Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Ghetto Lodz

The Postal Service and the Main Treasury
4/6 Plac Koscielny (Kirchplatz)

The ghetto postal service was established as early as March 15, 1940, shortly after the separate Jewish district was set up in the Baluty area. The post office was located in the building at 4/6 Plac Koscielny. Within a few weeks, a parcel section was established. A branch office was also established at 1 Dworska St. (now called Organizacji WiN Street) [see: Dworska Street].

Letters arrived in a barrack at Balucki Rynek, which functioned as a junction of the Aryan and the Jewish .world. The outgoing mail was also collected there before it was sent further. The postal workers' task was the distribution of both official and private mail. The postmen wore uniform-like dark suits and caps with distinct official hatbands. At one point, the ghetto post had planned to issue its own stamps with Rumkowski's image. Eye-witness accounts, however, assert that the stamps had only been printed 1 and were never put into circulation. The German authorities, it was said, would not allow it.

In the post office, one could receive parcels from occupied Poland and abroad. But what one could and could not receive or send out varied at different stages of the ghetto's existence. Beginning in June 1940, the ghetto inhabitants were not allowed to send any mail for two and a half months. Mail, nevertheless, could be received. In July 1941, the ghetto postal service was forbidden to maintain any correspondence with Belgium, Holland and France. On January 5, 1942, the German authorities withheld the circulation of mail during the deportation period, irrespective of the kind of correspondence and its place of origin. Letters and parcels could be received, but could not be sent. Of course, all correspondence was censored by the Germans.

The building at 4 Plac Koscielny also, housed the Main Treasury, which dealt with all financial matters in the ghetto. It dispersed cash for the salaries of workers and ghetto officials, and dealt with other expenditures of the Ghetto Board. Nearby, there was a pharmacy at 8 Plac Koscielny. Curiously, the very same building still functions as a pharmacy today. Medications can be purchased, just as they were 60 years ago.

I found out that all outgoing letters in the ghetto are censored by the Jewish Mail, and the letters which contain any mention about the conditions in the ghetto, or a request to send a food parcel or money, are destroyed. And this is because Rumkowski does not want the world to know just how bad things are for the Jews in the Litzmannstadt ghetto.
Jehuda Lubinski, A diary from Baluty, February 3, 1941

An announcement was posted in front of the Post Office stating that printed messages allowed in the outgoing mail circulation can be sent to Jews only. Simultaneously, the announcement emphasizes that it is the personal responsibility of the senders that they must absolutely write the names of "Israel" or "Sara" in front of the name of the addressee when addressing printed messages to Jews, residents of the old Reich area.
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, June 18,1942, Vol. 2, p. 68.

The Main Treasury is lacking cash again and is unable to pay the permanent employees, nor can it give any money to the labor departments for their workers' wages. Why such a lack of cash? It is explained very simply and mechanically with the expenditure being larger than the income. But the task of a well-functioning financial apparatus should be regulating the circulation of money so that the income of the treasuries balances out their expenditure, or is even higher, so that the treasuries can have some reserve. On the one hand, enormous prices of food were established in order to draw money to the treasuries, but the rations are so small that the income is insufficient. On the other hand, salaries of a certain category of officials are constantly raised, and so the treasury is making larger expenditures. The calculation is very simple. If every month only 10,000 (i.e. 1/8) of the population receives 100 marks more than they can spend on food rations, we have 1,000,000 marks that is not making it to the Main Treasury in its usual way. That is why the Main Treasury lacks larger and larger amounts of money every month.
Jakub Poznanski, Diary from the Lodz Ghetto, October 3, 1943, p. 123.