Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Bazarowy Square (Bazarplatz) today Plac Piastowski

This large square, now called Plac Piastowski, was the site where ghetto inmates were publicly executed.

During the war, this was a bazaar, a marketplace called Bazarowy or Bazarny Square. Trade was conducted here also during the ghetto years. The name of this square carried a frightening notoriety. It was mainly the newly-arrived deportees from outside Poland that witnessed the first public execution here on February 21, 1942. On that day, Maks Hertz, a printer deported from Cologne, was hanged. Hertz arrived in the ghetto with his wife and their 9-year old daughter. He managed to slip out, but, in a cruel twist of fate, he was caught at a train station when the patch with the Star of David fell out of his pocket. He was handed over to the Central Prison in the ghetto. The harsh sentence was carried out as a warning to the other ghetto Jews. Within a few months, another execution took place. Two men were executed for attempting to escape from a forced labor site near Poznan. One of victims was only 16.

On September 7, 1942, an additional 17 Jews deported from Pabianice were hanged.

At 2 Bazarna St., not far from the square, a quilts department was located. Offices for the newly arrived were situated nearby at Rybna Street.

Saturday, February 21, will remain in the memory of the ghetto inhabitants for a long time. On that day, the first public execution was carried out. The large square at Bazarna and Lutomierska streets was chosen for the execution place. The population did not know until the last minute that an execution was to take place at that square. Still, on the previous evening, however, a rumor spread that a public meeting is going to be called at the "Bazaar" on Saturday morning. The source of that rumor was an order, which the Displaced Persons Office received on Friday from the [German] authorities; namely, the Office was ordered to call all the Collectives and the Jews from Western Europe to report at 1Oa.m. at the "Bazaar." [...] A gallows was set in the very center of the square. Punctually, at 10:30, the sentenced was walked out of the building at 8 Rybna St. He remained completely calm to the last moment. He did not break down, even while walking from Rybna Street when he saw the crowds of people at Bazarny Square (about 8,000 German Jews were brought as an audience), standing in rows around the square. Many men gathered in the square started saying the prayer for the dead (Kaddish) the moment the body hung from the noose. Representatives of the authorities, after taking photographs, returned to their cars and left the ghetto immediately after the execution.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, February 1942, p. 406.

Today about 11 a.m., the second public execution was carried out in the ghetto at the square at Bazarna Street. Two men were hanged on the gallows: a 16-year-old, Grynbaum, from Pabianice, and a 45-year-old, Markowski. They were executed for escaping from a labor camp near Poznan.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, July 22,1942, p. 148.

Those who walked past Bazarowy Square on the morning of July 22 were already sure it was true. A double gallows was put up in front of the planks warehouse of the Wooden Products Department. The Jewish carpenters had to construct it, following exactly the German instructions, and the Jewish workers had to put it up. The Jewish police stood guard until that terrible hour. The execution was scheduled at 11 a.m. Those who know the Germans can be sure that it will be carried out exactly at 11.
Oskar Singer, Walking Quickly through the Ghetto, p. 48.

Max Hertz brought from Cologne
on October 23, 1941
went back to the station
but when paying for his ticket
a star fell out of his pocket
right into the ticket clerk's eye
and he hung over the bazaar
showing the shortest way back
to Europe
Henryk Grynberg, Hamburg Elysee (fragment)