Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Felicia Shloss - February 9, 1983

Life in Łódź Under German Occupation

What happened in Łódź? In Łódź and a number of industries?

Well they um, the minute the Germans came in, they uh, put in some commissars uh, managers. They took over all the Jewish business. And they went into Jewish factories, they took out all the machinery from Poznanski ??? and so on from all the Jewish factories.

Was there wealthy business owners?

There were uh, wealthy, yeah. Most of the uh, owners were Jewish people--the factory owners--because the Poles were mostly land owners or peasants. There were only two classes. And in our time, when we lived, I believe it was already the middle class, they were working as uh, in government jobs, like um, the railroads and the uh, offices and so on, but they--I don't remember any Pole having a factory or anything like that. They were either the Germans or Jewish owners in Łódź, what I remember. In Piotrkow too.

When they took businesses did they also displace Jewish workers from the factories?

The Jewish--the Jews were out. The Jew wasn't allowed to stay in line for bread. It wasn't any law for any, for any of the Jews. You were hiding yourself in the house uh, my brother went out to uh, I don't know where he did go. We were young, we didn't want to be--stay in the house. There was curfew right away. I think five'o...five o'clock was the curfew, you couldn't go out of the house. It was not a question of giving a Jew a job or anything. We didn't have the right to live.

And there was food rationing then and you weren't allowed to be a part of it.

Ah! Yeah, there were lines to bakeries and um, my brother would stand once in line to bakery and one of the Poles pointed out, "Jude! Jude!" and a German came and beat him up, uh...

Your younger brother?

My younger brother. And once they caught him to work, and he was digging something--I don't know for what--a hole he was digging. And every time he dig there he was staying over him, and he was beating him up. He came home, I believe he became sick from that time on. He uh, he was spitting a little blood and uh, I guess he got sick at that time and uh, no food, nothing, no medicine--shortened his life, because he died in--I believe in 41.

How old was he?

My brother was at that time maybe fifteen or sixteen. We couldn't remember the date, we couldn't remember anything. At that time it was like uh, it's unbelievable, life wasn't--it was like a mad house. It was like--it's unbelievable to describe the times. It's un-human, I--I--you didn't know what day it was, what month it was. You didn't, you didn't know anything. Just knew--or waited from day-to-day for new orders, for horrible orders from one day to another.


© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn