Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Zgierska Street (Hohensteinerstrasse)

This major thoroughfare connected the northern and the southern sections of Lodz, thus always performing an important role in the city transportation. When the Nazis created the ghetto, they decided that Zgierska would remain a thoroughfare. The buildings located along this route were in the ghetto, but the actual street itself was foreign turf, the world outside the ghetto. Barbed-wire fencing ran up and down the edges of Zgierska Street. Trams and cars routinely' passed through the center of the ghetto. Initially, the ghetto Jews could move from one part of the ghetto to the other through special gates that were opened at certain hours; in time, wooden footbridges were erected, which made it easier to get from one part of the ghetto to another. Unless they were traveling in a sealed tram, neither Poles nor Germans could enter this street without a special pass.

Many structures along Zgierska Street still exist. The elegant building at 24 Zgierska St., next to Plac Koscielny, housed the Price Control Office and the Sanitary Control Office, as well as a denture manufacturer. The Slippers Section was located at 40 Zgierska St., and Soup Kitchen No.2, reserved for the intelligentsia, operated at 42 Zgierska St. The Metal Department headquarters and a metal-works factory were at 56 Zgierska St. The factory produced different kinds of metal products, such as beds, watering cans, rakes, shovels, forks, and even machines for the production of hats and rubber.

The ground floor held a number of offices, which employed, among others, engineers. About 400 people worked on the two floors and in the adjacent courtyard workshops. Some 100 electricians were permanently employed in various electrical works in the ghetto. The factory employed young boys, as well as trade school students. The Collection Point for Feathers and Down was located at 64 Zgierska St. and a dry cleaning shop operated out of 68 Zgierska St. In the autumn of 1941, the deportees known as Collective "Frankfurt" were housed at 70 Zgierska St.; and beginning in May 1942, the Underwear and Dresses Department worked here. In September of that year, the Clothing Department was also assigned this site.

The soup kitchen for the intelligentsia (41 Zgierska St.) is a typical place for "ex-people" - people who used to occupy important posts, lived their lives to the fullest, and who are currently pushed into the margin. Only if we look at the regular customers of Kitchen No.2 from such a point of view will we be able to understand what this kitchen provides apart from the food; that here, and only here, can they find at least an illusion of what they once were: a certain portion of a kind behavior and attitude towards them,' declassed and impoverished, a clean and neatly set table, an unchipped plate and, last but not least, a nice environment and well-suited company. The time spent in Kitchen No.2 is not only a meal, but also a time for a mutual exchange of thoughts, a kind of club, where those 'ex-people" meet during the lunch hour.
The Chronicle of the Lodz. Ghetto, March 4,1941, Vol. 1; p. 72

A metal-works factory with a wide range of products is located at 56 Zgierska St. It can be claimed without exaggeration that before the war Lodz had no enterprise designed for such universal production. The factory supervised by the Eldest of the Jews covers all the basic branches of the metal industry. So far, the production range of the metal-works factory includes the following branches: molding, locksmith work, lathe work, sheet-metal work, welding, sinking of wells, electrical work, smithery, fittings and precise mechanisms.
The Chronicle of the Lodz. Ghetto, Bulletin 59, March 1941, Vol. 1, p. 91.

Many new workshops have recently opened in the "city," like the one where my father got a job (the leathercraft workshop). There are leathercrafts, embroidery, and even a military furcoat dry-cleaning workshop. Apart from these, the metal-works department is developing better and better, thanks to the orders it receives from Germany. Hundreds of people get jobs and everything would seem to be changing for the better, if it wasn't for the non-decreasing death rate and starvation.
Dawid Sierakowiak, Diary, August 24, 1942.

A large new clothing department managed by Mr. Fein, the former manager of the Social Care Department, is opening at 70 Zgierska St. Its task will be the distribution of clothing and underwear, which the ghetto has supplied significant quantities within the last few months and weeks. The clothing store managed by Mr. Bunin, which so far has been functioning at 30 Franciszkanska St., will still be operating, but as a shoe store only.
The Chronicle of the Lodz. Ghetto, September 21,1942, Vol. 2, p. 253.