Lodz is Poland's second-largest city (population 776,297 in 2004). Lodz lies in the center of the country. Lodz serves as the capital of the Lodz Voivodship. In Polish, the word Lodz also means "boat."
Lodz first appears in the written record in a document giving the village of Lodzia to the bishops of Wloclawek in 1332. In 1423 King Wladyslaw Jagiello granted city rights to the village of Lodz . From then until the 18th century the town remained a small settlement on a trade route between Masovia and Silesia. In the 16th century Lodz had fewer than 800 inhabitants, mostly working on the nearby grain farms.
In 1820 Stanislaw Staszic started a movement to turn the small town into a modern centre of industry. A constant influx of workers, businessmen and craftsmen from all over the con
tinent turned Lodz into the main textile producton centre of the whole Russian Empire. The first cotton mill opened in 1825, and 14 years later the first steam-powered factory in both Poland and Russia commenced operations.
In 1850 Russia abolished the customs barrier between Congress Poland and Russia proper; industry in Lodz could now develop freely with a huge Russian market not far away. Soon Lodz became the second-largest city of Congress Poland. In 1865 the first railroad line opened (to Koluszki) opened, and soon the city had rail links with Warsaw and Bia³ystok. In the 1823-1873 period, Lodz's population doubled every ten years. The years 1870-1890 marked the period of most intense industrial development in the city's history.
Lodz soon became a major centre of the socialist movement. In 1892 a huge strike paralyzed most of the factories. During the 1905 Revolution Tsarist police killed more than 300 workers. Despite the air of impending crisis preceding World War I, Lodz grew constantly until 1914. By that year it had become one of the most densely-populated industrial cities in the world (13,280 people per square kilometre).
In 1915 Lodz came under German occupation, but with Polish independence restored in November 1918 the local population liberated Lodz and disarmed the German troops. In the aftermath of World War I, Lodz lost approximately 40% of its inhabitants, mostly owing to draft, diseases and the fact that after 1918 a huge part of the German population moved to Germany.
In 1922 Lodz became the capital of the Lodz Voivodship, but the period of rapid growth had ceased.
Lodz hosts the University of Lodz (Uniwersytet Lodzki) and the Technical University of Lodz (Politechnika Lodzka).
Litzmannstadt Ghetto was the second largest Jewish Ghetto in Poland after the Warsaw Ghetto. The Ghetto is both referred to as the Lodz Ghetto and the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, named after the German General who captured the city. The city was renamed Litzmannstadt in honor of the General during the German occupation. The Litzmannstadt is different from many of the other large Ghettos, because it was the last Ghetto to be liquidated due to the high productivity of the slave laborers and no armed resistence was ever formed.
In early February 1940, the Germans established a ghetto in the northeastern section of Lodz. About 160,000 Jews, more than a third of the city's population, were forced into a small area.
The Germans isolated the ghetto from the rest of Lodz with barbed-wire fencing. Special police units guarded the ghetto perimeter. Internal order in the ghetto was the responsibility of Jewish ghetto police. The ghetto area was divided into three parts by the intersection of two major roads. The intersection itself lay outside the ghetto. Bridges constructed over the two thoroughfares connected the three segments of the ghetto.
Streetcars for the non-Jewish population of Lodz traversed the ghetto but were not
permitted to stop within it.
Living conditions in the ghetto were horrendous. Most of the quarter had neither running water nor a sewer system. Hard labor, overcrowding, and starvation were the dominant features of life. The overwhelming majority of ghetto residents worked in German factories, receiving only meager food rations from their employers. More than 20 percent of the ghetto's population died as a direct result of the harsh living conditions.
Deportations to the Ghetto
In 1941 and 1942, almost 40,000 Jews were deported to the Lodz ghetto: 20,000 from Germany, Austria, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and Luxembourg, and almost 20,000 from the smaller provincial towns in the Warthegau. About 5,000 Roma (Gypsies) from Austria, primarily from the Burgenland province, were deported to the ghetto. They were confined in a segregated block of buildings.
Deportations from the Ghetto
In January 1942, German authorities began to deport Jews from Lodz to Chelmno extermination camp. By September 1942, they had deported over 70,000 Jews and about 5,000 Roma to Chelmno. At Chelmno, a special SS detachment killed the Jewish deportees in mobile gas vans (trucks with a hermetically sealed compartment that served as a gas chamber). Jews were concentrated at assembly points in the ghetto before deportation. The Germans at first required the Jewish council to prepare lists of deportees. As this method failed to fill required quotas, the Germans resorted to police roundups. German personnel shot and killed hundreds of Jews, including children, the elderly, and the sick, during the deportation operations.
Between September 1942 and May 1944, there were no major deportations from Lodz. The ghetto resembled a forced-labor camp. In the spring of 1944, the Nazis decided to destroy the Lodz ghetto. By then, Lodz was the last remaining ghetto in Poland, with a population of approximately 75,000 Jews in May 1944. In June and July 1944 the Germans resumed deportations from Lodz, and about 3,000 Jews were deported to Chelmno. The ghetto residents were told that they were being transferred to work camps in Germany. The Germans deported the surviving ghetto residents to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in August 1944.
For Tourists :
Tourists in Lodz gravitate to Piotrkowska Street, which stretches north to south for a little over four kilometres, making it the longest commercial street in the world. Recently renovated, it has many beautiful buildings dating back to the 19th century, in the architectural style of the Secession. Well worth visiting from late Spring to early Autumn, strolling from one pub to another on Piotrkowska Street allows one to immerse oneself in the friendly atmosphere of this unique Polish city.
Although Lodz does not have any hills nor any large body of water, one can still get close to nature in one of the city's many parks, most notably Lagiewniki (the largest city park in Europe), Zdrowie, and Poniatowski.
Lodz Zoo, and Lodz Botanical Gardens also offer pleasant opportunities for leisure.
Lodz has one of the best museums of modern art in Poland, Muzeum Sztuki on ul. Gdanska, which displays art by all important contemporary Polish artists. Despite insufficient exhibition space (many very impressive paintings and sculptures lie in storage in the basement), what is on display is well worth seeing, and there are plans to move the museum to a larger space in the near future.
Famous people from Lodz:
Osip Abdulov - famous Soviet actor
Andrzej Bartkowiak - cinematographer and director in Hollywood
Artur Brauner - Producer, writer, casting director, editor in Germany
Avraham Chalfi - Jewish actor in Israel
Max Factor, Sr - make-up artist
Joseph Green - Jewish actor in Poland and New York
Jan Karski - Polish World War II resistance fighter
Krzysztof Kieslowski - film director (The Three Colors trilogy, The Decalogue)
Jerzy Kosinski - writer (The Painted Bird, Being There)
Tadeusz Kotarbinski - philosopher, mathematician, and logician
Daniel Libeskind - Architect, designer of the new World Trade Center
Stanislaw Mikulski - actor
Artur Partyka - high jumper
Roman Polanski - film director
Wladys³aw Reymont - Nobel Prize for Literature winner in 1924
Jozef Rotblat - Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1995
Arthur Rubinstein - classical pianist
Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski - head of the Lodz Ghetto Judenrat during Nazi rule
Zbigniew Rybczynski - film director
Andrzej Sapkowski - writer
Aleksander Tansman - composer
Julian Tuwim - poet
Michal Urbaniak - jazz violinist
Yohanan Cohen - Knesset member This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia