Historical Background

In World War II and a few months after being conquered by the German Wehrmacht in September 1939,  Łódź was re-named to “Litzmannstadt” and became was a center of the German poplulation politics and policy of extermination in Poland. The settlement of Germans in the to be “germanized” Warthegau was initiated and orchestrated here. Under this policy, thousends of the local and regional Polish Jews were forced to move to the installed city’s ghetto that had at first been installed to be temporary, but in the end existed for more than 4 years (until August 1944/January 1945), longer than most other ghettos.onzentriert, das zunächst nur vorübergehend bestehen sollte, letztlich aber über vier Jahre bestand.

The second largeste ghetto – following the one in Warsaw: detained were approx. 160,000 Jewish people from Łódź and surrounding areas. Further 20,000 Jews from Berlin, Prague, Vienna and other Western cities were deported here as well as 5,000 Sinti and Roma from the Burgenland.

In this period, approx. 46,000 inhabitants of the ghetto died in this systematically undersupplied ghetto, from hunger, disease, violence.

During the ghetto‘s existence and up until its liquidation, inhabitants were deported to Auschwitz or to Chełmno/Kulmhof, the latter being a camp designed solely for extermination and death by
gassing. By August 1944 of those approx. altogether 185,000 ghetto inhabitants about 800 to 900 people were left in the ghetto as “Aufräumkommando” (commando to clear up) until they were finally freed by the Soviet army in January 1945.