The Establishment of the Lodz Ghetto
(December 10, 1939)
Establishment of a Ghetto in the City of Lodz
In Greater Lodz there are today 320,000 Jews* according to my estimate. Their immediate evacuation is not possible. Thorough investigations by all offices concerned indicate that it is possible to collect all the Jews in a closed ghetto. The Jewish question in the city of Lodz must be solved in the following manner for the time being:
1. The Jews living north of the line formed by Listopada Street... will be collected in a closed ghetto. Firstly, an area around the Freiheitsplatz, required for the establishment of a German power center, will be cleansed of Jews; and, secondly, the northern part of the city, which is inhabited almost exclusively by Jews, will be included in the ghetto.
2. Jews fit for work living in other parts of the city of Lodz will be collected for labor battalions, housed in barracks and guarded.
Preparations and execution of this plan will be carried out by a staff which will include representatives of the following authorities and offices:
1. N.S.D.A.P. (Nazi Party)
2. The [branch] office in Lodz of the Local Governor in Kalisch.
3. The City Administration of Lodz (Departments of Housing, Building, Health, Nutrition, etc.)
4. Order Police
5. Security Police
6. Deaths Head Unit (Totenkopfverband) [of the SS]
7. Chamber of Trade and Industry
8. Finance Department
I shall serve as Chairman of the Staff for this operation....
The first task of the Staff will be to decide on borders of the ghetto that is to be established, and the settling of problems that will arise, such as the re-aligning of thoroughfares, tramway lines, etc. Further, it is to be ascertained immediately how many Germans and Poles still live in the area of the future ghetto, and will have to be resettled. At the same time, new apartments must be found for this group of persons and made available in order to ensure that the resettlement can be carried out without friction. As far as the Germans are concerned, this will be done by the Party and the City Administration; as regards the Poles, it will be done by the City Administration alone....
After the preparations have been completed and sufficient guard personnel has been made available, the establishment of the ghetto will be carried out all at once, on a date to be decided by myself; this means that at a certain hour the intended border line of the ghetto will be manned by the guards provided for this purpose, and the streets closed by means of barbed-wire barriers and other measures. At the same time a start will be made on the blocking-up and sealing of the fronts of houses at the edge of the ghetto by Jewish labor to be taken from the ghetto. A Jewish autonomous administration will be set up immediately in the ghetto, consisting of the Jewish Elder (Judenaeltester) and a much enlarged Community Council. This Council of the ghetto must carry out the following tasks:
1. Department of Nutrition...
2. Department of Health...
3. Department of Finance...
4. Department of Security...
5. Department of Housing...
6. Department of Registration...
The Nutrition Department of the city of Lodz will deliver the required foodstuffs and fuel at locations in the ghetto still to be decided, and hand these over to the representative of the Jewish administration for distribution. The principle must be that foodstuffs and fuel can be paid for only by means of an exchange of materials, such as textiles, etc. In this way we should succeed in getting from the Jews all their hoarded and hidden items of value....
At the same time, i.e., shortly after the establishment of the ghetto, Jews living outside the ghetto who are unfit for work are to be moved off into the ghetto (Security Police, Order Police, City Administration). The apartments vacated in other parts of the city as a result of the removal of the Jews must be guarded against illegitimate interference. The strongest measures are to be taken against Jews who carry out malicious damage when they are forcibly moved from their apartments....
The creation of the ghetto is, of course, only a temporary measure. I reserve to myself the decision concerning the times and the means by which the ghetto and with it the city of Lodz will be cleansed of Jews. The final aim (Endziel) must in any case bring about the total cauterization of this plague spot.
Eksterminacja, pp. 77-81.
* The City of Lodz, which housed the second-largest Jewish population in Poland, was included in the areas annexed to the Reich. According to the Record of Pinkas ha-Kehillot Polin, I, Lodz ve-ha-Galil ("Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, I, The Communities of Lodz and its Region"), Jerusalem, 1976, p. 24, the estimated number of Jews in Lodz in 1939 was 219,866.
Source: Yad Vashem