Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Glazer's Factory
14 Dworska St. (Matrosengasse, today Organizacji WiN Street

The buildings that once stood at 14 Dworska St. (what is today Organizacji Wolnosc i Niezawislosc Street) are remembered as a particularly important site in Lodz ghetto. Beginning in the autumn of 1940, a school operated in what was the front building; within a few months, a factory opened its doors just behind it.

This factory, a manufacturer of underwear and dresses, was under the direction of Leon Glazer. When it began production at the beginning of 1941, the Glazer factory had 77 machines and 157 workers. The numbers grew steadily month after month. By January 1942, there were 800 machines and more than 1,500 people working two shifts. This ghetto work site produced underwear for men, women and children. An elegant variety of dresses and bras were also part of its output, along with bed linen and an assortment of men's clothes. It's said the Glazer factory clothing was the pride of the ghetto. Apart from adult staff, several hundred children also worked in the factory. Among other things, these children made doll dresses that were supplied to German toy stores.

The Glazer factory and its child workers are illuminated in many historical photographs and ghetto literature. The wonderfully-illustrated Story of a Prince and a Miraculous Country that tells the tale of the children from the Lodz ghetto was created here.

The neighboring buildings at 10 and 16 Dworska St., where other tailoring workshops were located, still exist today. Nearby, the Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd, built in the unique Zakopane-style common in the Polish mountain resort, also survived the war. The church, which dates back to 1907, was closed during the ghetto years.

Our daily life was slowly putting itself in order. Even the schools were opened. All the former junior high school students were gathered in the large building at Dworska Street. Mrs. Rein, formerly director of the school where I passed the entrance exam, was appointed the director of the small teaching staff. Boys and girls who previously belonged to various Zionist organizations in Lodz organized themselves anew as well. They created Hachszara teams for practical agriculture training in the fields of Marysin.
Sara Zyskind, The Stolen Years, p. 30.

Today I registered myself in the school secretariat at Dworska Street. Grades three and four are already starting on Sunday at 14 Otylii St., on this side of the bridge in Marysin. The secondary school is located at 6 Smugowa St. We are supposed to have extra meals at school, but this will be explained exactly on Friday only. So I will be going to school again, of course if I have no job. I have already stopped counting on it. This anarchy in our daily schedule will finally be over, and hopefully so will be the excess philosophizing and its result - depression.
Dawid Sierakowiak, Diary, April 22, 1941, p.14.

On January 17, the dress and underwear factory at 14 Dworska St. celebrated its first anniversary. This enterprise is commonly called in the ghetto "Glazer's department." Within a year, this factory has impressively developed from a small workshop. Currently, it employs 1,500 workers. A magnificent exhibition of dress and underwear patterns was organized in the factory premises to celebrate the anniversary.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, January 14-31, 1942, p. 391.

The school was one of the sections of the Wasche und Kleider Abteilung, and was located at 19 Zydowska Street. After the liquidation of the junior high school in 1941, the ghetto chairman Chaim Rumkowski was concerned about the young people and created the possibility for them to learn a trade. For us it meant the right to a slice of bread and a bowl of soup. In this school we were taught dressmaking, hence its name. But after the course was over, we made children's dresses like the adults did. I can clearly remember piles of those small, dogstooth check-patterned dresses, red and black with a white collar, ready for ironing. Those orders from German companies were accepted by Hans Biebow, the manager of the Gettoverwaltung. We had been making the same kind of dress in the piecework system, on a production line, for two years. Our group was supervised by Mrs. Kujawska. She could forgive a lot and even make corrections where necessary. Mr. Widawski, a specialist on laces and collars, made our work easier. The rhythmic rattle of the sewing machines, the steam of the ironed dresses, the hanging fabrics and the fear of an unfilled production plan were hovering over our heads like ghosts. But the Germans did not manage to snatch everything from us even in that atmosphere of misery, starvation and cold. They could take our piece of bread, a bowl of soup, but they could not deprive us of our dreams and childhood imagination. Full of brave plans and imaginations, we were building in our visions a new kingdom. A kingdom reaching the sky, a kingdom of the promised land, where there was neither starvation, nor the Girl with Matches, nor little Jasio, who did not live to see the spring.

... What I remember best was our literature and drama circle, in which I enthusiastically participated. There were eleven of us, all from the Wasche und Kleider Abteilung and from the dress-making school. We had our lecturers and our newsletter, created illustrations and posters and theater performances. Leon Glazer, the manager of our department, pleaded at Rumkowski's to authorize and support this activity of ours. The meetings were held on Saturdays after dinner at 14 Dworska Street, where the WuKA [Wasche und Kleider Abteilung] headquarters were located. It was a great distinction for the eleven of us. At every meeting we would even receive a loaf of bread and a big piece of sausage. We called those Saturday meetings in Hebrew Oneg Shabbat (Shabbat joy).
Ruth (BerliƄska) Eldar, To Shake the Temple Pillars.