Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski – Part 2

Rumkowski was responsible for elements in the Lodz Ghetto such as food, housing, work, health and welfare services. However, this wasn’t all he had to do as the chairman of the Judenrat. Rumkowski was also in charge of performing marriage ceremonies in the ghetto, as the Nazis had forced the rabbis to manual labor instead. As the leader of the Ghetto he ensured that people knew he was charge, by doing things such as forcing the schools to put his picture up at the entrance.

 

He also had a chariot with horses and stamps with his name on them. His picture even appeared on the special money used in the Lodz Ghetto.

Rumkowski created 120 factories that produced goods for the Nazis. He believed that if he could create an alternate reality in the ghetto that everything would be fine; if the Nazis enjoyed the benefits of the ghetto then they wouldn’t destroy it. Unlike other ghetto chairmen who fought against the Nazis, he thought that if he cooperated with them, then the Nazis would have mercy upon the Lodz Ghetto.

One of the most questionable events of Rumkowski’s chairmanship took place in September 1942. He was asked to deliver 20,000 Jewish people to the Nazis. He succeeded in bringing the number down to 10,000.

 

However, he knew that those 10,000 people would be sent to their death in concentration camps. He decided to send kids under the age of ten and adults that, according to him, weren’t productive enough to the Ghetto. In his famous speech to the Lodz Ghetto residents, he said, “Bring me your children.”

What do you think that he should have done at this point? Should he have sent these 10,000 people to their deaths, or should he have fought against the Nazis? Do you believe he had a choice?

In the end, neither Rumkowski nor the Lodz Ghetto survived. He, along with his family and hundreds of thousands of others, were sent to Auschwitz on the 28th of August 1944, where they were all murdered.

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