WIRTUALNE MUZEUM Dziedzictwo Żydów Łódzkich

Our Objective is Labor
Bałuty Ghetto 1940–1944

02. Policy towards the Jewish population

The ordinances of the German government targeting the Jews before the establishment of the ghetto went much further than those in the so-called Old Reich. The order of the Chief of Civil Administration of the 8th Army dated September 18, 1939 restricted currency exchange and prohibited trade in leather goods and textiles. By the order of the Chief of the police in Łódź dated October 31, 1939, from November 1, 1939, all enterprises and shops had to be clearly labeled with signboards indicating the nationality of the owner. On November 14, 1939, the president of the Kalisz-Łódź Region, Friedrich Übelhoer, issued another decree, ordering all Jews to be marked with an armband with the Star of David, the lack of which was punished by death. A month later, the order was replaced by a decree issued by the governor of the Warta Land, Arthur Greiser of December 11, 1939. According to the new regulation, instead of the armband, all the Jews had to wear a yellow Star of David on their chest and back. The Jews were banned from Piotrowska Street and, city parks and public transport. They were also prohibited from leaving their homes from 5 pm until 8 am. The intelligentsia: lawyers, teachers, artists and doctors were also eliminated from the economic life. The Jews of Łódź were destitute.
“They started catching Jews in the street and forcing them to do various types of labor. That work was not useful. It was about the humiliation of human dignity, exposing them to ridicule, beatings and torture.”
Jakub Poznański
“On the second day after the Nazis had come to Łódź, a car with eight Germans arrived at the corner of Cegielniana and Piotrowska Streets. They formed a line and stopped the Jews (...) They beat and kicked them until they started bleeding. Several small boys pointed the Jews to the Germans. At one point, it was tahe Jewish water carrier, aged about fifty-five. The Germans set fire to his beard, and when while it burned, they poured a bucket of cold water on him.”
Gitla Murawiecka
“The largest synagogue in Łódź with a great, high dome and enormous stained-glass windows was on fire! German soldiers surrounded it with a sneer on their faces, while police and firefighters watched helplessly as the fire devoured the building. Standing stock still, I also watched, unable to understand why no one would lift a finger to extinguish the fire.”
Sara Zyskind