Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

The Jewish Police - Order Service (Ordnungsdienst)
1 Lutomierska 51. (Hamburgerstrasse)

The Order Service, or the Jewish police as it was often referred to, was set up by Rumkowski on April 11, 1940. This was based on the order of Franz Schiffer, the mayor (Oberbürgermeister) of Lodz. The main task of the Jewish police was to guard the ghetto entrances with the German police, and maintaining order inside the confined Jewish district. As time passed, the police duties expanded: fighting the black market, corruption and strikes, and eventually assisting with executions, arrests, and organizing people for deportations to the death camps. This was all carried out under the supervision of Police Commander Leon Rosenblatt. Beginning in September 1944, after the ghetto had been fully liquidated and only a clean-up crew remained, the Order Service was supervised by Mordka Brauder.

Rumkowski had initially appointed 250 people to the Jewish police, but by 1942 the law-enforcement unit numbered more than 1,100 officers. One year later, that police force grew to 1,200 people. The ghetto was divided into five districts with a separate police station serving each district: Station 1 at 27 Franciszkanska St.; Station 2 at 56 Aleksandrowska (Limanowskiego) St.; Station 3 at 61 Lagiewnicka St.; Station 4 at 69 Marysinska St.; and Station 5 at 36 Zagajnikowa St. The Order Service grew to include the Investigation Department and a special commando unit, the so-called Sonderkommando (starting Oct. 31, 1942 it was called the Sonderabteilung). The Sonderkommando participated in the confiscation of Jewish property and fought all resistance in the ghetto.

The Jewish police wore white armbands with a blue Star of David on their sleeves, and caps with red hatbands. They were armed with rubber batons. At the beginning, they were ranked like the pre-war Polish police; later German ranks were introduced. A women's police unit operated as a part of the Order Service starting in November 1942. The officers wore green uniforms and caps with yellow hatbands, and emblazoned on their arms was FOD (Frauen-Ordnungs-Dienst - Women's Order Service). They were assigned mainly to supervise orphans whose parents had either died or were deported.

The police headquarters building at 1 Lutomierska St. no longer exists. A new structure was constructed in its place in 1950s.

On the 26th, an emergency was commanded for the Order Service in order to suppress a violation of the curfew, which happened frequently these days. Punctually at 9 p.m., numerous patrols of the Order Service started their duty on all the ghetto streets, urging the people to go home and directing the slow pedestrians to the district stations, where they were inflicted with fines or arrest for walking the streets after 9 p. m.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, November 23, 1942, Vol. 2, p. 392.

The Order Service officers in the ghetto are placed as follows: a total of 528 people in the five stations and in the Investigation Department, 35 people in the Isolation Service, 298 people in the fire guard unit, to prevent houses and staircases from the threat of fire, 176 people in the fire brigade, 39 chimney sweeps, 35 people in the Central Prison, in total 1,111 people.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, May 21-26, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 163.

The ghetto policemen - who were those people? What did they feel in those inhuman days of repeating "shperas"? They were also taking their relatives and even children away. They were also crying, trying to work out a compromise with themselves, starving, maybe a little less than the others, but that was also a terrible hunger. During that horrible "shpera" many of them did not want to part with their children and chose to share their way, the last cry and the last complaint against the atrocities of this world. And those who were saving their lives at someone else's cost, should they be condemned? Is there a price for one's own and other's life, which cannot, which must not ever be paid?
Michal Mosze Chęciński, My Father's Watch, p. 131