The Lódz Ghetto Work Identification Cards
Introduction By Roni Seibel Liebowitz
Work in the Lódz Ghetto
The Lódz Ghetto was created in February 1940 and sealed off
from the rest of the world from May 1940 until its liquidation at the
end of August 1944. Initially inhabitants survived by selling
whatever they could in exchange for food, clothing, and other
necessities. At the outset, some inhabitants received packages
from relatives and friends on the outside, but these were often pilfered
and eventually stopped arriving altogether. For a while the
appointed chairman of the ghetto, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, succeeded
in making the ghetto indispensable to the Nazi war machinery by
establishing a huge work force that would serve the German war effort
and thus ensure the residents' survival.
Work became the gold currency. Without a labor force, the
sealed community could not obtain money for food and other
necessities. Without work, one did not get the meager bowl of soup
distributed at the factories. Without work, one could be
deported. They had not yet learned that deportations would take
place with or without those work assignments. Work was compulsory
for everyone between the ages of 10-65 years of age. Having a
Work ID Card and an employment salary book would, they reasoned, keep
them alive for another day.
There were 18 workshops in 1940. By 1943, that number
increased to 93 enterprises (ressorts), where 70,000 people, 85% of the
ghetto population, were employed in these businesses. In his diary
in August 1941, Dawid Sierakowiak writes: "A large number of new
workshops and factories are being established. Together with those
already existing, they form what's called in jest the 'Jewish Industrial
District'." As the numbers increased, many of the indoor enterprises had
several locations, and most of the long working hours took place in
small, overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. (See List of Labor Departments in the Lódz
All the workers, children and the elderly alike, needed Work
Identification Cards (ID Cards). These cards were reportedly
distributed at the work places by the managers. Workers were
warned that without that card, one would be considered unemployed.
It had to be kept in a protective folder, and any alterations made to
the card meant punishment to the holder.
- Lódz Ghetto, A History, Isaiah Trunk, English
translation by Robert Shapiro, Indiana Press, 2006. Originally
published 1962 in Yiddish.
- The Lódz Ghetto 1940-1944, Julian Baranowski,
Vademecum, Archiwum Panstwowe w Lódz & Bilbo, Lódz 2003.
- The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, Five Notebooks from the
Lódz Ghetto, edited by Alan Adelson, Translated by Kamil
Turowski, Bloomsbury, 1996.
- POLIN, A Journal of Polish-Jewish Studies, Volume 7,
Anthony Polonsky, editor,
Blackwell Publishers for the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies,
The Project - Origin of the Data
The Work Identification Cards were reportedly distributed by the
managers of the enterprises and required to be carefully held by the
workers in the Lódz Ghetto. Some survivors think that the
administration at the Employment Office kept the application forms for
the Work ID Cards, which look very similar to the actual cards.
This type of Work Identification Card was distributed after January
1, 1943. This database does not contain ALL the names of the
working population in the Lódz Ghetto. Other forms of Work
Identification Cards were in use before this date and could still have
been used concurrently.
Survivors present in Lódz immediately after the war have
provided testimony that many of the cards were missing. One
survivor reported that she obtained her card surreptitiously immediately
after the war. From comparing existing work cards in this
collection to work cards that should have existed per the recollections
of survivors or family, it appears that some of the cards may have been
removed before the collection was copied. Therefore, we can not
assume that this collection includes 100% of all work cards that were
issued. Based on this information, some of the cards researchers
are seeking may not be available.
Our collection is comprised of 23 reels of microfilm housed at the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). This database
will serve as a finding aide for the Museum. Given the ID number
and/or worker name, a researcher will be able to request a copy of an ID
Card. Since the ID numbers were often hard to read, it is strongly
recommended to supply the person's full name when requesting a copy of a
card. (Please see Acknowledgement section for the US Holocaust
Memorial Museum's email address.)
Format of Work ID Cards
There are between 800 and 1600 frames on each of the 23 reels of
microfilms. The cards have two sides that contain some or all of
the following information:
Front Left Side
|Unterschrift d. Ausweisinhabers
||Signature of document owner
|Unterschrift d. Betriebsleiters
||Signature of employer
||Lódz Ghetto (date)
Front Right Side
||Ghetto Employment Office
||Identification Card Number
||Date of birth
|Ist in dem Betrieb Nr
||Actual business number (Place assigned to work)
||Employed as ...
|Tag d. Antritts d. Beschäftigung
||Starting date for employment
|Er (Sie) darf die Strassen innerhalb des Gettos auch nach der Sperrstunde passieren
||He (she) is allowed to be on the streets within the ghetto after curfew hours.
Following two items stamped on front of some cards
|TRANSPORT (deported) with date and transport number handwritten
|GESTORBEN (died) with date and the institution from which the death note came
Back Left Side
|Alter am 1.1. 1943… Jahre
||Age in years as of 01-Jan-1943
|Arbeitslos vom … bis …
||Unemployed from … to …
Wer keine Arbeitskarte besitzt, gilt als arbeitslos. Geht die Arbeitskarte verloren, melde es sofort dem Betriebsleiter, damit er beim Arbeitsamt Getto Duplikat beantragt. Solche Karten tragen den Stempel Ersatzkarte und zeugen dann von der gleichgültigen Behandlung des Originals.
|Worker, consider this!
Whoever does not have a Worker’s Card, will be considered unemployed. If the Worker’s Card is lost, inform the Factory manager immediately, so that he can apply for a Duplicate Card at the Ghetto Labor Department. Such cards have the stamp Duplicate Card and are as valid as the original.
Back Right Side
|Zur genauen Beachtung!
||Pay close attention!
|Sorgfältig in Schutzhülle aufbewahren, damit die Arbeitskarteleserlich bleibt.
||Be careful to keep the work card in the protective folder, so that it remains legible.
|Eigenmächtige Änderungen sind strafbar.
||Alterations you make are punishable.
|Stets bei sich führen.
||Keep with you at all times.
|Diese Legitimation ist nicht übertragbar.
||This identification card is not transferable.
|The Ghetto Administration
This database includes over 13,200 records.
In compiling the online database, information was organized for
clarity based upon the order presented on the Work ID Card. Not
all cards contain all the following information. Many cards were
very hard to read. The fields of the database are as
- Reel Number
- Image number
- Worker Number
- Given Name
- Date of Birth
- Address in the ghetto (See Reference Link #2 below)
- Place assigned to work (See List of Labor
Departments in the Lódz Ghetto below)
- Type of employment (See Reference Link #4 below)
- Starting date of employment
- Photo included on card: Yes/No
- Signature of worker on card: Yes/No
- Starting date of employment (date of Lódz Ghetto Work ID
- Learned Trade
- Acquired skill
- Age in years as of January 1, 1943 (See Note #3 below)
- Worked since
- Unemployed from….to…[or other places of employment] (See Note #6
- Comments (includes transport and death dates if applicable)
- Data entry volunteers indexed all legible entries and as much as
possible from the illegible entries, sometimes providing parts of words
and number series which may help researchers identify people of
- The Lódz-Ghetto card dates were entered in the Ghetto by
different people. Some used German, others Polish.
Therefore the months were variously in German abbreviations, Polish
abbreviations, Roman numerals, or Arabic numbers.
- The age of the worker given is as of January 1, 1943.
However, workers were frequently listed as one year older, since the
clerks in Lódz apparently subtracted the year of birth from 1943,
and therefore listed the age of the worker's next
- In order to survive, ghetto inhabitants frequently lied about their
ages to avoid deportation and/or to qualify for work. In
September1942, children less than 10 years old and adults over 65 were
deported to the death camp in Chelmno.
- Volunteer Fritz Neubauer reported that there is an official list of
businesses in the Lódz Ghetto, called "Verzeichnis dis bis
Betriebe in Litzmannstadt-Getto," from January 1943. This may
be available in some Holocaust libraries and/or museums.
- The "Unemployed from… to…" phrase is on the backs of the
cards. However, it seems that instead of unemployment dates,
additional work experiences were listed here. Data entry
volunteers had no way of determining which, if any, were actually dates
of unemployment. The listing seems to be places and dates of other
- A few transport dates listed were obtained from other JewishGen
Holocaust databases and listed in brackets to indicate they are from
other sources. Since these transports must have occurred later,
the Worker Identification Card does not include a TRANSPORT stamp.
- Any other data in brackets indicates that the information was taken
from another source, not the Work ID Card. Researchers need to
corroborate all dates and ages, since they vary greatly for the
same person on the various source documents.
- Although the Gestorben stamp does say "auf Grundn von" (cause of
death), in reality the handwritten information does not provide the
cause of death. It states the name of the institution, mostly the
business name, from where the information about the worker's death was
provided, i.e. where the deceased person worked.
The spelling of surnames was not consistent. Always check all possible spelling variations when doing a database search.
Do not enter accented characters in the search fields. If you do, you will NOT get the results you are expecting.
There are two Polish accented characters, the Ogonek E (Ę) and the Ogonek A (Ą) which sufficiently modify the pronounciation of a surname or town name to also change the soundex code. The addition of the ogonek (little hook) beneath it causes the vowel to be pronounced with an additional "n" or "m". For instance the town name Częstochowa is pronounced Czenstochowa or the surname JASTRZĘBSKA is pronounced JASTREMBSKA. To get the search results you want, use the “sounds like” search and add the N or M to the name after the vowel. Do not use an exact name search.
- A map of the Lódz Ghetto can be found here:
- Researchers may also want to consult the Lódz Streets
http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Lodz/streets.htm, which includes
the list of all streets in the city of Lódz with name changes for
the past 100 years.
- A list of Labor Departments in the Lódz
Ghetto is below.
- Researchers can find translations for occupations by visiting
JewishGen's German Occupation Definitions file at
- The following databases located on JewishGen's Holocaust Database
http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust/ contain detailed
information about the Lódz Ghetto. Scroll down that page
before doing searches to read the excellent descriptions of each.
- Lódz Ghetto Names Database Volumes I-IV
- Lódz Ghetto Names Volume V
- Lódz Transports to Chelmno
- Lódz Ghetto Hospital Illnesses
- Lódz Ghetto Hospital Deaths
List of Labor Departments in the Lódz
The following list was compiled by Fritz Neubauer on the basis of
Work Pass notations and the "Official List of Labour Departments in the
Lódz Ghetto" reprinted on pp. 121-122 in The Lódz
Ghetto 1940-1944, Vademecum, Archiwum Panstwowe w Lódzi &
Bilbo, Lódz, 2003; provided by Roni Leibowitz.
| 1 || Schneider-Zentrale (Hanseatenstr. 45) |
| 2 || Schneiderei Hanseatenstr. 34-36 |
| 3 || Schneiderei Hanseatenstr. 53 |
| 4 || Schneiderei (Froschweg 13) |
| 5 || Gerberei (Halbe Gasse 12) |
| 6 || Schneiderei Mühlgasse 2 |
| 7 || Schneiderei Neustadtstr. 28 |
| 8 || Schneiderei Rembrandtstr. 8 |
| 9 || Wäsche- und Kleider-Abteilung(Matrosengasse 14)
| 10 || Wäsche- und Kleider-Abteilung(Matrosengasse 10)
| 11 || Wäsche- und Kleider-Abteilung (Kurze Gasse /
Franzstr. 85) |
| 12 || Wäsche und Kleider(Mühlgasse 25) |
| 13 || Wäsche- und Kleider-Abteilung(Franzstr. 13-15)
| 14 || Schäfte-Abteilung (Siegfriedstr. 100)
| 15 || Schuhmacher-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 8 (82))
| 16 || Schuhmacher-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 84-86)
| 17 || Schuhmacher-Abteilung II Marysin |
| 18 || Tischlerei Zimmerstr. 12 (Holzbetrieb I)
| 19 || Tischlerei Reiterstr. 3 (Holzbetrieb II)
| 20 || Tischlerei Putzigerstr. 9 (Holzbetrieb ?)
| 21 || Strohschuh-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 84)
| 22 || Strohschuh-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 88)
| 23 || Strohschuh-Abteilung Marysin |
| 24 || Mützenwerkstätte (Sulzfelderstr. 47)
| 25 || Schuhfabrik (Franzstr. 76) |
| 26 || Schneiderei Rembrandtstr. 14 |
| 27 || Schneiderei Rembrandtstr. 16 |
| 28 || Näherei (Gummimantelfabrik), Honigweg 4
| 29 || Steppdecken- u. Kissen-Abteilung(Schneidergasse
| 30 || Hut-Abteilung (Hohensteinerstr. 9-11) |
| 31 || Textilfabrikations-Abteilung (Holzstr. 77)
| 32 || Strickerei-Abteilung (Holzstr. 77) |
| 33 || Teppicherzeugnisse Abt. I (Am Bach 10)
| 34 || Teppicherzeugnisse Abt. II (Am Bach 10)
| 35 || Kleinmöbelfabrik (Basargasse 6) |
| 36 || Metall-Abteilung I (Hanseatenstr. 63) |
| 37 || Metall-Abteilung II (Hohensteinerstr. 56)
| 38 || Zentrallager für Eisen und
Metall(Hohensteinerstr. 62) |
| 39 || Elektrotechnische Abteilung(Alexanderhofstr. 36)
| 40 || Sortierungs- und Verwertungsstelle für
Abfälle (Hanseatenstr. 50) |
| 41 || Nähmaschinenrepararatur (Rembrandtstr. 6)
| 42 || Drahtzieherei und Nägelfabrik(Putzigerstr.
| 43 || Wäsche und Kleider (Marysin) |
| 44 || Wäsche und Kleider, Lager (Mühlgasse
| 45 || Tricotagen-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 41)
| 46 || Tricotagen-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 48)
| 47 || Kürschner-Abteilung (Veit-Stoss-Str. 6)
| 48 || Tapezierer -Abteilung (Reiterstr. 9) |
| 49 || Gerberei (Reiterstr. 57) |
| 50 || Chemische Wäscherei II |
| 51 || im Aufbau |
| 52 || Federn- und
Daunensortierungsstelle(Hohensteinerstr. 64) |
| 53 || Schwachstrom-Abteilung(Sulzfelderstr. 21)
| 54 || Glimmerspalterei (Sulzfelderstr. 21) |
| 55 || Holzwollefabrik (Marysin) |
| 56 || Korsett- und
Büstenhalter-Abteilung(Steinmetzgasse 8) |
| 57 || Chemische Wäscherei I(= Reinigungs- und
Waschanstalt I) (Holzstr. 77) |
| 58 || Chemische Reinigungs- und Waschanstalt II
(Hohensteinerstr. 68) |
| 59 || Chemische Wäscherei III (Richterstr. 11)
| 60 || Gummi-Abteilung (Hamburgerstr. 20) |
| 61 || Papiererzeugnis-Abteilung (Cranachstr. 10/12)
| 62 || Leder- und Sattlerwaren-Abteilung(Schneidergasse
| 63 || Hausschuh-Abteilung V (Müllerstr. 2-4)
| 64 || Hausschuh-Abteilung I (Hohensteinerstr. 40)
| 65 || Hausschuh-Abteilung II (Storchengasse 22)
| 66 || Hausschuh-Abteilung III (Fischgasse 15)
| 67 || Hausschuh- und Strumpf-Abteilung(Holzstr. 75)
| 68-75 || Sortierungs- und Verwertungsstelle für
| 76 || Chemische Abfallverwertung(Cranachstr. 26)
| 77 || Bau-Abteilung (Steinmetzgasse 15) |
| 78 || Wasser- und Dampfinstallation(Hanseatenstr. 34)
| 79 || Altkleiderkammer (Rungegasse 7) |
| 80 || Zentrallager für Öle und
Chemikalien(Hamburger Str. 108-110 u. Kirchplatz 4) |
| 81 || Uhrreparaturwerkstätte (Bleicherweg 7)
| 82 || Handstrickerei-Abteilung (Fischstr. 21)
| 83 || Tischlerei-Abteilung (Bleicherweg 26) |
| 84 || Schneiderei Rembrandtstr. 10 |
| 85 || Schneiderei Goldschmiedegasse 18 |
| 86 || Strohschuh-Abteilung Marysin(Rungestr. 5)
| 87 || Schneiderei Franzstr. 29 |
| 88 || Trenn-Abteilung (Am Bach 4) |
| 89 || Wäsche und Kleider (Cranachstr. 19)
| 90 || Zentrallager für Eisen und
Metall(Hanseatenstr. 63) |
| 90a || Zentrallager für Eisen und Metall,
Zweigstelle (Franzstr. 41) |
| 91 || Teppicherzeugnisse-Abteilung
(Militär-stickerei)(Mühlgasse 7) |
| 92 || Hausschuh-Abteilung IV (Buchbindergasse 26)
| 93 || Schneiderei Hanseatenstr. 37 |
| 94 || Verwertungsstelle der aus den Landbezirken
angefallenen Güter(Steinmetzgasse 7) |
| 95 || Im Aufbau |
| 96 || Unknown |
| 97 || Unknown |
| 98 || Unknown |
| 99 || Unknown |
| Without number: |
| || Altschuh-Lager |
| || Apotheke III |
| || Arbeitsamt Getto |
| || Bahnhof Radegast |
| || Bekleidungsabteilung |
| || Bekleidungsabteilung II(Hohensteinerstr.
Bekleidungsreparaturwerkstätte(Kreuzstr. 2) |
| || Darlehenskasse |
| || Druckerei und Stempelfabrik(Sulzfelderstr.
| || Evidenz-Abteilung |
| || Feuerwehrkommando(Telegrafenstr. 13)
| || Fleischzentrale |
| || Friedhof |
| || Gemüse-Abteilung |
| || Gericht |
| || Gesundheits-Abteilung |
| || Heim für junge Arbeiter, Marysin II
| || Kartoffel- und Gemüse Mieten, Marysin
| || Kohlen-Abteilung (Matrosengasse 2)
| || Kolonialwaren- und
Brot-Abteilung(Matrosengasse 6) |
| || Kräftigungs-Mittagsküche I
| || Kräftigungs-Mittagsküche II
| || Krankenhaus I |
| || Küchen-Abteilung (Matrosengasse 20)
| || Leergut-Abteilung |
| || Miete- und Steuer-Abteilung |
| || Molkereierzeugnisse u. Salatproduktion
| || Ordnungsdienst, Abteilung I |
| || Referat für Büroarbeiten
| || Ressort für Büroarbeiten
(Fischstr. 8) |
| || Schildermalerei (Sulzfelderstr. 10)
| || Tabak-Abteilung (Sulzfelderstr. 10)
| || Talon-Abteilung |
| || Transport-Abteilung |
| || Verwaltung (Hanseatenstr. 63) |
| || Winterbaukasten |
| || Wirtschaftsabteilung |
| || Zentral-Buchhaltung (Matrosengasse 1)
| || Zentralbüro des Arbeitsressorts
| || Zentral-Einkaufsstelle |
| || Zentral-Verkaufsstelle |
The creation of this database could not have happened now if it were
not for the generosity of Richard J. Astor. He was interested in finding
a significant way in which to honor the memory of his father, Alec Astor
Z"L, born Ajzyk Abersztajn in Lódz in 1915, who survived the
Holocaust and died in London in 2006. We are very grateful to Richard
Astor for funding this entire project.
ALEC ASTOR Z"L (born AJZYK ABERSZTAJN)
The information contained in this database was indexed from the files
of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM File RG 15.083M, Reels 693 - 696). JewishGen volunteers, Nolan Altman and Roni Seibel Liebowitz, coordinated the data entry and
proofreading processes, respectively. We also wish to thank Fritz Neubauer for creating the Lódz Establishment list, and for sharing his personal knowledge about these Work ID Cards, explaining that this collection contains only those newly-issued work passes after January 1, 1943. He also was a great help in deciphering many only partially legible German entries.
The following data entry volunteers worked on this project: Olivia Berkowicz, Bettie Black, Sharon Brearey, Fay Bussgang, Kurt Friedlaender, Marianna Hoszowska, Avraham Kano, Sandy Malek, Joan Maplesden, Edward Mitelsbach, Fritz Neubauer, Peter Reiniger, Diana Seldes, Marilyn Shalks, Limor Shenhar, Jolie Weininger, Irit Weisel, Naidia Woolf, and Paula Zeiselman.
The volunteers who proofread the entries are: Helene Celnick, Gene Dershewitz, Anna Dunn, Helene Lajzerowicz, Orit Lavi, Dorothy Leivers, Roni Seibel Liebowitz, Fritz Neubauer, Fay Nissen, Sandra Paikin, Debby Painter, Zipi Pittel, Rosa Raskin, Barbara Ringel, Deborah Rosenberg, Merav Schejtman, Ruth Shaw, Nancy Siegel, Jackye Sullins, Eric Svirskis, Sandra Walker, Joanna Winter, and Naidia Woolf.
The task of proofreading each and every entry is laborious, requiring volunteers to check every entry in each column and compare them to what is written on the cards, which are often illegible. Then uniformity in formatting of information is reviewed. A number of the reels were rescanned when due to missing entries. I am very grateful to assistant Naidia Woolf who checked most of the rescanned reels, added the missing entries, and did all the required re-numbering on these files. Lastly, the files were sent to Fritz Neubauer for a final look at uncertain entries and a full review of the German spellings and grammar. His help has been invaluable.
In addition, 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. Particular thanks to to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.
Searching the Database
This database is searchable via
JewishGen's Holocaust Database.
Last Update: 13 June 2010 by MFK