Nazi Invasion

World War Two began when the German Army invaded Poland on 1 September 1939. When the Nazis attacked, Poles and Jews in Lodz worked frantically to dig ditches to defend their city. Only seven days after the attack on Poland began, on September 8, Lodz was occupied. Within days of Lodz’s occupation, the Jews of the city became targets for beatings, robberies, and seizure of property. Six days after the occupation of Lodz, it was Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), one of the holiest days. The Nazis ordered businesses to stay open and the synagogues to be closed, knowing the Jewish religion required Jews to worship and not work on this day. One month later the Nazis burned down one of Lodz main synagogues, on Wolborska Street.

On November 7, Lodz was incorporated into the Third Reich and the Germans changed its name to Litzmannstadt (“Litzmann’s city”) – named after a German general who died while attempting to conquer Lodz in World War I. The Germans forced many Jews to leave Lodz and deported them to cities in the General Government. Between September 30 and May 1, 1940, over 60,000 Jews left Lodz.

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Abram Kolski's parents stand in front of the synagogue ruins in November 1939

Jews in Lodz were forced to wear a star on the front and back of their garments soon after the Nazis arrived

The Prince Family in 1929 in Lodz: Henry, Frania, David and Izrael.