The Ghetto Lodz Liquidation
The deportation and liquidation of the Lodz ghetto began on August 1, 1944. Thousands of Jews were expelled from the ghetto in groups. The deportation was selected by street, area or neighborhood. Depending on the quantity required by the Gestapo dictate. The ghetto leaders, with Chairman Rumkowski, provided the victims with the help of the Jewish policemen who were involved in the evacuation.
First, according to the instructions of the Germans, a small railway was built inside the ghetto, for one car and next to it a small platform. When they emptied a section or street of Jews in the ghetto, they made sure that their number, reached about 120 “pieces”. Then a train car arrived near the platform.
We were led to the platform that was adjacent to these railroad tracks. The Jewish ghetto policemen helped us get into this freight car. There was a terrible urgency. First, the caravan is not intended for human beings, nor can the caravan accommodate such a high number of people. When our group got into the caravan, the German inspector gave the command, and the sliding door was locked with a frighten noise, from the outside. Avoiding any possibility of escape.
The hustle and bustle were terrible. The car had no vent. The caravan is built so that between the wooden boards there is a groove of less than a single centimeter, through which some air enters. No window.
When the caravan was closed, a locomotive arrived. Attach it to the trailer. The locomotive led a caravan to some place and stopped. I realized that the locomotive was collecting the carriages that formed finally a long train, with 2,000 - 3.000 victims. I remember the moments of quarrels that broke out between people. After about two days of traveling, the quarrels ceased. Some of the people, were already. half unconscious. Today I do believe, we stood in the same place until midnight. This is the time it took to evacuate 2,000-3,000 Jews from the ghetto and fill 20-30 wagons. Now, the train was ready to go. We did not know where the train was expressing us.
But the Nazi Germans, had a more sophisticated plan. Mostly, to carry out, what they had officially promised. After all, the evacuation of the Lodz ghetto was in 1944. The public summary of the Wannsee conference in Berlin, was openly stated. Their goal is to exterminate Jews, and to get rid of the Jewish problem.
According to the plan, the train had to reach Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. This extermination place was well prepared, but sometimes the quota was too big for the four bunkers and crematoriums “only” which were build there and worked 24/7 non stop. Why not help them?
The train, instead of getting to Auschwitz in 8-10 hours, today, I will simply say: The train I rode with my mother and sister to Aushwitz-Birkenau’ traveled for 6 days and nights.
I would like to point out a fact. For all the days the train traveled and occasionally also stopped, the sliding door was not open and we were not given any food, neither any drink whatsoever. The result was exactly what the Nazis intended - Nearly a third of the passengers were found dead when we arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau. As I exited from my corner of the caravan, on my way to the open sliding door, I saw in the center of the caravan, a bucket, with the needs that had accumulated during the long traveling days. Around the bucket, a pile of corpses were laying “quietly”.
I will add another fact. The locomotive crew and all the staff for the whole railway, were Poles. They knew very well what was in these carriages, leading. I was deported from the Lodz ghetto on August 22, 1944. Exactly two days, before my 20th birthday.
I arrived in Auschwitz, having in my left lung, still my pneumonia sickness with 5 cm. of fluid…..