Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Litzmannstadt Ghetto - The Calendar 1940-1941

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.


January 17 - The president of the Kalisz - Lodz Region and the local police commander officially warned private persons and institutions not to requisition any Jewish property on their own.

January 26 - the Accommodation Department was opened at 11 Lutomierska Street. Its task was to allot flats to people who moved to the ghetto.

February 8 - "Lodscher Zeitung" published an order by Johann Schafer, the police president, on establishing a separate housing district for Jews in Lodz. Another separate district was planned for Poles, but that plan was never implemented.

February 12 - A mass resettlement action started; the Jews were settled in the ghetto, and the Poles and Germans were resettled from the area allotted to the Jewish population.

March 6 - The "Bloody Thursday'; an action conducted by the German army against the Jews who did not want to move to the ghetto. The Nazis surrounded a section of Piotrkowska Street and ordered the people to leave their apartments within a few minutes. Several persons who resisted were killed, others moved to Baluty fearing for their lives.

March 13 - beginning of evacuation of the mentally ill from the hospitals in Kochanowka and at Wesola Street, and of the handicapped and crippled children from orphanages; approximately 250 persons in total

March 15 - The opening of the ghetto postal service [see: The Postal Service and the Main Treasury]

April 11 - the official change of the city name from Lodz to Litzmannstadt in memory of a German general Karl von Litzmann, a hero of the First World War, who commanded the German army during the battle of Lodz in 1914. A double swastika on a blue background became the emblem of the city.

The Germans used the name Litzmannstadt and that is the reason why two names of the ghetto functioned: Litzmannstadt Getto and Lodz ghetto.

The German police (Schupo) moved into the building at 1 Limanowskiego Street in April; two rooms were occupied by the secret political police, or Gestapo. [see: Schupo and Gestapo]

Rumkowski appointed a Jewish Order Service in the ghetto. It was located at 1 Lutomierska Street. [see: The Jewish Police - Order Service]

April 30 - the ghetto was completely sealed off and isolated from the rest of the city. Wire entanglements and sentry boxes were placed around the ghetto and along Zgierska and Limanowskiego streets, which were excluded from the ghetto area. [see: The Bridges of the Ghetto]

On April 30, 1940, the ghetto was strictly isolated from the rest of the city.

In the first phase, the ghetto was a part of the Supplies and Economical Department of the City Board. Its German headquarters was located in a building at Cegielniana Street (Moltkestrasse 157, now 11 Jaracza Street), and was managed by Johann Moldenhauer.

On April 11 , the Nazis changed the name of Lodz into Litzmannstadt.

Soon the Supplies Department, dealing with distribution of food and fuel, started operating.

May 5 - Hans Biebow, a merchant from Bremen, was appointed the German manager of the ghetto. He gradually turned the closed Jewish district into a camp of forced labour for the Reich.

May 7 - the Central Secretariat opened at Balucki Rynek. It supported the Eldest of the Jews and coordinated the administrative works. [see: Balucki Rynek]

May 10 - the German police commander issued an order which allowed the shooting without warning of any Jew trying to leave the ghetto without permission.

May 19 - a Kripo (criminal police) post was established in the ghetto (Sonderkommando Getto). It was located in the parish house at 8 Koscielna Street. [see: Kripo]

May 28 - the German police suppressed a strike in the ghetto. The cart drivers, butchers and fish sellers were deported from the ghetto for disobedienceto the Eldest of the Jews.

June 12 - a census was carried out in the ghetto, according to which the total number of inhabitants was 160,320, including over 6,500 from the Warta land. The ghetto occupied an area of 4,13 square km.

June 26 - the Issuing Bank at 71 Marysinska Street opened. The special ghetto currency (marks) called "rumki" or "chaimki" was put into circulation. [see: Marysinska Street]

July 8 - from this day on the ghetto marks became the only valid currency in the ghetto. Those who possessed any money in other currencies had to exchange it.

July 15 - access to postal services and telephones was limited.

August 6 - the so-called soup kitchen for intelligentsia opened. [see: Zgierska Street]

August 12 - the Bank for Purchase of Valuable Objects and Clothing opened. It purchased foreign currencies, fur coats, valuables, clothing and even bed linen. [see: The Bank for Purchase of Valuable Objects and Clothing]

August 13 - permission to open prayer houses was announced.

September 18 - the court and public prosecutor's office opened. [see: Gnieznienska Street]

October 1 - the Central Office of Labour Departments was established. It dealt with organization of production in the ghetto. Work for the German army was conducted in factories and workshops, which were most often called labour departments (German: Arbeitsressorte). The name "szop" was also in use. There were over 100 of them. Some departments had several branch workshops located in various parts of the ghetto. The largest departments were the Tailoring Department, the Shoemaking Department, the Textile Department, the Metalwork Department and the Straw Shoes Department.

October 20 - the Central Prison was established at Czarnieckiego Street on the order of the Eldest of the Jews. [see: The Central Prison]

October 29 - the ghetto administration became a separate department of the City Board (Gettoverwaltung) and was subject only to the mayor (Oberbuergermeister) Werner Ventzki.

November 6 - the High Chamber of Control was established. Its task was fighting abuse and controlling the activity of various offices, departments and agencies. It was managed by Józef Rumkowski, the brother of the Chairman. It functioned until November 12, 1942.

November 17 - the Archive was established on the order of Rumkowski. It collected documents concerning ghetto life. "The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto"; a source of knowledge about the ghetto, was also compiled there. [see: Plac Koscielny]

December 30 - food coupons were introduced.

December 31 - over 155,000 people were confined in the ghetto. The death rate increased dramatically due to starvation and emaciation.


March 7 - the first issue of "Getto Cajtung'; a newspaper in which orders and announcements were published. 18 issues were published by September 21, 1941.

March 11 - the Summary Court opened. Its task was passing sentences within a very short time. [see: Franciszkanska Street]

May - following the decision of the German authorities a part of the ghetto area, bordered by Drewnowska, Majowa and Jeneralska Streets, was excluded from the ghetto. The remaining ghetto area was only 3,82 square km.

June 7 - Heinrich Himmler, the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of Germanism visited the ghetto. He went to Balucki Rynek, where he spoke to Rumkowski; he also visited the tailoring department.

September 21 - trams were introduced in the ghetto. Initially, they only transported food, fuel and raw materials. [see: The trams in the ghetto]

October 17 - transports ofJews from Western Europe started arriving in the ghetto. In total, 19,954 Jews from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Luxembourg were settled in the ghetto. They were accomodated mainly in former school buildings. [see: The schools and collective Prague IV]

October - liquidation of schools in the ghetto.

November 5 - the first transports of Gypsies from Burgenland arrived. They were settled in a separate, strictly isolated camp excluded from the ghetto area. Over 5,000 people were confined there. [see: The Gypsy Camp]

November - December - strikes against the Eldest of the Jews occurred in some labour departments, including the kettle making department, the tailoring department and the shoemaking department.

An annihilation centre was established in Chelmno-nad- Nerem, 70 km away from Lodz.

December 7 - the first transports of Jews from the liquidated provincial ghettoes in the Warta Land (Ozorkow, Strykow, Pabianice, Brzeziny, Wloclawek and others).

December 16 - Rumkowski was informed by the Germans that 20,000 people must be deported from the ghetto.


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