Destination Lodz, the Lizmannstadt Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland
Imagine being a Jewish resident in a small Polish village 70 years ago. The reports coming over the family radio tell of a German blitzkrieg, bombs falling on Warsaw, casualties by the thousands… The Nazis and their secret police are sweeping through every village rooting out Jews and other “undesireables.” You’ve heard rumors of Jews from your cousin’s village dragged from their homes in the dark of night and shot. The Nazi propanda began years ago–through radio, the newspapers, the schools–to make you feel like a subhuman, a rat, a “dirty Jew.” And now your latent fears burst to the surface. What if the dreaded SS raid your village? Will your neighbors rise and resist? Will you and your family survive this nightmare?
In the back of your mind you wonder how this can be possible. Hitlers radio address echoes in your memory, but you never thought he’d act on his insane rhetoric, even after hearing of the terror of Kristalnacht less than one year ago. Surely Hitler couldn’t mean that he was going to rid the world of all Jews. This has to be some sort of horrible fantasy!
But the radio reports shock you back into the present. The German army has surged towards the Vistula River and the angels of death cannot be far behind. It’s time to gather your family’s belongings and plan your escape. But it’s too late, the Nazi officers are beating down your door, forcing you to evacuate and leave your valuables behind. Your destination? Lodz.