The ghetto in Łódź was the longest existing ghetto in occupied Poland. It was liquidated relatively late – in August 1944. It was the second largest (after Warsaw) ghetto in occupied Europe. The total number of people imprisoned in the ghetto is approx. 200,000. In 1942 40,000 people lived there on 1 km sq., on average 7 persons in one room.
On 16 December 1941, Chaim Rumkowski – Head of the Judenrat received an order from the German authorities indicating
the need to resettle 20,000 people from the ghetto. In January and February 1942 44,000 people were deported to the death camp in Chełmno (Kulmhof). The next round of deportations took place in May of 1942 – approximately 11,000 people died in Chełmno. But it was the deportation in September 1942 that is remembered as the most cruel and tragic in the history of the ghetto, the one called “Wielka Szpera”. Until the 12th of September 1942, 15,681 people – mostly children, the elderly and sick people were taken from the ghetto and transported to the death camp. In October 1942 the ghetto was transformed into a labor camp. The final liquidation of the ghetto was carried out from the 23rd of June to the 29th of August 1944. The first deportees were sent in June and July to Chełmno death camp. When the Germans realized that this camp was not sufficient for muder on a massive scale, the deportations were temporarily suspended. In August the transports from Łódź Ghetto were directed to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The last transport left the Radegast Station in Łódź on the 29th of August 1944. The day before, Head of the Judenrat Chaim Rumkowski with his family was deported to Auschwitz.
Only about 800 people were left in the ghetto to clean the area. And about 600 people, selected by Hans Biebow among high official of ghetto administration were transferred to Germany for forced labor. A few dozen remained in hiding in the area of the ghetto.
The total number of victims from Łódź Ghetto stands at 193,000 people:
44,000 people died in the ghetto because of starvation, exhaustion and diseases
79,000 people were murdered in Chełmno (Kulmhof) death camp
70,000 deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau
On the 19th of January, 1945, the Soviet army entered Łódź. A few hundred survivors lived in the former ghetto area.