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The Jewish Ghetto
Łódź, Poland


878 Survive in Lodz Out of 250,000 Jews

German Persecutions Are Related by Doctor from Ghetto

by Leigh White

Via Press Wireless to the Binghamton Press and the Chicago Daily News
The article below appeared in the Binghamton Press, Thursday evening,
February 8, 1945.


Lodz, Feb. 6 (Delayed) -- "Good morning, gentlemen, we are from the Ghetto here. There are only 878 of us left."

Thus, did Dr. Albert Mazur, a nose and throat specialist, introduce himself and two companions as they came into the hotel dining room to tell us about what had happened to the 250,000 Jews who had formerly lived in Lodz.

Dr. Mazur spoke enough English to tell us that he had visited America and had many relatives there. Then he lapsed into Russian.

Hopeless Task

The doctor explained that he ad been one of 160 Jewish physicians in Lodz, out of which only a dozen had survived the occupation. He had done what he could, he said. But without medicines, without adequate food and clothing, and with the excessive labor which the Germans demanded from Jews, it had been a hopeless task.

At least 70,000 inmates of the Ghetto had died of tuberculosis, he said.

Sent to death camps as soon as they became unable to produce their daily quota of the sort of work demanded by the Germans, the rest of the 250,000 Lodz Jewish casualties had died there.

Only those Jews qualifying as heavy laborers, tailors, cobblers, carpenters, technicians or engineers received rations sufficient for subsistence. Engineers and technicians, willing to collaborate, got jobs in German war industry. The others stayed in the Ghetto to produce shoes and uniforms for the German Army, or were taken out to dig fortifications or build temporary houses to replace those destroyed in bombings.

Frequent Deportations

Every few weeks, at night, there were "deportations" of dissidents and physically unfit, to Majdanek or Oswiecim, where they were gassed.

A Ghetto police force, composed of Jewish collaborationists, was organized under the command of an SS officer from Bremen, named Bibow, who was known to the Jews as "the vampire" because of his insatiable desire for girls. Bibow ran the Ghetto under the order of a man named Bradtfisch, the Gestapo chief of Lodz.

Before the Russians came, Dr. Mazur said, both Bradtfisch and Bibow came to the Ghetto and made speeches calling on the Jews to go to Germany voluntarily in order to be spared the suffering caused by "Russian bombings." When all the Jews they could prevail upon to accompany them had left, they had set fire to the Ghetto with incendiary bombs. The 878 survivors are those who refused to go to Germany and who managed to escape from the Ghetto in time to avoid being burned to death or shot by the retreating Germans.

Dr. Gaspari, an eminent cancer specialist and personal friend of the late Field Marshal Erich von Ludendorff, and Baron Hirsch of Vienna, a well-known Jewish philanthropist died of starvation in Lodz, Dr. Mazur said.

Hideous Spectacle

The Lodz Ghetto is one of the most hideous spectacles this correspondent has ever witnessed. The Germans constructed a 10-foot brick wall topped with broken glass, around the Jewish quarter, as they did in Warsaw. Several highways ran through the Ghetto and they could not keep it hermetically sealed. So they erected barbed wire fences between sidewalks and streets in order to prevent Jews from "contaminating" Aryans passing through.

Often the despair of the Jews reached such a point, Dr. Mazur said, that they would approach the barbed-wire stockades and slowly begin to climb to the top. The bored German sentries, would not even shout a word of warning. When the Jew had reached the top of the stockade they would pick him off with their guns.

Thousands of Lodz Jews died this way, Dr. Mazur added. It was the simplest way of committing suicide.


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