 359-361.
- [1.5] Żydowskie getto w Łodzi 1940-1944. Vademecum, ed. by J. Pyczewska-Pilarek, Łódź 1999, p. 51.