How Were The Lodz Ghettos Grim For Jews Living There? El Cerrito High School World War Ii Essay

1748 words - 7 pages

Jeanne Leann Abenoja  
Ms. Hebden 
WWII - B2 
17 April 2019 
Digging My Own Grave 
September 1, 1939: Poland has just been invaded by Germany. The entirety of it is 
immensely understated especially when it comes to what happened to the Jews. It began in the very 
beginning during German occupation, when Poland didn’t know what to do with the millions of 
Jews living within the nation. It was then decided that these Jews are to be moved to Ghettos set up 
in the towns and cities occupied by Germany. The very process of evicting Jews from their houses 
was beyond horrifying. 100 Jews were shot because they took too long to get out the house. That 
was “Bloody Thursday,” March 16, 1940. Unbelievable! The largest ghetto was set in the city of 
Warsaw, and the second largest was the The Lodz ghetto. It was set in the city of Lodz where 
240,000 Jews resided. These ghettos were managed and monitored by someone called the Judenrat. 
A Judenrat is a Jewish man chosen by the SS authorities to help them enforce their laws. In the Lodz 
ghetto, Chaim Rumkowski was the Judenrat. He was in charge of the food distributions, the ghetto 
police force, hospitals, burials, housing assignments (it was woeful) and all German directives. He 
also appointed a Jewish police force that consisted of criminals and bullies who joined to help the 
Germans. They even helped round up Jews who were to be deported. Oh, how despised they were. 
Jews who were deported faced an unknown misery. Many would rather stay and live the grim misery 
they knew than the one they didn’t.  
Life in the Lodz ghetto was unimaginable for Jews. There was corruption within the system 
where the “favored” were treated generously, which led to the starvation of others. The lack of 
health and sanitary services led to exposure and eventually, diseases such as typhus. And the 
hopelessness in facing the violent misery of everyday and the anxiety of being deported into the land 
of nowhere.  
Corruption in the ghetto was immense. It brought out the worst of human nature. Dawid 
Sierakowiak explained that the wealthy classes would indulge themselves to the utmost. He even 
compared those who were “favored” by the authorities, to those who were barely surviving. He 
continued, “Old clogs and beautiful knee boots; warm apartments and wet, cold hovels; read healthy 
necks and pale, bony ‘hourglasses’--- these were the symbols of the class structure in the ghetto.” 
(​Doc 2​) That said, other than class structure being the foundation of the corruption, people of 
authority and power also exploited and took advantage of their positions. Lucille Eichengreen, a 
resident of the Lodz ghetto explained the abuse of women by the Judenrat, Chaim Rumkowski. She 
described him as someone with a vile temper. “If he got angry he would take his cane and hit you,” 
she added. She even admitted,  
“I was alone in the office and he would pull up a chair and we had a couple of 
conversations,. He talked, I would listen...

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