“Memory of You will never fade until we are alive”

   There are still people with us who experienced the hardships and the tragedies of the II World War. Some of them heroically saved many Jewish lives from complete annihilation by the Germans. In many cases these quiet heroes remained humble about their deeds even after the war. Therefore only a small part of them has been honored for their courage and willingness to sacrifice.


   In 1953 Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority was implemented in Israel. Its members established Righteous of The World award to commemorate the people who were saving Jews during the war. Currently, there are 6200 names of Poles on this list which accounts for 28% of all Righteous in the world. The  names of the awarded are put on a wall in Yad Vashem’s Garden of the Righteous. Each of the honored also has a tree planted in the Garden.



   Poles who were saving Jewish citizens during the war are commemorated by a monument designed by Czesław Bielecki. The Monument Honoring Poles who Saved Jews During the Second World War comprises of walls built on Shield of David’s plan. There is an inscription “Righteous of the World” on all of its sides. Above the monument one can find a statue of the Polish Eagle ready to fly made of travertine on which there is an inscription “To the Polish who saved Jews between 1939 and 1945” and citations from the Gospel and the Talmud. On the front of the main Monument there is a caption in Polish whereas on its other sides the captions are in Hebrew and English. The walls of the Monument are coming down towards the water which enables the visitors to observe the Shield of David’s plan it was built on from the hill on the opposite side of the lake.


   Not only are there names of individuals on the commemorative plaques but also the names of whole families and even neighbours. It was unique in Poland only (as opposed to the rest of the occupied Europe) that people who hid Jews were facing the death penalty. Even an attempt of sharing food or water with a Jewish citizen could end up with the capital punishment. It was also a concern of other members of the family or neighbours who were aware of those “illegal” actions. In spite of German authorities’ brutality and ruthlessness many Poles found it more compelling to help other human beings that were in need.

   At 8 pm, on the eve of monument’s unveiling, Andrzej Krauze’s concert “The Righteous of this Land” will take place. Oratorio is thought to depict an imaginary journey across the Holy Land from Genesis to modern times. Love Is the Essence of Life is a motto of a concert.


  The monument that will be unveiled on the 27th of August and is expected to be a Jewish-Polish celebration of humanity in the bottomless pit of occupation. We all hope that both the monument and oratorio will inspire the world to remember about the tragic and heroic choices some Polish people made and that are now often forgotten about. It is vital to remember that the Jews would not have been the same people without Polish people and Poland would have been a completely different culturally impoverished country without its Jewish neighbours.  

The History of Litzmannstadt Ghetto


The beginning of German occupation

   On September 8, 1939 the German army entered Łódź and straight away the German authorities began oppressing and terrorizing Jews. These actions were based on Nuremberg Laws from 1935 naming Jews to be outlawed without rights as citizens. From November 9, 1939 Łódź was governed by Artur Greiser whose idea was to germanize the area as soon as possible. He issued a number of ruthless regulations.

The camp for Polish children and youth – Przemysłowa Street

On December 1, 1942 the Germans opened a camp for Polish children and youth at an area isolated from the Litzmanstadt Ghetto. It was bordered by Bracka, Emilii Plater, Górnicza and Zagajnikowa streets. The entrance to the camp was situated at Przemysłowa street. The area was fenced with high wooden boards and guarded by German troops. The camp was inhabited by children and youth aging from 8-16. They were transferred to the camp from orphanages and educational institutions of occupied Poland. Some of them had their parents in prisons or camps and the others were accused of  cooperation with resistance movement, stealing or black market trade. The true reality was that,  the camp was a concentration camp. The children’s names were replaced with numbers, the living conditions in the camp could be compared to those in the ghetto. The children were starving and forced to work for up to 12 hours a day.


   The little Polish prisoners sewed clothes, produced straw shoes, straightened needles and mended school bags. Many of them died of exhaustion and diseases. There were many cases of children being beaten to death by German soldiers. Sick ones were sent to the hospital at 74 Drewnowska street.



The Przemysłowa camp was completely isolated. However there is no accurate information on the number of children imprisoned there. Until 1945 only 5000 little prisoners had been recorded. Out of that number only 900 of them survived. A police station building at 34 Przemysłowa street is the only remaining evidence of the camp.


   On May 9, 1971 the Broken Heart monument was unveiled in Szare Szeregi Park to commemorate the imprisoned and murdered children at Przemysłowa camp. The monument was designed by Jadwiga Janus and Ludwik Mackiewicz and it depicts a thin boy cuddling to the broken heart. There is an empty space of a child’s shape inside the heart. There is an inscription saying: ”Your life was taken but we remember”.

Bibliography:

  1. Baranowski Julian, The Łódź Ghetto / Łódzkie Getto 1940-1944 : Vademecum, Łódź 2003
  2. Hrabar Roman, Obóz dla dzieci i młodzieży w Łodzi przy ulicy Przemysłowej, [w:] Zbrodnie hitlerowskie wobec dzieci i młodzieży z Łodzi oraz okręgu łódzkiego, Łódź 1979, p.113-135
  3. Podolska Joanna, Litzmannstadt Ghetto - Ślady. Przewodnik po przeszłości, Łódź 2004
  4. Wasiak Julia, Obóz dla dzieci i młodzieży polskiej przy ulicy Przemysłowej, [w:] Obozy hitlerowskie w Łodzi, Łódź 1998, p. 153-171

The Gypsy Camp in Litzmannstadt Ghetto

The discrimination of Gypsies began after Hitler’s rise to power. Gypsies just like Jews were regarded as “racially subhuman” element threatening the purity of the Germanic race. The first act that discriminated the Gypsy people was issued in Germany in March 1938 and its aim was to limit their freedom and make them socially alienated. The decision on deportation of 20, 000 Jews from Western Europe and 5,000 Gypsies  from Austro-Hungarian borderland to Litzmannstadt was made in the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA)in September 1941. Resettlement of those people took place at the same time as establishment of extermination camp in Kulmhof am Ner.

  The German authorities of Litzmannstadt knew about plans of Gypsies’ settlement into Litzmannstadt Ghetto. On October 10, 1941 in the Gestapo headquarters special consultation on placement a few thousand Gypsies in the ghetto was held. A decision was made to  isolate them from the ghetto. The Germans were afraid that placing Gypsies together with Jews would cause some anxiety among the latter which then would have a negative effect on production efficiency. Regardless of the Germans’ decisions there were many rumors spread around as the Jews were not sure who and why would live in the isolated part of the ghetto and what their fate would be.

The speech made by Chaim Rumkowski on November 1, 1941, shows that he  had an influence on Gypsies’ isolation in the ghetto. He didn’t want to to be responsible for them.One of the essential elements of the German annihilation policy directed against the Roma people was the pillage of their belongings. Without a shadow of a doubt these were the Gypsy aristocrats who brought unimaginable amounts of jewellery as well as expensive musical instruments into the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Subsequent robberies began right after their arrival at the Radegast Station.

   The first Gypsies placement into ghetto took place between November 5-9, 1941. Children comprised over half of new coming Roma and Sinti people. They were all cramped into small area bordered by Wojska Polskiego, Głowackiego, Starosikawskiej and Obrońców Westerplatte streets. The camp was surrounded with two barbed wire fence and a deep ditch partly filled with water. The entrance to the camp was situated at 88 Wojska Polskiego. The camp’s area of 0.019 square kilometer included a few buildings, was never supplied with basic equipment. All the windows on the outer sides were planked. Only the Germans, doctors from the ghetto and Jews supplying the Gypsy camp with food were authorized to enter the camp. As Antoni Galiński from Institute of National Remembrance says, the camp lacked kitchen, baths, infirmary and even enough latrines. The food was supplied by the ghetto was in insufficient quantities. Arnold Mostowicz, working as a doctor in the ghetto, visited the camp and witnessed the conditions Gypsies lived in. After the war in a book titled”The Yellow Star and the Red Cross” he said:” Even for me who had been accustomed to congested  ghetto flats and camps for the deportees from Germany and Austria, the picture of the both rooms was terrible… There had been no beds or bunk beds. Straw thrown on the floor and covered with rags served as a bed for -how many?! Thirty? Forty?! One hundred inhabitants of this ant-hill? It was shocking”.


Liquidation of the Gypsy Camp

   In such conditions theepidemic of typhus appeared, killing inhabitants of the camp. Jewish doctors who were called into the camp were unable to stop it.



  From November 12, 1941 Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski together with criminal police supervised the Gypsy Camp. Kriminaloberassistent Eugen Jansen became camp’s the commandant and performed this function till his death caused by typhus December 23, 1941. Within seven weeks in 1941, 719 people died of typhus and there were 250 cases reported in January alone. The Eldest of Jews  were appointed a special section for contacts with the Gypsy camp administrated by Moryc Minc. There were responsible for food supply, health care, removals of sewage and burials.



   Karol Berger was appointed as the Gypsies’ supervisor. Similarly to Jews the Gypsies had their own police. The camp was also guarded from outside by Schupo officers. With the typhus epidemic spreading a decision was made to liquidate the camp.



   Gypsy people who died in the camp were buried in the Jewish cemetery and their graves can be found at sections 4 and 5. January 12, 1942,the rest of the Gypsies were deported to Chełmno nad Nerem where they were gassed in special trucks.



   It is assumed that all 5000 Gypsies transported from Burgenland to Litzmannstadt in 1941 died or were killed
A few years ago a big red bead was found at Chełmno nad Nerem camp grounds during archeological research. It is believed to be one of Litzmannstadt Gypsy’s beads.


Bibliography :

  1. Baranowski Julian, Zigeunerlager in Litzmannstadt - Obóz cygański w Łodzi / The Gypsy Camp in Łódź, 1941-1942, Łódź 2003
  2. Galiński Antoni, Obóz dla Cyganów, [w:] Obozy hitlerowskie w Łodzi, red. Albin Głowacki, Sławomir Abramowicz, Łódź 1998, p. 235-251
  3. Mostowicz Arnold, Żółta gwiazda i czerwony krzyż, Warszawa 1988

Litzmannstadt Ghetto Map

Litzmannstadt Ghetto Map

Litzmannstadt Ghetto route- Remembrance Sites.

  The Litzmannstadt Ghetto area has undergone many changes since the fall of the war as far as buildings and streets are layout are concerned. The Jewish district, left uninhabited after the 1944 deportations, was devastated by invaders and looters looking for hidden treasures. After the war   many old buildings were demoliished and new housing estates were built. A few streets disappeared and a few had their names changed. Despite the numerous changes after 65 years we can still find many traces of the life and martydrom of the district's inhabitants.

There are buildings remaining from that time which include are the 1940-1944 headquarters, labour departments, schools, hospitals, Western Jews' collective bodies, German administration and ghetto's police authorities.

In order to commemorate the tragic historical sites in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto ruote has been established. It includes 38 buildings marked by the City Monuments Conservator.

1. Bałucki Market (Baluter Ring)


There were German branches of the ghetto's management-Gettoverwaltung as well as Jewish administration authorities: Central Secretariat and Central Bureau of Labour Registration. It also served as a place of trans-shipment of food and raw materials into the ghetto and production from the ghetto.

 

2. 7 Ceglana Street



Site of the main storehouse and sorting station for belongings left behind by Jews deported from ghettos liquidated in Warthegau.


3. 7 Ciesielska Street

Site of the bank for purchasing jewellery, valuable articles and clothing.

4. 14 Czarneckiego Street

It used to be a building complex of Central Jail for Jews convicted by the ghetto's justice's administration. It also served as an assembly place for those being sent to the death camps.

5. 75 Drewnowska Street

Hospital number 2 liquidated in September 1942 and then departament of knitwear.



6. 13 Franciszkańska Street

Site of a school until October 1941. It then became the quarters for deportees from Prague  (Collective "Prague II"). Beginning in mid-May 1942, it was the linens and garments factory.

7. 27 Franciszkańska Street

Site of Jewish Police Station 1, the Summary Court (Schnellgericht), and school board. Between January 16 and April 2, 1942, Office of the Deportation Commission, responsible for preparing lists of the ghetto inmates dispatched to the death camp at  Kulmhof am Ner (Chełmno-Upon-Ner).

8. 29 Franciszkańska Street

Site of an elementary school, beginning in October 1941, quarters for deportees from Prague (Collective "Prague IV"). As of mid-May 1942, it was the Tailor Workshop, where courses in tailoring for the young were conducted.




9. 30/33 Franciszkańska Street

From October 17 until November 27, 1941, quarter for deportees from Hamburg (Collective "Hamburg")

10. 20/22 Gnieźnieńska Street

Location of the Jewish Prosecutor's Office, the Court, and Office of Investigations.

11. 10 Jakuba Street

Until May 1940, assembly point for people brought into the ghetto. After October 1941, quarters for deportees from Vienna and Prague (Collectives "Vienna II" and "Prague IV"). After May 1942, the Tailor Departament, and the Central Depot for Supplies.


 

12. 8 Kościelna Street

"The Red House" (Rotes Haus) - location of the Criminal Police (Kripo) Station. Site where submitted to torture, maimed, and usually murdered.

 

 

13. 3 Krawiecka Street

Kulturhaus Community Center for concerts, revues, children's theater, special ghetto events and M. Ch. Rumkowski's speeches.



14. 1 Limanowskiego Street

Site of Gestapo Post and the 6th Schupo District Station which exercised political and police control over the ghetto.

 

 

15. 1 Lutomierska Street

Headquarters of Ordungsdienst (OD) - The Jewish Police in Litzmannstadt Ghetto.






16. 13 Lutomierska Street

Site of the "Fire Brigade's Square" in the countryyard of this building. The Eldest of Jews M. Ch. Rumkowski delivered public speeches at this location.

 

 

17. 1 Łagiewnicka Street

 Jojne Pilcer Square– A Jewish marketplace. This building housed a soup kitchen for Litzmannstadt Ghetto doctors.


18. 25 Łagiewnicka Street

Site of the Chamber of Commerce and Central Committee for the trades until October 1942. Beginning in November 1942, the Ghetto Administrative Council and the Health Departament. The main ghetto clock was situated here.



19. 34/36 Łagiewnicka Street

Site of hospital number 1, the Health Departament, until mid-September 1942. In then became the Tailor Workshop, after the liquidation of the ghetto, a transitional camp for ghetto inmates selected for factory work in German.

20. 55 Marynarska Street

Photo studio of Mendel Grosman - a renowned photographer of daily life in the ghetto.





 21. 25 Młynarska Street

Quarters for deportees from Hamburg (Collective "Hamburg") beginning in May 1942, the Linens Factory.

22. 32 Młynarska Street

Site of the main community soup kitchen and the central matzo depot. Beginning in May 1942, the Medical Commission for Deportations.

23. 119 Okopowa Street

Orphanage, assembly site for deportees.



24. 1/3 Organizacji WiN (former Dworska)

Site of the Office of Appeals and Charges, the Personnel Division, the Central Accounting Office and the Social Securyty Section.

 

25. 74 Organizacji WiN (former Dworska)

Site of the home for the aged and the shelter for the homeless beginning in November 1942, a hospital for people with contagious diseases. Jewish children, along with inhabitants of the camp for Polish Youth at Przemysłowa Street, were treated here in 1943 and 1944.


26. 1 Kościelny Square

 

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary's church. 1941-1944 on the orders of the German authorities-warehouse and sorting plant of stolen Jewish property.

 

 

 

 

27. 4 Kościelny Square

Site of Registration Office, General Ghetto Registry, Statistics Section and Archive, the Rabbinical College, and the Ghetto Post Office. "The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto" was written and compiled here by personel of the Statistics Division.

 


 28. Piastowski Square (former Tanfaniego)

"Market Square (Bazarplatz)- site of public executions of ghetto inmates.


29. 8 Rybna Street

Site of the Accommodations Departament, the Food Rationing Departament, the New Arrivals Department, and the Deportations Commission. Here the Commission prepared lists of Jews from other parts of Europe for transfer to the detah camp at Kulmhof am Ner (Chełmno-Upon-Ner).

 

30. 15 Rybna Street

Site of an elementary school. Beginning in October 1941, quarters for deportees from Düsseldorf (Collective Düsseldorf). In May 1942, it was turned into the Houseshoes Workshop.

31. 7 Szklana Street

Assembly point for peoplesent to death camps during the deportation phase.

32. 11 Urzędnicza Street

Seat of Berlin displaced people ("Berlin III") from May 1942 brushes and brooms factory. Until May 1940 assembly point for settled in Litzmannstadt Ghetto, from October 1941 seat of Departament and Central Raw Maretials Repository.

33. 10 Wojska Polskiego Street

Site of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto printing house and a signboard workshop.

34. 84 Wojska Polskiego Street

At this site, German authorities established a camp for Gypsies (Zigeunerlager) in the area boarded by Sulzfelder Str. (Wojska Polskiego), Kondradstr. (Głowackiego), Kriminalstr. (Starosikawską) i  Blechgasse (obrońców Westerplatte) Streets. 

Of the 5000 Roma men, women and children deported from Austria and incrarcerated here between November 5, 1941 and January 12, 1942, over 600 died from diseases or were murdered in the camp; The remaining were gassed in the death camp at Kulmhof am Ner (Chełmno-Upon-Ner) during the week of January 5 to 12, 1942.

35. 88/92 Wojska Polskiego Street

Sites of the straw shoes workshop.

36. 70 Zgierska Street

Quarters for deportees from Frankfurt (Collective "Frankfurt"). After May 1942, the Clothing Departament for distribution of used garments in the ghetto.

37. Jewish Cemetery

„Ghetto Field” - holds the graves of 43 527 ghetto victims during the years 1940 to 1944. Many victims were executed or brutally slain; others died from disease or starvation.

38. Memorial Radegast

The freight railway station (Verladebahnhof Getto-Radegast), occasionally referred to as "The loading platform at Marysin", served as the depot for deliveries of food, fuel and raw materials for industrial production, and for shipping out goods manufactured in the ghetto. In 1941 and 1942, the Radegast Station was the destination point for about 20 000 Jews from other parts of Europe, another 20 000 Jews from liquidated ghettos in the region, and over 5000 Gypsies from Austria (Burgenland). This was also the so-called "Umschlagplatz" death depot for 150 000 Jews sent to death camps at Chełmno-Upon-Ner and Auschwitz Birkenau.

Radegast Station

200 000 Polish, Austrian, German, Luxemburg and Czech Jews from the Litzmannstadt Getto were transported to extermination camps from the Radegast Station. Today the Station is the site of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto Monument.Situated in the north-eastern part of the ghetto, the Radegast Station initially served only as a loading station. The Germans using Jewish forced work, delivered food, fuel and raw material to the ghetto. The same station served for shipping manufactured goods which at that time were transported to Reich. Every year, 5 000 or 6 000 cars were loaded and unloaded there. From 1941, the Radegast Station was also used by Germans for people transportation.

800 survivors

    The Radegast Station building has remained till today. There is also an original railway track  with the name of  Krupp factory running next to the station. In the ’90  Monumentum Iudaicum Lodzense Foundation and the Jewish Community took on efforts to change the station into National Remembrance Place. Within one year  38 000 Jews and 5 000 Austrian Gypsies were transported to  Łódź through the Radegast Station. There didn’t stay in the city for long, as in 1942 the Germans deported to extermintaion camps about 150 000 people. Almost all of them ended up in gas chambers. The last transportation took place on 29th August 1944, and the train finished its jpurney in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It also meant the end of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. There were a few people left to tidy the deserted district. Only 5 % out of 230 000 Jews living in Łódź before the war, survived.

The monument

The discovery, that the wooden building with Krupp railway track was the Litzmannstadt Ghetto’s transportation station, was immediately followed by the idea of making it the monument commemorating  all those who passed through the ghetto. The monument was designed by Czesław Bielecki. The railway station, separated from the modern buildings with a brick wall which gives an impression of solitude and reflection of the tragedy that happened there. The place is designed to let visitors identify with those who were transported to the extermination camps. From the train depot, visitors walk through the 140 meter Tunnel of the Deported which symbolises inevitable fate of deported Jews. Its walls hold transport lists showing enormous numbers of those sent to death.


   There is a Town of Halls  holding names of metropolies, cities and towns, from which Jews were deported to the Litzmannstadt Ghetto and the Column of Remembrance with a burning candle. The Memorial at Radegast leaves no shadow of a doubt of who was responsible for the Holocaust.There are two dates placed on the outer wall of the Tunnel pointing to the beginning  of Adolf Hitler government and the end of the II World War. The names of the railway station and extermination camps will be written in gothic style and in German.The completion of the building of Memorial Radegast took two years and it wouldn’t have been completed if it hadn’t been for Polish and foreign donors. About 40% of the total cost was donated by companies, private persons, institutions, government and foreign cities.