Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

Schupo and Gestapo 1 Limanowskiego St. (Alexandershofstrasse)

The building on the corner housed the branch office of the Lodz Gestapo and the 6th District of the Schupo during the war. Here the ghetto was submitted to political and police supervision.

The Schupo watched over everything. It stood guard so that no one could escape from the ghetto or enter its area illegally. The ghetto guardhouses were under the supervision of the commander of the Schupo. There were five in all: at Podrzeczna and Zachodnia streets; at Franciszkanska and Smugowa streets; at Sporna and Boya-Zelenskiego streets; at Inflancka and Zagajnikowa streets; and at Okopowa and Franciszkanska streets. Moreover, sentry posts were placed every 50 to 100 meters along the ghetto borders and the two separated thoroughfares, Zgierska and Limanowskiego streets, that cut through the ghetto.

As of 1942, the number of sentry posts decreased to one for every 400 meters. The ghetto was surrounded with barriers and barbed-wire fences. It was easy to keep watch. The Schupo had back-up from special units of the police and the SS, and in late 1940 and early 1941 a police battalion from Hamburg was added. A special battalion of nearly 600 officers of the order-keeping police began operations in April 1941.

Some of the officers would fire at the Jews who approached the ghetto borders, or even walked along the barbed-wire fences. Often, the shooting was done for fun. They killed many people this way, but they did not have to excuse themselves for it. According to an order issued by the Schupo commander of June 1941, the officers were allowed to fire without warning at any Jew trying to leave the ghetto. That order was often abused.

At Balucki Rynek [see: Balucki Rynek ], the Schupo officers took over the transports of Jews arriving in the ghetto. With the participation of the Gestapo, the notorious secret state police, they confiscated the people's belongings, mainly money and jewellery. They were often very brutal.

As early as April 1940, the Gestapo occupied two separate rooms in the same building at 1 Limanowskiego St. Beginning in late 1941, the Gestapo followed the instructions of the Reich's Main Security Office concerning the so-called Final Solution to the Jewish Question. It was the Gestapo officials who directly participated in the transplant of thousands of Jews from the regional area and neighboring countries to the Lodz ghetto, and, subsequently, in the gradual deportation to Chelmno-nad-Nerem and Auschwitz. The Gestapo applied random terror, arrest, and executions. It had its agents in the ghetto. With an extermination policy in place, this terror unit had the support of other units of the Nazi police and the SS, along with the Jewish Order Service, particularly its special division, the so-called Sonderkommando.

In 1984, on the 40th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto, city officials erected a plaque on this building to commemorate the tragic events that befell the 200,000 Jews and 20,000 Gypsies.

Commander of the Order Service, Mr. Rozenblat, and adjutant of its headquarters, Engineer Grosbart, were summoned to the seat of the 6th Schupo district, which the ghetto is subordinate to located outside of the ghetto, at the corner of Limanowskiego and Zgierska streets. The German authorities held a briefing with them with regard to the change of the Schupo crew on guard duty around the ghetto. Local police officers and representatives of the police headquarters from Radom participated in the conference on the German side. They demanded that the commander of the Order Service submit detailed reports on the structure of his unit, the range of duties of the Eldest of the Jews and the condition of the inhabitants of the ghetto, a map of the ghetto and its division into departments, addresses of all district offices and institutions, data on the population density of separate quarters, and other statistical figures.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, April 7, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 118.