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The Lodz Ghetto - Radogoszcz Police Prison

                                 Radogoszcz Police Prison

                                                              Lodz  Ghetto


Before the Second World War Radogoszcz was one of the oldest villages and districts of Lodz. In the early 1930’s Samuel Abbe built the biggest, three storey factory building in the area near to the crossing of the Gen. J. Sowinskiego (modern name) and Zgierska streets. It was accompanied by a single-storey shop floor with a characteristic saw-blade roof and a building serving both administrative and living purposes.


In August 1939 the factory buildings were taken over by the Polish Army and after Lodz had fallen to the Nazis, the Germans took over the buildings as a German sub-unit, which were stationed there till mid-October 1939.


Subsequently the premises were turned into a relocation camp, several thousand people from Lodz and the immediate area were incarcerated there. At first the people were placed in the four –storey building and the adjoining shop-floor. By the end of 1939 most of them were taken to the General Gouvernment, as well as to the Krakow and Nowy Targ regions.


The remaining relocated detainees were moved to the shop –floor, while the main building now became a place of detention for prisoners from a transit camp in the Michal Glazer Radogoszcz factory in 55 Krakowska Street.


Thus, till the end of June 1940, both the transit and a relocation camps were located together. On the 1st July 1940 the transit camp was transformed into the Extended Police Prison, and the last deportees were removed from there by the end of 1940.


Radogoszcz prison took on a more sinister role from the first days of November 1939, it was then that the Nazi authorities began to arrest members of the Lodz intelligentsia – such as teachers, local and state bureaucrats, social and political activists, and artists.


Among the arrested were Polish citizens of German and Jewish origins. The arrests were a purposeful action aimed at depriving Polish society of its leaders. The arrests were made on the basis of proscriptive lists, and after a trial by a summary court, people were usually sentenced to death. They were executed immediately afterwards in the forests surrounding Lodz and the bodies were buried at the site of the murders.


From the 10 November 1939 until early January 1940 about 2,000 people, both men and women, were at some time interned in the camp, of which about 500 were “tried” by a summary court and shot to death.


The factory buildings were not adapted in any way to house people prior to the establishment of the camp, there was no kitchen in the buildings, just a pot from brewing coffee. There were no beds in the rooms. The living conditions were extremely oppressive.  The whole camp was surrounded by a barbed wire topped wall in which the corners held watchtowers for the guards.


The prisoners did not succumb to starvation and disease thanks to the Polish Committee for Aiding Those Detained in the Radogoszcz Camp, established with the permission of the Gestapo. The members of Lodz factory –owner’s families, the Bidermans and the Keiserbrechts, among others, played a prominent role in the committee.


At the end of December 1939, the prisoners were moved to the Abbe’s factory building, where necessary works had been done, financed by the Committee for Aiding. A kitchen and baths were prepared, and rooms were furnished with wooden bunk beds.


The last group of prisoners was placed here on the 5 January 1940 at 10.00 a.m. The Polish women remaining in the Glazer plant were set free the next day. A group of Jews might have been detained in the plant till mid-1940.


The Extended Police Prison (Erwetertes Polizeigefangnis) in the factory buildings of Samuel Abbe was the biggest prison in Lodz and the surrounding region during the Nazi occupation. It was for men only, and the prisoners were sent to other prisons, typically in Sieradz, Leczyca and Wielun, as well as to forced labour camps, first in Ostrow Wielkopolski, then in Sikawa in Lodz, and concentration camps – mostly Dachau, Mauthausen- Gusen and Gross Rosen.

Read more: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ghettos/Radogoszcz.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2009

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