Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Freda Magnus - July 22, 1982

Germans Occupy Łódź

There was uh, when you first heard about the war how long was it after that the Germans came to your house.

I, I told you, right away.

Right away? Very, very quickly. Was there anything your family...

Right away. To my house this was the first time. They came later again, then they made the ghetto, you know, I was in the ghetto six years.

Well we're gonna--I'm going to ask you about that. Is there anything your family could do--were there any options your family had once they heard about the war?

No we didn't but uh, you know, men start running away but my mother didn't let nobody from us to run. She said, "What happen--will happen to us will happen to you." We had been a very close family so my mother didn't let nobody to run so we stayed home.

Stayed and then you said the Germans came very quickly--days--matter of days was it?

Yeah matter of days was uh, they was uh, they came right away they occupied Poland. So soon they are in the ci...in Łódź was a very German city, see? It was one part German, one part Polish and one part Jewish. The city was divided by three parts equally and was so many Germans. And before the war we didn't know that they were Germans, we thought they were Gentile, you know? And so soon they came into Łódź they all put on the swastikas--the German people, you understand? And they start robbing and throwing, you know, glass to the house--stones and go--just go out and take whatever they could, you know, they had been--they could do it, we didn't have nothing with what to fight back. We couldn't even fight back. Who--what type of Jew had ammunition in the house? Nobody. And that's ??? because a lot of people say to us or the children they ask, "Why did you let you--drek like this? Why didn't you..." We couldn't, was impossible, see? Because we couldn't even say, "Eh! We have been killed."


So everybody thought, you know, you know how a Jew are, they turn to God. "God help me," and that's, that's all they--we could do. We--in Poland we didn't have no help from the Polish people. In Warsaw maybe they had a little, you know, the underground but not in Poland because in Poland was a very big amount of German people. Right away they, they turned Łódź to the German state, you know. They changed the name right away to Litzmannstadt.

To what?

Litzmannstadt, that's in German. They gave it the name Litzmannstadt...

This was...

...Łódź, you know. And then after that very shortly they start transportation from the little towns around everybody to Łódź. And we, you know, us Jews start to adopt rooms in the houses for everybody, you know, to take in the other Jews what they were dislocated from their home.

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