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Lodz-Names: A Record of the 240,000 Inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto

From the five-volume work published in 1994 jointly by the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel (OFRLI) and Yad Vashem as Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944.  (Other titles: Lodz - shemot: reshimat toshvei ha-geto, 1940-1944; Shemot Lodz).

· About the Łódź Ghetto
· Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944
    · Origins
    · Format of the Books
    · Format of the Database
    · Comments
· Examples of Using this Database
· Additional Information and Sources
· Availability of Published Volumes
· Acknowledgements
· Search the Database

About the Ghetto

Prior to World War II, one-third of the 665,000 inhabitants of the city of Łódź were Jewish.  On September 8, 1939, the city was captured by the Germans and renamed "Litzmannstadt".  In February 1940, a ghetto was created and, in April, was sealed off with wooden fences and barbed wire.  Transports arrived from many other towns elsewhere in Poland, and from Vienna, Prague, Berlin, and other cities throughout Europe, including Poland and Luxembourg.  Approximately 60,000 inhabitants were packed into each square kilometer of the ghetto.

Provisions were scarce, and famine and disease were common.  The ghetto became the main Jewish slave-labor camp for the Nazis.  Tailors and linen manufacturers made uniforms and civilian clothing.  Shoemaking, tannery, metal, electrical, furniture, and furrier workshops existed.  Several political and social groups met secretly in the ghetto.  The health department ran hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics.  Forty-five primary religious and secular schools, two high schools, and one vocational school existed.  Public kitchens were organized in schools, factories, and offices.  The ghetto also included old age homes, an orphanage, a courthouse, and a prison.

Starvation and disease killed many of the Jews in the ghetto.  However, the direct extermination of the Jews began in 1942, with many Jewish victims sent to the death camp at Chełmno on the Ner River.  As a result of successive deportations, the numbers of Jews in the ghetto decreased to 70,000 people.  In the second half of June 1944, as the Soviet Army approached, the remaining inhabitants were deported to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944

Origins

Population registry books were kept by the Judenrat of the Łódź ghetto from the time of establishment of the Łódź Ghetto in February, 1940 to just prior to its liquidation in August, 1944.  Records were maintained by apartment address, and were updated on a continuing basis.  In addition to the names of the residents in an apartment, these records sometimes included the former addresses of the inhabitants, dates of birth, occupation, and date of deportation or death of the individual.  In August 1944, the Nazis dissolved the Judenrat and the ghetto was liquidated.  Thus, no entries were made about the fate of those deported to Auschwitz in the ghetto's last days.

These registry books managed to avoid destruction by the Germans at the time of liquidation of the Ghetto.  It includes individuals and families who were residents of Łódź before the Nazi invasion and the many others who were transported to Łódź before being deported on to death camps.  It is at once a memorial to the victims of Nazi brutality and a genealogical treasure.  Not only was the Łódź ghetto the longest existing ghetto in Poland, but the surviving records are the most detailed of any Polish ghetto.

After World War II, the books were placed at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, until 1967, when they were turned over at the request of the Polish Government to the State Archives in Łódź, where they now reside.

Yad Vashem, with the assistance of the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel, was able to purchase a photocopy of the registers from the Polish State Archives.  The information in the registers was reorganized by resident name (from the original organization by apartment and building) and an attempt was made to edit duplicate entries.  The result was published in a five volume set as Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944.  The names are listed in alphabetical order, with a supplement of omitted names in a fifth volume.

The books may be found at Yad Vashem, and copies of the books are available at the Lodz landmanshaft in Israel, as well as at several libraries and research institutions listed below.

The alphabetic registers in the first four books were later entered by volunteers into a database format.

** However, it is important to note that no data from the fifth volume, containing data that was not otherwise included in the alphabetical compilation, is contained in this online database.  The introduction to Volume Five reads "This book lists those inhabitants of Łódź ghetto, who for technical reasons were omitted from previous publications."  The fifth volume contains 223 pages of 20,000 additional entries.  In order to do a complete search, these entries should not be overlooked.  For example, although the surname SCHWARCBERG / SCWARZBERG appears in the surname column in the first four volumes only 20 times, this surname appears over 200 times in Volume Five.  Data from Volume Five is now searchable on-line at JewishGen, as of 2008.  Read more about the Volume Five dataset at: http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Poland/LodzGhettoVol5.html.

Format of the Books

Maintained by the statistical department of the Judenrat (the ghetto's Jewish administration), the records were originally organized by ghetto address.  Before the list was published, the data were computerized and reorganized by surname and given name, in alphabetical order.  The information in the book is organized alphabetically by surname, then by given name.  In addition to columns for surname and given name, there are column headers for “Sex”, “Birth Date”, “Occupation”, “Ghetto Address” and “Notes”.  The “Notes” column includes information such as dates of changes of address, notations as to deportation from the ghetto, and death dates.  There is often information on additional items such as maiden name.  Information for an individual is often missing in one or more columns.  In an effort to include all information, there are many instances of an individual being listed more than once, with either identical statistical information, or statistical information which could lead to the conclusion that two or more entries are for an identical individual.

Format of the Database

In compiling the online database, information was reorganized for clarity, and separated into additional data fields to allow greater searchability.  Addresses for an individual entry were each placed into a separate field.

Each record consists of nine fields, with the following information:

  • Surname, in alphabetical order
  • Maiden name (occasionally)
  • Given name
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Occupation (usually in German, also in Polish)
  • Ghetto address
  • Apartment number
  • Notes: This section may include previous address* or town**, date of death or deportation (and possibly the transport number)

* Łódź street names are listed as renamed by the Germans in 1939-1940.  To find the equivalent Polish street names, and a key to comparing German and Polish street names, see: http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Lodz/streets.htm.

** The Germans renamed many towns in 1939-1940.  Equivalent Polish town names may be found in Lodz Ghetto Deportations and Statistics, Table C.

In August 1944, the Nazis dissolved the Judenrat and the ghetto was liquidated.  Thus, no entries were made about the fate of those deported to Auschwitz in the ghetto's last days.  The absence of such information is a clue in itself, however, especially if there is evidence the individual was still alive in 1944.

In the ninth column, Notes, German or Polish abbreviations are used to denote the movements or fate of the individual, as on the following chart:

Abbreviations in Lodz Names
German or Polish English
ABG + date Change of registration to new address
AG or A.G. + date Change of registration to new address, or deportation (to Chełmno);
AG may be used as an abbreviation of either "Abgang" or "Ausgang"
AGE (unknown)
A.M. (unknown)
ANG Change of registration to new address
AUSG + date Deportation (to Chełmno)
AUSG TR + date Deportation with transport number (to Chełmno)
DODomicile
DOM Domicile
GEST Died
OMYLK WPIS Mistaken entry
PRZ do M + No.Moved to moved to app. no. in same house
PRZ dom + No. Moved to other house in same street
S. See, compare
SIEHE See, compare
UBERMEL Relocated
UM Relocated, moved
UMG Relocated, moved
WYM + date Change of registration to new address
ZAM Zameldowane = Registered in
ZMARL Died

Comments

This database was created by Alexander Avraham at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel.  Alex comments:

The original data contains two, some people say three, official censuses/registrations within the ghetto between 1941-1944 (there are even records where the year 1945 is stated).  That is why some inmates appear two or three times within the 242,000 records.  Sometimes one can say exactly when there is a double record for the same person, sometimes not, because mispellings/distortions or differences in (birth) dates.  It seems that at the time of the data entry, an attempt was made to "de-duplicate" double registrations, but obviously it did not succeed entirely.  We have decided to stick with the file as it is and state in a disclaimer that double entries might appear for the same person.

The big problem is that in the original file, the records consist not of separate fields, but of mere lines where the different pieces of information are separated by spaces (not tabs) with no mark for missing items, which causes inconsistence.  Due to similarity in the type of items (i.e. last names and maiden names, three possible sets of addresses in similar format, dates for record modification, deportation and death), it was very difficult to structure the data in a column/field strandard pattern.  That is why it took so long to compile this database: one has to know by heart the geography of the ghetto street by street, hospital by old age home, as well as other street names and cities, to decypher the abbreviations and their true meaning out of a lot of folk stories and contradicting expert advise. I had to ask a lot of people/survivors and to go many times to the microfilm of the original records in order to understand the logic of the actual registration on forms that changed from census to census.  I had to go over tens of thousands of records manually because any subsets I would select would inevitably include hundreds of exceptions I had to handle manually.

The notations census were made in German and/or Polish, there are a lot of erasures, illegible items and wrong entries and all of this is reflected in the digital file.  Notations pertinent to these issues appear in the Notes field, mostly without translation.

A few persons (15-20) appeared not as independent records but by mistake their data was superimposed on the last items of the previous record: I made a new entry for them and made a "remiza" in the Notes pointing to the source record; they appear also in the Notes of the original record itself as registered.

In the Deportation date field there are dates (1942-1944) for which there is no specification of Deportation Type or Transport No. in the file.  Since the dates coincide with the waves of Akzionen/Deportations, and since there is no other information at all, one might suppose this was the date of deportation or the last date an inmate was last heard of.  This is why I put them in the Deportation date field, but there is a question mark still lingering there.

I trust that I succeeded to do a fairly good job (now I can finally sleep well over night) but I am sure it is still not 100%.  On the other hand, I don't know if somebody else, having dedicated so much time and effort over almost an year in and out, would have come with better results.  Handling the data was the easy part, getting to the bottom of the reality behind every item and having it right was the really complicated thing.  It had haunted me ever since I had to present to foreign VIPs, over and over and over again, the Łódź Ghetto exhibit we had for over two years in our museum.

I owe a tribute of recognition to my assistent Zvia Fried who, as a Łódź native and second generation to Lodz ghetto survivors, supported me all along, and not least to Joyce Field, Warren Blatt, Susan King and to Yaacov Lozewick, who nudged me continuously into getting this done.  Thanks a lot.

Alexander Avraham

Examples of Using this Database

Example One:

Below is a copy of sample entries from the book for the family “Rublach”.

Fourteen entries show up, but a comparison of the data fields show that some individuals may have multiple entries.  The most likely explanation is that entries were made at each apartment for an individual and the data was not consolidated there are sometimes slight variations in information, so that it cannot be shown conclusively that two entries are definitely for the same individual.

The following examples illustrate possible interpretations for the entries with the RUBLACH surname:

  1. “RUBLACH, Chaim” with a date of birth of 20/02/1882 is listed twice, with an identical Ghetto address of “Stochen Gasse 9 Flat 6”.

    However, the entries are not identical — the first entry shows the additional entry of “Deutchland”, which could indicate that this individual was brought to the Ghetto from Germany, and also the entry of “AUSG 25.3.42 Tr 25”.  The abbreviation AUSG+25.3.42 (found on the above table) indicates that he was transported to Chełmno on March 25, 1952.  The notation “Tr 25” most likely means “Transport No. 25".

  2. “RUBLACH, Chaja” has three entries — two with a date of birth of “ / / 1922”, and one with a date of birth of “26/ 2/1921".  The address information is identical for the first and third entry, although the notes each have different dates, one indicating a date of “24.3.43, the other “AG 10.6.44” (either change of address or transport to Chełmno on that date).  The second entry may or may not be related to the other two.

  3. “RUBLACH, Ita” has two entries, with the same date of birth, and same address of “Storchen 9” and notation for a “Hamburg” address, so it might be inferred that they represent two moves for the same individual, the first from the Storchen to the Hamburg address on April 7, 1944, the second for a deportation on April 13, 1944.

  4. “RUBLACH, Mordka Icek” and “RUBLACH, Mordka Idel” seem to refer to the same individual; the dates of birth are identical, as is some of the address information and the date of death.

  5. A comparison of addresses (and dates of movement) seems to indicate a familial relationship between these individuals — Storchen 9 was an address for all entries but four, although two different Flat numbers, Flat 4 and Flat 6 are indicated.  Dates of transition are also identical.  For example, Chaja (approximately age 20), Ita (approximately age 18), Liba Ides (approximately age 3), and Mortka Icek (Idel) (approximately age 40) all lived in Flat 4, Storchen 9.

Below is the results screen from this database that would appear corresponding to the book entries as displayed above.  The data was generated by a Daitch-Mokotoff search on the surname “RUBLACH”.

Searching for Surname RUBLACH
(D-M code 978500 or 978400)
Number of hits: 17

NameMaiden/Other
Surnames
Marital
Status
Born/Age
Gender
Residence
Address
Ghetto Street
House
Next Address
Date Reg
Type
Deported/
Type
Transport/
Destination
Died
Place
Notes
Occupation
RUBLACH,
Chaim
 
 
20/02/1882  
Lodz, Poland 
Deutschland 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 6 
  
 
 
25/03/1942 / AUSG 
TR 25 
  
 
 
Kaufman 
RUBLACH,
Chaim
 
 
20/02/1882  
Lodz, Poland 
 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 6 
  
 
 
  
 
  
 
 
 
RUBLACH,
Chaja
 
 
1922  
Lodz, Poland 
Tal Weg 14 
Buchbinder Strasse 
40 Flat 20 
  
 
 
24/03/1943  
 
  
 
 
Schneider 
RUBLACH,
Chaja
 
 
26/02/1921 Age: 23 
Lodz, Poland 
Altmarkt 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 4 
  
 
 
  
 
Died 16/04/1944 
Lodz Ghetto 
 
Arbeiterin 
RUBLACH,
Chaja
 
 
1922  
Lodz, Poland 
Tal Weg 14 
Buchbinder Strasse 
40 Flat 20 
  
 
 
10/06/1944 / AG 
 
  
 
 
Schneiderin 
RUBLACH,
Dyna
 
 
20/12/1905  
Lodz, Poland 
Muhl Gasse 2 
Cranach Strasse 
13 Flat 24 
  
 
 
  
 
  
 
 
Schneider 
RUBLACH,
Hinda Jochwet
 
 
20/04/1925  
Lodz, Poland 
Storchen Gasse 9 
Hamburger Strasse 
5 Flat 
  
13/04/1944 
ANG 
  
 
  
 
 
Arbeiter 
RUBLACH,
Ita
 
 
07/01/1924  
Lodz, Poland 
Storchen Gasse 9 
Hamburger Strasse 
5 Flat 
  
13/04/1944 
ANG 
  
 
  
 
 
Strumpfarb 
RUBLACH,
Ita
 
 
07/01/1924  
Lodz, Poland 
Storchen Gasse 9 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 4 
Hamburger Strasse 5 
07/04/1944 
ABG 
  
 
  
 
 
Arbeiter 
RUBLACH,
Josef Natan
 
Child 
11/02/1939  
Lodz, Poland 
Muhl Gasse 2 
Cranach Strasse 
13 Flat 24 
  
 
 
  
 
  
 
 
 
RUBLACH,
Liba Ides
 
Child 
03/02/1939  
Lodz, Poland 
Storchen Gasse 7 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 4 
  
 
 
19/09/1942 / AUSG 
 
  
 
 
 
RUBLACH,
Luba
 
 
28/10/1899  
Lodz, Poland 
Deutschland 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 6 
  
 
 
25/03/1942 / AUSG 
TR 25 
  
 
 
Hausfrau 
RUBLACH,
Mordka Icek
 
 
14/11/1884 Age: 59 
Lodz, Poland 
Storchen Gasse 7 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 4 
  
 
 
  
 
Died 08/10/1943 
Lodz Ghetto 
 
Arbeiter 
RUBLACH,
Mordka Idel
 
 
14/11/1884 Age: 59 
Lodz, Poland 
Storchen Gasse 9 
Storchen Gasse 
9 Flat 4 
  
 
 
  
 
Died 08/10/1943 
Lodz Ghetto 
 
Arbeiter 

Because of the search capacities of this database, in addition to the 14 entries as shown above in the book entry, three additional entries would also be retrieved for an individual whose maiden name was “RUBLACH”.

Example Two:

Another example of how to use this database to recreate family units may be seen in the table of the Talman family below.  At first glance, it may be difficult to determine who is related to whom.  However, by excerpting surnames from the database and reorganizing the data back to its original format, by ghetto address, family units might emerge. For example:

TALMANS LIVING AT GHETTO ADDRESS HANSEATEN 12
  • TALMAN, Joel Icek [m], b. 1886, of Lowenstadt [Brzeziny]; occupation: "fuhrman" [driver]; ghetto address was Hanseaten 12; "Gest." [died] 23 March 1943 in the ghetto.

  • TALMAN, Chana [nee' TOPOLOWICZ], b. 1892, of Lowenstadt; occupation: "hausfrau" [housewife]; "ABG" [moved] to ghetto address Hanseaten 12 on 7 April 1944 [no further information on her fate].

  • TALMAN, Marjem [f], b. 1913, of Lowenstadt; occupation: "schneider" [cutter or tailor]; "ABG" [moved] to ghetto address Hanseaten 12 on 7 April 1944 [no further information on her fate].

  • TALMAN, Elka [f], b. 1926, of Lowenstadt; occupation: "schneider" [cutter or tailor]; "ABG" [moved] to ghetto address Hanseaten 12 on 7 April 1944 [no further information on her fate].

By further grouping all eleven individuals with the surname TALMAN by ghetto address one may reasonably assume there were three distinct families with this surname in the ghetto.

Additional Information and Sources

Availability of the Published Volumes

A copy of the original ghetto list is maintained in the office of the co-publisher of the book: Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel (OFRLI), 158 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv 63461, Israel.  The published five volumes of "Lodz-Names: List of the Ghetto Inhabitants, 1940-1944" are available in additional libraries or in the possession of organizations unknown at the present time, including:

Acknowledgements

Contributors:

Shirley Rotbein Flaum, Roni Seibel Liebowitz, Michael J. Meshenberg, Alex Avraham, Warren Blatt and Debra Kay compiled this introductory text.

Other Acknowledgements:

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel (Tel Aviv); and Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority (Jerusalem) for making this remarkable database available to JewishGen.

And finally, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Susan King, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.

July 2004


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