Authors

Object ID

2014.1.121

Object Name

Letter

Date

8-3-1943

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Description

Typed letter with signature and two rectangular purple hand stamps.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Biebow (1902–1947) was chief of Nazi administration of the Lodz Ghetto in occupied Poland. Under his administration, the 164,000 Jews of Poland's second largest city were crammed into a small area of the city. Communication between the Ghetto inhabitants and the outside world was completely cut off and the supply of food was severely limited, ensuring that many of the inhabitants of the Ghetto would slowly starve. Over the course of its existence, the population of the Ghetto swelled to 204,000 with more Jews from Central Europe being sent there. The Ghetto Administration remained in operation from April 1940 until the summer of 1944, but there were transports out of the Ghetto to extermination camps (primary Auschwitz and Chelmno) beginning at the end of 1941. Biebow was a ruthless administrator, concerned with the ghetto's productivity and his own personal gain. He was directly responsible for starving the ghetto's population beyond limits of endurance, and he assisted the Gestapo in rounding up Jews during deportations. In the days just before the liberation of Lodz by the Red Army, Biebow ordered large burial pits to be dug in the local cemetery, intending that the Gestapo execute the remaining 877 Jews who served as a clean-up crew in the ghetto. This might have been an attempt by Biebow to eliminate witnesses to his role in the workings of the Ghetto.

Biebow exercised his control in part through a Jewish administration headed by Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski. Rumkowski believed that the Jews could survive if they produced cheap, essential goods for the Nazis. Biebow profited substantially from the sale of the products of Jewish labor as well as the seized properties of Jews. He is also said to have provided less food to Ghetto inhabitants than was paid for, pocketing the difference. The Ghetto factories produced products such as boots for German soldiers and were profitable for the Germans because the Jews, cut off from all resources, worked for wages that consisted only of bread, soup, and other essentials. The productivity of the Ghetto was a factor in its comparatively long survival. The inhabitants endured four years of starvation, illness and overcrowding before being sent to the extermination camps of Chelmno and Auschwitz. Of the 204,000 inhabitants, approximately 10,000 survived.

Dimensions

6 x 8"

Keywords

Litzmannstadt, Lodz, Ghetto, Hans Biebow

Document Signed by Hans Biebow

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