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News

New online lesson: Jews from the Litzmannstadt Ghetto in KL Auschwitz

ps
13-01-2020

"Jews from the Łodz Ghetto in KL Auschwitz" is a new online lesson prepared by the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. Its author is Dr. Adam Sitarek, from the Center for Jewish Research at the University of Łódź. The lesson is available in Polish, English and Hebrew.

 

Before World War II Łódź was inhabited by about 230,000 Jews. They accounted for one-third of the city's population. In March 1940, they were resettled to the Jewish quarter, which became a closed quarter on 30 April. Following the outbreak of the German-Soviet War, Jews from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia as well as from the Third Reich were also resettled to the Warta Country.

However, in the autumn of 1941, the Germans also relocated 20,000 Jews to the Warta Country from the following cities: Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Cologne, Emden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg and Luxembourg. From January 1942, the deportations began from the Litzmannstadt ghetto to the extermination centre in Chełmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof). By the end of July 1942, 55,000 Jews were sent to the Kumholf camp, followed by another 15,000 in September.

The deportation action of Jews from the Litzmannstadt Ghetto to Auschwitz began in August 1944.

‘The entire lesson has been divided into 6 main chapters, in which the history of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto up to 1944 is presented, the process of the liquidation of the ghetto described in detail, as well as the extent to which Jews imprisoned in the ghetto, were aware of the tragic situation in which they found themselves. Subsequent parts of the lesson relate the very moment of arrival at Auschwitz, the annihilation in the gas chambers and the fate of those deported from the ghetto who were imprisoned in the camp after selection," said Agnieszka Juskowiak-Sawicka, Head of E-learning at the ICEAH.

The Jews deported to Auschwitz from the Litzmannstadt ghetto, who successfully passed the selection process, were divided into two groups: prisoners registered and those placed in the camp as "deposits", i.e. without registration, detained for possible use by the German authorities.

"In the initial moments and days of my stay in Auschwitz, I was in a state of shock; in fact, I did not fully understand what was happening around me. I had the impression that I was already dead or in another infernal world. Everywhere in the camp one could smell a specific odour of burnt meat. People inquired as to where the smell came from, but in fact, without explanation, it could be deduced that human bodies are being burnt nearby [...]. We discussed among ourselves that soon we would also go to that "frying pan". We had no idea what the immediate moments would bring about in this hell," we read in Bencjon Hill Landau's account of his feelings upon arrival at KL Auschwitz.

Research by Auschwitz Museum historian Andrzej Strzelecki, author of the book - The Deportation of Jews from the Litzmannstadt Ghetto to KL Auschwitz and their Extermination, shows that 67% of these Jews were murdered in gas chambers. Only a little over 3,000 were placed in Auschwitz as registered prisoners, and about 19,000 were transferred to other concentration camps without registration.