Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - November 19, 1981

Łódź Ghetto

That--the district that the ghetto was set up in, do you remember--did, did any Jews live there before the ghetto was set up?

Yes. Yes.

In the Bałuty District?

A lot of them. Actually a poor um, segment of the Jewish population in Łódź lived there. It was called Bałuty.

Was this a warehouse district?

Uh, no, not really. It was just a uh, how should I say it? There were mostly uh, business that wouldn't be in the city. In uh, it was like outskirts of Łódź, really. It was near Aleksandrowska, near Pograniczna you know, it was in that section. It was, it was quite a nice Jewish community that was, that was there.

How big was it, the, the ghetto area?

I don't know how many blocks. Oh, about...

Did you feel cramped right away? Or did it get smaller...

Yeah. That's all you could have was one room. Like let's say--I got married in 1942 and we were very lucky. We got one room that we didn't have to live with our parents.

So you got married in the ghetto?

I was married in the ghetto in 1942. Not to this--not to Al. And we lived two years in, in one room. There was no toilet, no uh, facilities, no uh, nothing. The water you brought up and the toilet you had to go down. And I remember when in 19...it had to be '44--the beginning of '44 when the Germans came in and took the children away. And I was in the apartment. And naturally the parents just don't give up children. And if they got into the apartment and found a child, they would throw it out the window onto the truck. I don't know if you ever heard that story. This was my own--that vision does not disappear. It's there, it sits there. I just don't live with it, because otherwise I couldn't survive, but it's there. I saw it with my own eyes: taking small children and throwing them out the window into the truck that was standing in the, in the backyard. That was in 1944, because in '44 in August I went already to Auschwitz. Uh, food was rationed. You got so much potatoes for a month uh, for a week and, uh...

Who ration...

...I didn't really think...

Who rationed it?

Uh, in the ghetto there was a man by the name of Rumkowski, you must have heard about. He was the....


Yeah. What was the name of it then?

The Älte in the Judenrat.

Yeah, right. And then they had the uh, uh, they had the police and the Sonder in Łódź, which was the Sonderkommando was different and the police uh, was different.

Who were the police?


They were the Sonderkommando too?

Yes. Uh, they were watching the um, warehouses, where the uh, food came in, and um, the bakeries that bake. Matter of fact Jack and Larry, they were working in a bakery during the ghetto. Um...


The vegetable mark...uh, uh, uh, store just uh, the police watched. And then this was rationed. You had rations so much, you got and picked up for every week.

And you went--was there a series of offices from the top down that Rumkowski was the top and--do you know how that...

I don't know how that worked. I really was never interested. What I remember is when we--everybody had to work. You know, they had like a--it was called a resort--it's not a resort...


...but we used to work in these places and uh, we would get a soup at lunch time. We'd get a bucket of water but it was called a soup--that's what you got for working. Uh, I personal used to make from potato peeling uh, potato latkes. Sad to say I could make four entrees from one--from just potato peelings. Don't ask me now how I did it, I don't remember, but I, I know we did it. Uh, sugar was out of the question, butter was out of the question. We each got so many grams for--per week. People were starving.

Right out in the streets?

In the streets. That was in the ghetto.

Was there any disease?

I don't recall it. I'm sure there was. I'm sure that uh, tuberculosis were just, you know uh, raging the place, because uh, people didn't have what to eat, and if you were a big eater--my luck was I was never a big eater so whatever I had, I could satisfy myself.

Then what happened? What did--where did you work in the ghetto?

I worked in a um, place that was making hand uh, knitted stuff uh, weaving, like scarves. Who dreamt for--I don't know, but it had to go to the Germans. We were making fabrics.


No, no, no. Uh, mine wasn't particular hard work. It wasn't hard, but some people uh, worked with the uh, vegetables, with the food. Some people worked with the letterer. I mean, they were using us.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn