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Wartime Jewish Press

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"The Program of the Ghetto Newspaper"

Program of the Geto-tsaytung, Geto-tsaytung, newspaper article 1941
Geto-tsaytung No. 1, Litzmannstadt ghetto, March 7, 1941

Throughout German-occupied eastern Europe, the Nazi-appointed Jewish administatrators of ghettos distributed "official" newspapers and other publications. "Official publications" issued by Jewish Councils featured information that was designed to encourage compliance with German policies. This information often included orders and regulations as well as interpretations of confusing or contradictory directives and practices.

One such publication was started in the late winter of 1941 in Łódź. This Polish city became the site of the second largest ghetto in German-occupied Poland after Warsaw. Unlike the Polish capital, Łódź and its ghetto were not in the GeneralgouvernementŁódź was located in the part of Poland directly annexed by Nazi Germany. When the ghetto was closed off in February 1940 and surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, it housed more than 150,000 Jews. Over the next several years, its population was increased by deportations of Jews and, to a lesser degree, Roma, from the other parts of the Reich to Łódź. At the same time, disease, starvation, and organized deportations to the Chełmno killing center reduced the ghetto population.1

The chairman of the Jewish Council (known in Łódź as the Ältestenrat, or "Council of the Elders") was Chaim Rumkowski. As the chief of the Jewish administration, Rumkowski was appointed by the Germans, and he was tasked with ensuring that their interests were met in the ghetto. Convinced that a ghetto labor force useful to the German war effort would make the ghetto indispensable to the German economy, Rumkowski forced ghetto inhabitants to follow his plans. 

About a year after the establishment of the ghetto, the Jewish administration under Rumkowski's leadership published the first issue of its official paper. In an opening article, Rumkowski outlined his vision for the role of the paper and the principles of his rule in the ghetto. The paper went through only 18 issues and ceased publication in September 1941.2

Deporations to Chełmno began in December of 1941. For a history of the Łódź ghetto, see Isaiah Trunk, Łódź Ghetto: A History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008). See also the published chronicle of the ghetto based on the official ghetto initiative mandated by Chaim Rumkowski: Lucjan Dobroszycki, ed., The Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto, 1941-1944 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987).

For more on life in Łódź during the war, see the related items in Experiencing History, "Family Life in the Łódź Ghetto", Violin Hidden in the Łódź Ghetto, and "Forty-two Weddings in the Łódź Ghetto."

Litzmannstadt was the German name for Łódź.

As in other areas of the Warthegau, the territories annexed to the Reich, the Nazis introduced German currency (the Reichsmark) in Łódź in the early months of the war. After the sealing of the ghetto, a separate ghetto currency was issued in order to further isolate the Jews from the rest of the population in the city. The currency was printed in units of Mark-Quittungen (mark receipts), broken down into 100 pfennig. Ghetto bills bore the seal of the Judenrat on them and were often referred to as "rumkis," after the chairman of the Jewish council, Chaim Rumkowski.

Dworska was a street at the heart of the Jewish ghetto administration. This particular building was the secretariat of the chairman of the Jewish council, issuing many of Rumkowski’s orders.

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The Elder of the Jews in Litzmannstadt1


Ghetto Newspaper

For Information, Decrees, and Announcements

Litzmannstadt ghetto, Friday March 7, 1941


No. 1

Price: 10 Pfennig2

Address of the editorial board: 1 Dvorska3

Interested parties are received every Tuesday, 5-7pm


Program of the Ghetto Newspaper

From today on, a newspaper in the Yiddish language will begin to appear in the ghetto, under the title of "Ghetto Newspaper."

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will strive to inform the inhabitants of the ghetto objectively regarding everything that takes place in the ghetto; to clarify exactly what is permitted and what is not permitted in the ghetto.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will shed light on all questions that concern nourishment, labor, etc.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will give the population the opportunity to become acquainted with my work in all areas of ghetto life.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will not allow the various malevolent agitators and gossips to spread irresponsible rumors that are liable to lead to chaos and unrest within the population.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will bring only the news that corresponds to the absolute truth.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will devote more space to the most important occurrences that take place in the ghetto.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will put to shame the thieves and all those who abuse their offices to the harm of the ghetto population.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will regularly provide information regarding the activities of all my various departments, offices, and labor divisions and regarding my plans for the near future.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will publish the names of those sentenced by my court and those disciplined administratively by me in person.

The "Ghetto Newspaper" will fight corruption and patronage systems in all my offices without any mercy.

I take this opportunity to remind you of the 5 slogans advanced by me at the time of our entry into the ghetto, and those are:

  1. Labor
  2. Bread
  3. Care for the Sick
  4. Supervision over the Children, and
  5. Calm in the Ghetto

I have based my activism until now upon these very slogans, and I will continue to conduct it in the same spirit, disregarding the malevolent troublemakers and agitators coming from various sides.

I will not deviate a hair's breadth from the program detailed above.

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Geto-tsaytung No. 1, Litzmannstadt ghetto, March 7, 1941
Date Created
March 7, 1941
Page(s) 1
Author / Creator
Chaim Rumkowski
Ghetto Newspaper
Łódź, Poland
Litzmannstadt, Germany (historical)
Document Type Newspaper Article
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