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Łódź Ghetto Inmates Exempted from the September 1942 Deportations

Introduction by Fritz Neubauer

Background
      · Sources
      · Examples
      · Bibliography
Database
Acknowledgements
Searching the Database

This database contains 2,464 records of Łódź Ghetto inmates exempted from the September 1942 deportations.

Background

One of the most tragic events in the short history of the Łódź Ghetto were the deportations from September 5 to 12, 1942, when the children under 10 and the elderly over 65 were selected for "resettlement" (in the official terminology), which in reality was murder in Chełmno.  The order by the German administration of the Ghetto was announced in a dramatic speech by the "Elder of the Jews" Rumkowski, on September 4, 1942 at 4 pm, followed by the announcement no. 391:

Announcement number 391 Photograph of departing children

As can be seen in the announcement, from this the name "Gehsperre" (suspension of movement) or "Szpera" was coined.  You can see the famous photograph of the departing children here.

In the sources it is reported that originally the Ghetto administration was working on listing those falling within these categories, but then admitted that it could not manage the numbers demanded from them.  So the Gestapo guards, assisted by the Jewish quasi-police, the Ordnungsdienst members, moved in and selected their victims in front of their houses on the spot.  But even though the registration personnel had not been able to come up with a list of deportees, they did manage to compile a list of those EXEMPTED from "resettlement".  As is says in the sources, the exempted inhabitants included relatives (and children) of members of the Ordnungsdienst (who had to assist in the deportation), members of the administration, heads of departments, etc.  While the official information was that there would be about 1,500 on the list, it turns out to about 2,500.  The index presented here is based on two files:

Description of the sources:

Source 1 — (USHMM call number RG-15.083M, Reel 304, File 1296):

List of persons exempted from resettlement in numerical order

The master list of 72 pages (with one nearly empty page), with 35 names on each page with at least 10 double entries, so altogether there are about 2,450 names listed.  The title says "Namentliche Liste der von der Aussiedlung befreiten Personen nach laufenden Nummern", i.e.: "List of persons exempted from resettlement in numerical order".

The reference to the "numerical order" is correct, because no apparent principle seems to have been followed in the compilation of the list.  Sometimes there is a kind of alphabetical order, sometimes street addresses seem to appear together, but, in general, if one would be looking for a particular name, one would have to look though all of the 72 pages.  This is why until now these documents were not really accessible to searches.

As can be seen in the page shown here, only the birth year and the age are listed (in the last column).  In many cases the birth date could be established from other sources, and are provided within the database square brackets; but there are also quite a few names who are not listed in any other sources, and whose existence in the ghetto is hereby documented.

As is described in The Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto 1941-1944, this work had to be done at great haste.  The typists were cut off from the outside, nobody had access to them.  The typewriters had a German keyboard that allowed for German umlaute, but did not provide Polish accents.  The names were either read aloud or copied from hand-written pieces of paper.  Consequently, the names’ orthography varied according to the typists’ mother tongue, on one page the German-speaking typist Germanized the Polish names, on the next page, it went the other way round, as you can see in the table where the varying orthographies for names from different sources are shown.

EISENSCHMIEDAJZENSCHMIDT
EISENSTARKAJZENSTARK
FRIEDELFRYDEL
FRIEDMANFRYDMAN
FRIEDMAN-NAJMANNEIMAN
GESUNDHEITGEZUNDHAJT
HAMMERHAMER
KLING-HORONTSCHIK HORONCZYK
KRAJN-BUCZINSKABUCINSKA
MALYKAT MALYKONT
TEITELBAUM TAJTELBAUM
WASERMANWASSERMAN

In the descriptions of survivors, or other texts by victims without access to an exemption, it was criticized that the families of policemen, the firefighters, as well as the families of resort managers and various officials were on the list of the exempted.  "Who will be deported in their stead?" asks Jozef Zelkowicz in his published diary In Those Terrible Days, and mentions that "all possessors of exemption letters shall be housed... in special refuges: children at the collection point at Lagiewnicka Street 33, and the elderly in Marysin" (350).

But there is also evidence that a large number of youths from the youth camp in Marysin were also put on the list, among them also orphans from the orphanage in Marysin.  They certainly could not have had good connections to the functionaries, and still in all the misery SOMEBODY thought of including them in the list...  The history of the Łódź Ghetto has to be rewritten in that respect.  And the great haste in the compilation of the list caused a few numbers of double entries: for instance, some names on the pages 50 and 51 appear again on page 71.  Since there is no apparent order in the entries, it cannot have been easy to find particular names in them.  Possibly, some people did not even know that they were on the list or the commandos did not care: about 10 persons were taken away, although they were listed.

It is also remarkable how many people are on the list, who were outside the age group that was officially supposed to be deported.  If one looks at the age distribution in detail, of the 2,428 inmates where the age was provided or could be established, it is surprising that the age group officially affected by the expulsion order (1-10 and over 65) would only be slightly more than half of the names (28.2% + 19.9% + 4.6% =) 52.7%, while nearly half of the names concerned inmates who would not be affected, but were put on the list just to make sure?

0-6
years
7-10
years
11-20
years
21-40
years
41-65
years
65+
years
684484535339275111
28.2%19.9%22%14%11.3% 4.6%

From these numbers it can also be seen that the highest percentage of potential victims were children up to the age of 6.

Source 2 — (USHMM call number RG-15.083M, Reel 303, File 1295):

The second document consists of 135 copies of pieces of paper, which were possibly handed out to the exempted inmates (or their parents) as proof that they were in fact exempted, some of them even notarized.  All of the names can be found on the master list, most of them show the number under which the name appears on the master list.  Again, the chaotic situation prevailing at the time of the compilation is reflected in doubles for the same name.  The page number for these additional slips of paper are shown in brackets after the number in the master list.

Paper given to exempted inmate

This is image 46, for Frajda Weingott with number 471 on the master list.  The slip of paper shows that the office of deputy chairman Jakubowicz had proposed the exemption, and that Biebow as the German head of the Ghetto ("Amtsleiter") had agreed to the exemption and personally signed it.

Of the 135 exemption slips,

  • the office of the vice chairman Jakubowicz had proposed 88,
  • the office of the Ordnungsdienst: 11,
  • the head of the Ordnungsdienst Gertler: 11,
  • the office of the chairman Rumkowski: 10,
  • the German head of the Ghetto administration Biebow, who had to co-sign all of them: 5,
  • secretary Miss Schifflinger: 2
  • Mr. Schaumburg, head of the Shoe Department: 1.

Examples from the names:

Michael Tauber:

In one case it is clearly documented that the child’s life was saved by the list entry: In her German biography Deportiert von den Nazis: Berlin, Łódź, Auschwitz, Stutthof, Dresden, Ruth Alton (originally Tauber) tells how six policemen came to collect her son Michael.  They were told that he was exempted.  Since they did not have anything in writing about the exemption the child and his father had to go to be checked "in einer in der Nähe ausliegenden Liste" (in a list nearby).  After two hours of waiting, the returning husband confirms the exemption, but the child was taken to a place where the other exempted children were kept...  The master list shows Tauber Michal, birth year 1935, seven years old under number 209.  The story continues with the family’s deportation to Auschwitz with the survival of the ramp selection, further deportation to Stutthof and Ruth’s separation from husband and son.  Ruth succeeded in escaping from a death march on Czech territory and gets liberated by American soldiers.  Eventually she managed to find out that Michael was in an orphan’s home in Łódź from where he eventually was sent to Munich.  The entry in the list has saved his life.

There are 13 other documented survivors from the names on the master list, most of them older than Michael, who may be the youngest survivor.

Lucille Eichengreen (née Cecylia Landau):

Many others were not as lucky: The survivor Lucille Eichengreen is quoted in the Łódź Chronicle reprint how she was separated from her 12-year old sister Karin Landau who was put on a truck in the Łódź Ghetto (745/746).  She was not on the list – nor were thousands others...

The Ottenfeld Family:

This extract from the "Łódź Names" listings shows the four members of the Ottenfeld Family who had been deported from Prague to the Łódź Ghetto with the last Prague transport on November 3rd, 1941, with the transport numbers 730 to 733.

OTTENFELD, Herbert  17/02/1901   M Origin: PragInsel Strasse 32 Flat 44 Polizist
OTTENFELD, Hilda  22/12/1904   F Origin: PragInsel Strasse 32 Flat 44 Hausfrau
OTTENFELD, Kitty Doris  31/03/1931   F Origin: PragInsel Strasse 32 Flat 44 Schueler
OTTENFELD, Lusi AnitaChild 06/11/1936   F Origin: PragInsel Strasse 32 Flat 44  

Herbert Ottenfeld was apparently a policeman in Prague ("Polizist") before his deportation, which must have qualified him for the Ghetto Ordnungsdienst.  In this capacity he managed to place his family members on the exemption list: his wife Hilda (38 years) and his children Doris (10) and Susy (6).  They appear there with the numbers 989, 990 and 991 on page 29.  With no other transport listing in the Names List, the whole family must have been sent to Auschwitz in the course of the Ghetto’s dissolution.  The next confirmed data is that Herbert Ottenfeld was liberated in the concentration camp Mauthausen (today on Austrian territory).  He was able to protect his family during the September deportations, but only he survived the Auschwitz ramp selection procedure — a mother with two children was obviously not suitable for forced labor purposes.  The inclusion on the list gave them another two years of life.

Bibliography References:

  • Alton, Ruth: Deportiert von den Nazis: Berlin – Łódź – Auschwitz – Stutthof – Dresden.  In German.  Bielefeld: Lorbeer-Verlag, 2009.
  • Dobroszycki, Lucjan (ed.): The Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto 1941-1944.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.
  • Feuchert, Sascha et al. (eds.): Die Chronik des Gettos Lodz/Litzmannstadt. In German.  5 volumes.  Göttingen: Wallstein, 2007.
  • Loewy, Hanno and Schoenberner, Gerhard (eds.): "Unser einziger Weg ist Arbeit": Das Ghetto in Łódź 1940-1944.  In German.  Wien: Loecker, 1990 (Exhibition Catalogue of the Exhibition in Frankfurt/Main, March to June 1990).
  • Zelkowicz, Josef: In Those Terrible Days: Writings from the Łódź Ghetto.  Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2002.

Database

The database includes 2,464 records of Łódź Ghetto inmates exempted from the September 1942 deportations.

Explanation of the data fields:

  • Name: The surname and give name(s) of the entry, as they appears on the master list, with variants in other sources.  Additional names from other sources appear in square brackets.
  • Alternative / Maiden Surname: Alternative spellings of the surname in other sources, source 2, or maiden surname.
  • Birth Year: The year of birth, as it appears in Source 1.  If no birth year appears in source 1, sometimes the birth year from other sources is provided in square brackets.
  • Date of Birth: In most cases, the sources do not provide the full birth dates.  If the date could be found in other sources, it appears in square brackets; if the birth year differs from Source 1, it appears in square brackets.
  • Age Given: Age, as it appears in Source 1.  It sometimes does not agree with preceding column.
  • Address(es): Street address in the ghetto — Street name and number.
  • Other Information: Miscellaneous information.
  • Page / List: The page and list number of the source(s).  For example: "11/385 (68)" — "11/385" refers to page 11, number 385 in Source 1, and "(68)" refers to page 68 in source 2.

For additional information on this or queries, please contact Fritz Neubauer.

Acknowledgments

The information contained in this database was indexed from the files of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (RG-15.083M, Reel 304, File 1296 and RG-15.083M, Reel 303, File 1295).  This index was compiled by Fritz Neubauer and would not have been possible without the help of Peter Landé and David Harris.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.  Particular thanks to Nolan Altman, Vice President of Data Acquisition and Coordinator of JewishGen's Holocaust Database files.

Nolan Altman
Coordinator - Holocaust Database
February 2014


Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database.


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