- Paperback: 551 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300039247
- ISBN-13: 978-0300039245
- Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 4.5 x 24.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 419,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-44 Paperback – 1 Jan 1984
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From the Back Cover
A devastating, day-by-day record of life in the second-largest Jewish ghetto Nazi Europe a community that was reduced from 163,177 people in 1941 to 877 by 1944. Compiled by inhabitants of the ghetto and illustrated with more than seventy haunting photographs, the Chronicle is a document unparalleled among writings on the Holocaust.
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The Lodz ghetto was created by the Germans but not fully liquidated by them until the late summer of 1944. At that time, nearly all of its remaining inhabitants were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Earlier, the Jews of Lodz had been steadily gassed and cremated at nearby Kulmhof (Chelmno). Dobroszycki credits the Poles with playing a major role in bringing these crimes to light: "Since January 1942, both the Polish and the Jewish resistance movements had gradually learned about the existence of the camp in Chelmno and the fates of the Jews deported there. The first information was obtained from Polish railroad workers, local residents, foresters; later, more detailed accounts were to come from eyewitnesses..." (p. xxii). Dobroszycki (p. 40) also points out that Polish Mischlinge (Jewish-gentile "half-breeds") were simply reckoned Jews and exterminated. In contrast, German Mischlinge was spared.
In the chronicle itself, mundane matters predominate. Interestingly, positive references to Poles far exceed negative ones. For instance (May 20, 1942): "The civilian population, the Aryans, and particularly the Poles, were very favourably inclined toward the Jews and, in large measure, the Jews from Brzeziny owe them their lives. They tell of one baker who baked a special quota of bread for the Jews, which he would have little children bring into the ghetto. The little children would bring one batch of bread into the ghetto, and then, before anyone knew it, they'd be back with another. Aryan friends would pass the Jews bacon, meat, and other products through the ghetto fence, more often than not without being paid for it. The Jews from Brzeziny see no analogies with the pre-war situation; anti-Semitism seemed to have vanished completely there." (p. 183). There are reports of Polish smugglers caught and arrested for bringing goods into the ghetto (December 10, 1942; p. 299. February 15, 1943; p. 320).
The foregoing accounts parallel, in many ways, those of Emmanuel Ringelblum relative to the Warsaw ghetto. They suggest that Poles and Jews did in fact tend to draw closer together during the German occupation of Poland. This is contrary to the position held by Yisrael Gutman.
Unlike some authors, those of this chronicle do not cast Mordecai Chaim Rumkowski (Rumkovsky), the Eldest of the Jews, in a negative light. However, in common with chroniclers of other ghettos, they do present the Jewish ghetto police in a collaborationist light, at least during the time of the deportations to the death camps (September 14, 1942): "In the meantime, the Jewish police were searching the apartments and bringing out anyone who had been hiding or people who were ill." (p. 251). A similar situation is described as follows (Thursday, July 13, 1944): "A shameful, shocking street scene. Jews hunting other Jews like game. A real Jew-hunt, organized by Jews. But what is to be done; there is no choice. Anyone who is called up must report." (p. 525).
Oddly enough, the chronicle does not mention significant events occurring outside the Lodz ghetto itself. For instance, there is no mention of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April-May 1943) or of the general Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944).