Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Litzmannstadt Ghetto - The Calendar 1939

I decided to put the most important facts and information concerning the Lodz ghetto in chronological order to facilitate the use of this guide. First of all, I list the facts which preceded the creation of the confined district in Baluty, and are substantial for the subsequent events, as well as the essential dates from the history of the Litzmannstadt ghetto.


September 1 - The Second World War broke out. German armies attacked Poland and occupied Lodz a few days later. Even before the repression of the Polish and Jewish population of Lodz began, thousands of Jews escaped abroad in fear of persecution and antisemitism; the wealthy, to France and Switzerland, many others to Eastern Poland and to the Soviet Union.

September 9 - A triumphant entry of the German army into Lodz. Some of the inhabitants of the city, mainly the Lodz Germans, welcomed them with enthusiasm.

September 11 - An outpost of the Nazi security police arrived in Lodz. Their office was located in a building of a Jewish school at Anstadta Street.

Armed troops of soldiers and police began to enter Jewish houses and workshops.

September 18 - the head of the Civil Administration of the German Army issued an instruction which limited the financial turnover. The Jews were burdened with particularly severe restriction. They were prohibited from possessing more than 2000 zloty in cash. Their deposits of securities and cash were blocked. They were allowed to withdraw only 250 zloty per week from their bank and savings accounts.

September 28 - Lodz was included in the newly created General Gouvernement (for six weeks only).

September 29 - The Nazis established a receivership for all enterprises, workshops and real estate abandoned by their owners. In this way the Nazis took over most factories owned by wealthy Jews, who had left Lodz fearing persecution.

October 5 - A labour obligation for Jews was introduced.

Both Poles and Jews were subjected to roundups. They were halted in the streets and taken out of their houses. The Jews were forced to do the most humiliating jobs. The representatives of Polish and Jewish intelligentsia - political and social activists, journalists, artists - were arrested and sent to concentration camps, including the hastily created camp in Glaser's factory in Radogoszcz. Many were sent to a prison with extremely harsh conditions in Rawicz.

October 7 - The Jewish Congregation offered the German authorities cooperation in terms of recruitment of workers. An Employment Office was established at 18 Pomorska Street, later it moved to 10 Poludniowa Street (today Rewolucji 1905 roku Street). At first, it recruited 700 workers per day, later up to 2000. The Jews received no remuneration for their work.

October 13 - The Nazi commissioner of Lodz appointed Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski the Eldest of the Jews. Rumkowski was the deputy chairman of the Jewish Congregation from September 12. The board of the Congregation was dissolved.

October 18 - The Jews were forbidden to trade in leather and textile goods. This ban was tantamount to complete elimination of the Lodz Jews from the market. The majority of the Jews was left without means.

October 19 - the Main Receivership Bureau East (Haupttreuhandstelle Ost - HTO) was established. In a very short time, almost all Jewish enterprises were expropriated by the Nazis. The confiscated raw materials, goods and half-finished goods were taken away to the Reich.

October 28 - Heinrich Himmler, the Reich Commissioner for Consolidation of Germanism, visited Lodz.

October 31 - The Lodz Police President ordered the marking of all shops and enterprises with signboards indicating the nationality of their owners, beginning on November 1. Pillage of Jewish stores and workshops began on a large scale. Aryan enterprises were ordered to dismiss all their Jewish workers. The Jewish trade unions, social and economic organizations were liquidated.

November 1 - Scores of Jewish writers, journalists, artists and actors were arrested in the Astoria Cafe at the corner of Piotrkowska and Srodmiejska (today Wieckowskiego) streets. The arrested persons were badly beaten and tortured. The Nazis demanded ransom to release them.

November 2 - 15 persons from the group arrested in Astoria were shot in the Lagiewniki Woods. The remaining persons who could not pay the ransom were sent to the camp in Radogoszcz.

November 7 - The Jews were forbidden to walk Piotrkowska Street. A ban on marriages between Jews, Poles and Germans was introduced.

November 9 - Lodz was included in the Reich according to the wish of the Lodz Germans. The city was subject to the authority of Artur Greiser, the president of the Warta Land, who was an advocate of fast Germanization of the area under his command. A bloody terror against Poles and Jews commenced.

November 10 - The Germans herded several Jews to Plac Wolnosci and ordered them to drill holes in the Tadeusz Kosciuszko monument and to blow it up. Within the next few days groups of Jewish workers had to break the remnants of the monument into pieces. The same night, the synagogue at Spacerowa Street (at the corner of Kosciuszki and Zielona streets) was set on fire. The remains were eventually pulled down in the spring of 1940.

In the next days, the following synagogues were burnt: - at Wolborska Street (the ruins were pulled down many months later);

- at 18 Gdanska Street (it was the center of the Lodz Zionist movement; Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski, the "king of the ghetto" attended this synagogue before the war); German soldiers at the destroyed monument of Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

- at 6 Wolczanska Street, as described by Icchak Kacenelson in his "Song of the Murdered Jewish Nation". The Nazis tortured the rabbi and the shames (a synagogue helper). The synagogue walls were destroyed by March 1940.

The synagogue at 56 Zachodnia Street (today a square at 70 Zachodnia Street) survived till mid -1940. It served as a setting for an antisemitic propaganda film. Later it was burnt down together with its precious library.

Only one small synagogue survived. It is located at 28 Rewolucji 1905 Street, in the small courtyard. It belonged to the Reicher family, and was taken over by a German at the beginning of the war.

November 11 - The Germans hanged three people at Balucki Rynek. It was the first public execution in Lodz.

The Lodz intelligentsia and clergy representatives, who did not accept subordination to the occupiers, as well as the Jewish Council of Elders appointed a few days earlier, were arrested. After Rumkowski's intervention, the Nazis released 10 councillors. The other 20 persons were shot or deported to concentration camps.

November 14 - Friedrich Ubelhoer, the president of the Kalisz - Lodz Region, ordered all Jews, irrespective of age and sex, to wear a 10 cm wide armband on their right arm, just below the armpit. The armband, as the order has it, was to be "Jewish yellow" coloured. Those who failed to obey this order were subject to capital punishment. The Jews were also forbidden to leave their apartments between 5 pm and 8 am.

It was the first law of this kind ever to be implemented in the 3rd Reich. Reinhard Heydrich's order on marking the Jews (Except for children under 6 years of age) was published only on October 1, 1941. The violation of this order was punished with a 150 marks fine or up to 6 weeks' imprisonment.

December 2 - the deputy police president prohibited the Jews from running any of their own transport on public roads.

December 10 - the first secret circular was issued by Friedrich Ubelhoer, the president of the Kalisz-Lodz Region. It concerned the necessity to create a ghetto in Lodz.

December 11 - The president of the Warta Land, Artur Greiser, amended his previous order concerning the marking of the Jews. Instead of the armbands, the Jews were to wear a yellow Star of David on their chest and back. Failure to obey this order was punishable by death.

Several other orders were directed against the Jews, including the prohibition on walking in the municipal parks and on the use of public transportation.

December 12 - Resettlements to the General Gouvernement started as a part of the action of depolonization and dejudeization of the areas annexed by the Reich.

December 20 - Polish and Jewish schools were closed down, and their property was confiscated by the Nazis.


Julian Baranowski, Łódzkie getto 1940-1944. Vademecum, Archiwum Państwowe w Lodzi & Bilbo, Lodz 2003.
Kronika łódzkiego getta, tom I (styczeń 1941 - maj 1942), tom II (czerwiec 1942), red. Danuta Dąbrowska i Lucjan Dobroszycki, Wydawnictwo Łódzkie, Łódź 1965.
Marek Budziarek, Łódź, Lodsch, Litzmannstadt. Wycinki z życia mieszkańców okupowanego miasta, Literatura, Łódź 2003.
Icchak (Henryk) Rubin, Żydzi w Łodzi pod niemiecką okupacją 1939-1945, Kontra, Londyn 1988.
The Last Ghetto. Life in the Lodz Ghetto 1940-1944, edited by Michael Unger, Yad Vashem, 1995