Lodz Ghetto Database
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Lodz-Names: A Record of the 240,000 Inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto
From the five-volume work published in 1994 jointly by the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel (OFRLI) and Yad Vashem as Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944. (Other titles: Lodz - shemot: reshimat toshvei ha-geto, 1940-1944; Shemot Lodz).
About the Ghetto
· About the Łódź Ghetto · Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944
Prior to World War II, one-third of the 665,000 inhabitants of the city of Łódź were Jewish. On September 8, 1939, the city was captured by the Germans and renamed "Litzmannstadt". In February 1940, a ghetto was created and, in April, was sealed off with wooden fences and barbed wire. Transports arrived from many other towns elsewhere in Poland, and from Vienna, Prague, Berlin, and other cities throughout Europe, including Poland and Luxembourg. Approximately 60,000 inhabitants were packed into each square kilometer of the ghetto.
· Origins · Format of the Books · Format of the Database · Comments · Examples of Using this Database · Additional Information and Sources · Availability of Published Volumes · Acknowledgements · Searching the Database
Provisions were scarce, and famine and disease were common. The ghetto became the main Jewish slave-labor camp for the Nazis. Tailors and linen manufacturers made uniforms and civilian clothing. Shoemaking, tannery, metal, electrical, furniture, and furrier workshops existed. Several political and social groups met secretly in the ghetto. The health department ran hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. Forty-five primary religious and secular schools, two high schools, and one vocational school existed. Public kitchens were organized in schools, factories, and offices. The ghetto also included old age homes, an orphanage, a courthouse, and a prison.
Starvation and disease killed many of the Jews in the ghetto. However, the direct extermination of the Jews began in 1942, with many Jewish victims sent to the death camp at Chełmno on the Ner River. As a result of successive deportations, the numbers of Jews in the ghetto decreased to 70,000 people. In the second half of June 1944, as the Soviet Army approached, the remaining inhabitants were deported to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.
Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944
Population registry books were kept by the Judenrat of the Łódź ghetto from the time of establishment of the Łódź Ghetto in February, 1940 to just prior to its liquidation in August, 1944. Records were maintained by apartment address, and were updated on a continuing basis. In addition to the names of the residents in an apartment, these records sometimes included the former addresses of the inhabitants, dates of birth, occupation, and date of deportation or death of the individual. In August 1944, the Nazis dissolved the Judenrat and the ghetto was liquidated. Thus, no entries were made about the fate of those deported to Auschwitz in the ghetto's last days.
These registry books managed to avoid destruction by the Germans at the time of liquidation of the Ghetto. It includes individuals and families who were residents of Łódź before the Nazi invasion and the many others who were transported to Łódź before being deported on to death camps. It is at once a memorial to the victims of Nazi brutality and a genealogical treasure. Not only was the Łódź ghetto the longest existing ghetto in Poland, but the surviving records are the most detailed of any Polish ghetto.
After World War II, the books were placed at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, until 1967, when they were turned over at the request of the Polish Government to the State Archives in Łódź, where they now reside.
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