Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Lutomierska Street (Hamburgerstrasse)

On the west side of Zgierska Street, near the Schupo post, major ghetto institutions and offices were located.

The Economics Department, which supervised, among other things, field cultivation and the disposal of human waste, was located at 11 Lutomierska St. The Employment Office, the Housing (or Quartering) Department (later moved to Rybna Street), and for some time even a soup kitchen for officials, were located there as well. In the courtyard, behind the building, there was a modern blacksmith shop, which stored, reshaped and assembled water tanks and barrels.

The Juvenile Court, among other institutions, was located at 13 Lutomierska St. There were also offices of the Jewish fire brigade. In 1942, the ghetto fire department consisted of 176 trained firemen. A separate unit, which guarded the houses and staircases from the threat of fire, was also operating.

The barracks of the fire brigade were located behind the building, in a large square which stretched almost to Wesola Street, near the Old Jewish Cemetery. Fire-wagons and other fire equipment were kept there. The ghetto firemen made an excellent motor pump themselves. It was also in this square where Rumkowski gave his most important speeches. At such times a platform, along with microphones and loudspeakers, were set up.

The buildings at 11 and 13 Lutomierska St. do not exist any more. New apartment blocks were constructed in their place. However, one of the buildings in the back survived (what is today 14 Zachodnia St.). In front of this building Rumkowski gave a speech on Sept. 4, 1942, calling upon the ghetto inhabitants to give up their children in order to save everyone else. A number of photographs with a crowd of people listening illustrate the anxiety that prevailed. What Rumkowski was saying could, after all, be a life or death sentence. Today, a lane of Zachodnia Street runs through a part of that square.

A plaque on a stone marks a small square on Lutomierska near Zgierska Street, where ghetto buildings once stood. This plaque pays homage to the more than 1,000 Jews from Hamburg who were brought to the ghetto in the autumn of 1941.

The fire brigade is finishing work on a fully-equipped motor pump, constructed from four-cylinder Chevrolets. This is the fire brigade's third motor vehicle, including the six-cylinder Chevrolet for the crew and its equipment, and the BSA motorcycle with a sidecar for the equipment. .
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, September 1941, Vol. 1, p. 252.

The Jewish fire brigade was at the site a minute after it received the alarmed, and it immediately called the municipal fire brigade, which appeared with their 15 wagons. During the rescue, directed by the municipal fire brigade commander, the Jewish firemen performed their duties with devotion. It is interesting that in order to obtain water a fire-hose had to be brought in from the Poznanski factory, located more than one kilometer outside of the ghetto... A three-story building, which earlier housed a hospital, and where a modern wood products factory was established after the last evacuation, was destroyed by the fire.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, December 23, 1942, Vol. 2, p. 446.

On Sunday, a large public gathering took place in the open air in order to listen to the ghetto superior's speech. In the mid-day hours, little posters were pasted on the walls informing that the speech will be held at 6 p.m. in the courtyard of the fire brigade barracks. Already half an hour before the indicated time, people would go on a pilgrimage to the building at Lutomierska Street. A platform with firemen's emblems and a microphone was installed in the rear of the courtyard, just as it was last autumn. The loudspeakers, placed in the courtyards closer to Lutomierska Street, where crowds gathered, were transmitting the Chairman's speech, which lasted over an hour and a half. The representatives of the district authorities were sitting at the tables in front of the platform, thus having the opportunity to listen to the speech directly. Mr. Chairman devoted the introductory part of his speech to the most important matter, which is the necessity to continue employing the non-working people.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, June 1, 1942, Vol. 2, p. 8.

A crowd of approximately 5,000 people gathered at the fire brigade square at 13 Lutomierska St.; loudspeakers were installed and a platform was set up. Mr. Chairman arrived at 6:15 p.m., accompanied by his spouse and Mr. Director Józef Rumkowski. Peace and order reigned among the audience; the weather was beautiful, warm and sunny. Mr. Chairman has not given a speech for a long time, so the announced speech understandably evoked an interest among the population. Mr. Chairman's public speeches would almost always bring a certain touch of optimism, at least for the nearest future, and for a long time everybody has been seeking a bit of comfort. In his speech, which lasted an hour and a half, Mr. Chairman summarized the events of the last months, commented in short on the deportation of 55,000 people, and emphasized that to a large extent the people themselves are guilty of it, for they did not work properly. [...] The ghetto population is approximately 100,000 people in total, out of which approximately 70,000 are employed.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, June 2, 1942, Vol. 2,p.12.

Today I was already working as a scribbler in the Arbeitseinsatz (11 Lutomierska St.). The work is from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. I am very glad because I finally have my longed-for peace. I don't care for anything, and the thoughtless copying of data from the files does not demand any effort from me. There is no prison-like atmosphere of the labor department, no shouting, no dust, no Gitis [a person] and other idiots from Leder v.Sattler. And, most of all, I don't have too much time to sit at home and think of eating.
Dawid Sierakowiak, Diary, August 26, 1942, p. 97.