Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Hospital No.1 and Pediatric Hospital
Lagiewnicka Street (Hanseatenstrasse)

The recently vandalized building housed the main ghetto hospital and Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski's apartment during the war.

The building was constructed shortly before the war for the National Health Service. It was one of the most modern and most elegant structures in the Baluty area at that time. After the war began, it housed the Health Department that Rumkowski set up, and Hospital No. I. The ghetto leader's private apartment was situated in one of the wings.

Until September 1942, the health service in the ghetto appeared to function in a normal I fashion. There were seven hospitals, seven pharmacies, four clinics and two emergency t rooms. In total, more than 2,600 beds were available for people that fell ill. Medical examinations and even lung X-rays were carried out; prescriptions, and, of course, death certificates were written. The children's hospital was located almost on the opposite side, at 37 Lagiewnicka St. It wasn't until late 1942, during the so-called "shpera" when all hospitals were destroyed. The action carried out was brutal; horrific descriptions can be found in diaries from that period. The German authorities deported all the ill to Chelmno-nad-Nerem. They also decided to deport everyone over the age of 65 and all children under 10. According to the Nazis, these people were "non-working, therefore a dispensable element" that should be gotten rid of. To carry out this order, Rumkowski appealed to the parents to voluntarily hand over their children.

"I have to perform this bloody operation. I have to sacrifice the limbs in order to save the body. I have to take your children away from you, or other people will die together with them," he said. The Jewish police attempted to take the children from their parents, and when that initial effort failed, German police came in to assist. The victims were first herded to the so-called assembly points. The assembly point for the western part of the ghetto was the hospital at 75 Drewnowska St. [see: Hospital No. 2]; the assembly point for the eastern part was at the hospital at 36 Lagiewnicka St. More than 6,000 people reportedly passed through that place, and later were transported in cars to the Radogoszcz railway station in an area that was called Marysin. From there, these victims were shipped off to the death camp at Chelmno-nad-Nerem and killed. Photographs from September 1942 capture a solemn picture: one can see that people were trying to save their lives, trying to escape; they were doing their best to carry their children out of that place, but they were kept in place by the police.

This was the one of the most tragic events in the history of the Lodz ghetto. Records show that 15,681 people were deported from the ghetto between September 3 and 12, 1942. Inside the ghetto, the German forces killed about 600 people, mainly the parents of the deported children.

Afterwards, tailoring workshops responsible for making military uniforms and civilian suits were established in the buildings at 36 and 37 Lagiewnicka St.

At the end of August 1944, after almost all the inhabitants of the ghetto had been deported, the building that once housed Hospital No.1 began to operate as a camp for the approximately 600 people officially left behind. The Nazi administrator, Hans Biebow, had selected these individuals to work in Germany, and, thus, they were spared the deportation to Auschwitz. They included many representatives of the Jewish administration from Balucki Rynek. They left Lodz at the end of October 1944. Most of them survived the war.

Since the action was proceeding extremely fast, and the trucks were constantly arriving and leaving the hospital, the officials assigned to making lists of the deportees at the assembly points could not manage to record the names of the people brought in, and so only part of them were included on the lists; others were taken away from the ghetto in trucks, and individual information has not, and probably never will, be established.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, September 14, 1942, Vol. 2, p. 246.

On the 1st of this month, the Eldest of the Jews, Chairman Ch. M. Rumkowski, was 64. The closest co-workers of Mr. Chairman congratulated him on his birthday in the evening hours, in his private apartment in Hospital No.1. On his birthday, Mr. Chairman was presented with numerous gifts made by artisans employed in the labor departments. Numerous gifts reveal very high artistic skills, and will undoubtedly be of historical value in the future.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, March 10-24, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 88.

On Saturday, December 27th, a marriage ceremony united the Eldest of the Jews, M.Ch. Rumkowski, with Regina Weinberger, Master of Arts in Law. The wedding took place in Mr. Chairman's apartment in Hospital No. 1. The ceremony was attended by a small family circle and the closest co-workers of the ghetto superior. Rabbi Fajner presided over the wedding.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, December 26-28, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 340.

Today we went on an "excursion" in the hospital on Lagiewnicka Street to see the X-ray machine and the X-ray examinations. We attended the X-ray examinations of primary school children who were sent by the tuberculosis clinic. There were signs of tuberculosis in almost all the children. This week dozens of people arrived from Warsaw. They are telling all kinds of atrocities about the local situation, but none of them has this terrible sallow, tuberculous complexion common in our ghetto.
Dawid Sierakowiak, August 20, 1942.

The assembly camp located at 36 Lagiewnicka St. is not leaving yet. The workers housed in barracks there are filling various orders. They even come to our labor department and produce bags for cement. No one knows how long they will be employed to fill these orders.
Jakub Poznanski, Diary from the Lodz Ghetto, September 2, 1944, p. 211.