Rape by Troops, Hangings, Expulsion of Thousands Related in Letter from Lodz

Rape of Jewish women by German soldiers and officers hangings of Jews, and expulsion of thousands to the Lublin “reservation” were describes in a reliable report which reached this correspondent from Lodz, Nazi Poland, today. Some of the events related in the report are unprintable. The account, which is dated Jan. 1 in Lodz, describes the situation in that city as follows:

All Jews of Lodz were originally ordered to leave the city by Jan. 15, but the Nazi authorities, realizing that this would be impossible, postponed the deadline to March 1. Meanwhile, the Gestapo is packing thousands of Jews daily into cattle trains directed to Cracow, Warsaw and Lublin. The Lublin Jewish community has been ordered by the Gestapo to prepare barracks for 15,000 persons. The expulsions are officially explained by the Nazi authorities as punishment for the refusal of the Lodz Jewish community to supply women for the military brothels.

Twenty-four members of the Jewish Community Council were arrested in connection with this refusal. After being held in prison for several weeks, they were sent on Dec. 28 to Cracow, seat of Dr. Hans Frank, Nazi civil governor of Poland.

Despite the Nuremberg “racial purity” laws, Nazi soldiers and officers drag Jewish women from their homes to military trains, where they are raped. The where abouts of many of the women remain unknown, but a large number of them are known to be held in military brothels. Jewish parents, anxious to protect their daughters are exerting all possible efforts to send them to Warsaw and Cracow.

Meanwhile, in order to mislead public opinion abroad about the treatment of the Jews, the Gestapo forced 400 Jews into a synagogue where they were directed to don their prayer shawls and pray while they were photographed with moving picture cameras. They were then led into a restaurant where food was abundantly laid out on white tablecloths and were ordered to sing and look merry for the benefit of the photographers–but were forbidden to touch the food. After the filming was completed, the Jews were taken away for forced labor.

A number of Jews and Poles were hanged for “conspiring against Nazi interests” and their bodies remained suspended for 48 hours in the Balut quarter, the poorest section of Lodz.

Panic among the Lodz Jews was described in the report as “unimaginable.” Many Jews pay as much as 1,000 zlotys for a taxicab to take them to Warsaw, two hours away. The fare by train would be ten zlotys if they could obtain tickets.

The Jewish community council, which received the order to clear the city of Jews by March 1, can hardly cope with the task. Under the Gestapo’s supervision, the council daily packs thousands of Jews into cattle cars going mainly in the direction of Warsaw and Cracow, but the trains move very slowly, sometimes taking eight days or longer, during which the Jews suffer from cold and lack of water and food. One such train reached Warsaw with eight children dead. The trains from Lodz to Lublin are few. Their number is expected to increase when the barracks in Lublin have been completed.

Jews are given three days’ notice to vacate their apartments in Lodz and directed to leave behind their furniture and other property. These apartments are then given to Germans repatriated from Baltic countries.

The report emphasizes that the 70,000 Germans in Lodz are cooperating completely with the Gestapo and are receiving confiscated Jewish enterprises as compensation.

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