Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - June 18, 1985

The Łódź Ghetto

Let me take you back to the ghetto.


How were you informed about the beginning of the ghetto? How did you find out?

Uh, we were just chased into it. It was all fenced in. We were taken out of our homes and uh, we just were chased like uh, cattle into the part that was all fenced in. Uh...

Did you live in the Bałuty District?

Do I what?

Did you live in the... Was it the Bałuty District?

Yeah, in the Bałuty. Right. That's a Polish possession. The Bałuty.

Is, is that... You didn't live there?

Yes. Not before. Not before the war.

What was, what was the section like?

Uh, it was a Jewish section, mostly. It was like any other...How can I compare it? Like Hastings Street here, if this is a comparison.

Inner city?

Yes, it was a city. There were some nice homes uh, not private homes, they were all buildings, you know, four or five story buildings. Uh, you could walk around in the ghetto from one place to the other; you just couldn't get out of it unless you had permission. Um...

Do you remember Rumkowski?

Sure, very well. As a matter of fact, I just met his uh, um, the one that drove his carriage, what do you call the...


Yeah, his son I met in Florida. I remember him very well. At that time we thought he was saving us. It didn't turn out that way, although some did survive, some people did stay in the ghetto after, you know, it was closed. They were hidden and they survived. Matter of fact, I met some in the Concord last year that survived it. I didn't even know about it, I just found out that there are people that survived the ghetto, being hidden there.

When, when you received the order to move, what did you take, what did you feel as you walked through the streets of Łódź?

Despair. You didn't know what's happening. And I, I was young then. I, I, I don't think I... I thought the same thing then that I would think now. I was only nineteen years old, I'm just... Not realizing now, that I was just a youngster then. Uh, I remember walking one time in the street when the Germans did come in and I had a coat on and he was walking with a uh, Polish girl and she said she liked my coat and he took it off my back, in the fall, and just gave it to her. And there was nothing I could do.

This was before the ghetto?

That was before the ghetto.

When the Germans first came in, when the war began, what did you, uh...What were your thoughts, what did you talk about at home?

I don't know, I don't think there was any talk. It was...Everything was so sudden, so fast uh, that you only could think of how to...what to do in order to survive. That's when it came up that my mother took the children away. There would be less of a burden being in a big city and we knew we were going to be locked in because the talk was that he's building a ghetto. I can't remember the, the name of, um... Matter of fact, I just saw the film about the Łódź ghetto um, the uh, Hauptscharführer, the one that was... The German that was directing in the ghetto.


Biebow. Right. You know better than I do, why do you ask me?

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn