An enameled metal building sign from the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) Ghetto ‘Der Aelteste der Juden in Litzmannstadt-Getto Arbeits-Ressort Tricotagen-Abt.’, which translates to ‘Chairman of the Jews in Litzmann-Ghetto Labor-Department Textile Division’. This sign would have been attached to a building housing the administrative offices. Overall dimension 8.25 x 5.5 in., enameled steel, some loss of enamel and rust at the edges, an extremely rare historic relic of the Holocaust.
Lodz had been a key industrial center in prewar Poland. The Lodz ghetto thus became a major production center under the German occupation. As early as May 1940, the Germans established factories in the ghetto and used Jewish residents for forced labor. The major factories produced textiles, especially uniforms, for the German army. For a while, the appointed chairman of the ghetto, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, succeeded in making the ghetto indispensable to the Nazi war machinery by establishing a huge workforce that would serve the German war effort and thus ensure the residents’ survival. By 1943 there were almost 100 enterprises (ressorts), employing 70,000 people in these businesses.