am Institut für Germanistik der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

The Ghetto Chronicles

About the project

Deutsche Chronikseite
Deutsche Chronikseite

One of the Arbeitsstelle’s core research areas of the past years has been the edition  and analysis of texts from the Lodz/Litzmannstadt Ghetto, in particular the Ghetto Chronicle.

Comprising numerous private diaries and reports that bear witness about the situation among the Jewish as well as the German administration of the ghetto, the Chronicle provides a unique and rich source for the understanding and the exploration of the history of the ghetto and its inhabitants.

Within the archive of the Jewish ghetto administration, a small group of employees began their work on the Chronicle of the ghetto in January 1941.

On a regular basis, the chroniclers documented the latest and most important events of each day; they kept records of statistical data about the number of inhabitants, the diseases in the ghetto, the causes of deaths. Furthermore, they wrote feuilletonistic articles about various aspects of the ghetto life.

The daily records, which were composed continually until the end of July 1944, enable the reader of today to gain an impressive insight into the history of the ghetto.

Polnische Chronikseite
Polnische Chronikseite

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation/DFG) funded the multi-year project which brought together a German-Polish cooperation of researchers from the Arbeitsstelle Holocaustliteratur, the University of Lodz and the State Archive Lodz, who composed the first complete edition of this central text about the ghetto and its inhabitants.

The German edition was published in 2007 in Göttingen by Wallstein Verlag and in 2009, the five-volume Polish edition was published by Lodz University Press.

The present edition combines and brings together all the historic records of its textual witnesses and makes them available to the public for the very first time.

The edition is rounded out by a detailed discussion of the linguistic particularities, as well as of the historical contexts. The Chronicle was, however, subject to certain restrictions and therefore cannot provide a complete picture of the ghetto, which is why it was of great importance to the editors to embed the edition into a larger context by including materials such as numerous diaries, memoirs and documents. The result is a document, which facilitates a broad insight into the ghetto, illuminating many perspectives and allowing many voices to be heard, especially those of the people who suffered there.

The German edition has received great attention in the large national German newspapers, such as the FAZ, the Süddeutschen Zeitung, the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Zeit was acknowledged very positively throughout. Numerous articles and reviews were published in the press as well as in scientific journals.

There are also a number of other projects about the Lodz/Litzmannstadt Ghetto which have prepared, accompanied or continued the editing process of the printed edition of the Ghetto Chronicle:

In 2002, within a German-Polish project, the Arbeitsstelle Holocaustliteratur published the reports of one of the authors of the Chronicle,  Dr. Oskar Singer, entitled “Im Eilschritt durch den Getto-Tag”. The publication was funded by the Ernst-Ludwig Chambré-Stiftung zu Lich and the RAG Essen.

On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz/Litzmannstadt Ghetto in 2004 a volume entitled “Letzte Tage. Die Lodzer Getto-Chronik Juni/Juli 1944” – a pre-release of the last two month of the Chronicle – was published by Wallstein Verlag. The publication was made possible thanks to funds provided by the Ernst-Ludwig Chambré-Stiftung and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Within his dissertation, Sascha Feuchert extensively studied the works of Oskar Rosenfeld and Oskar Singer, two of the central authors of the Ghetto Chronicle, in particular from 1942 onwards. His book  is entitled “Oskar Rosenfeld und Oskar Singer – zwei Autoren des Lodzer Gettos” and was published by Peter Lang Verlag in 2004.

Since last year, parts of the Chronicles can also be accessed online. The online access was made possible thanks to a project of the Exzellenzinitiative Hessen (LOEWE) in the frame of which the Arbeitsstelle Holocaustliteratur cooperated with the Herder Institute in Marburg, the Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen (University of Applied Sciences/ THM) and the Zentrum für Medien und Interaktivität (Center for Media and Interactivity/ ZMI) of the Justus-Liebig-University.

The Hessische Rundfunk, the man radio station in Hesse, carried out a unique experiment: Until August 2012, for a period of one year, a daily reading of the Chronicle’ entries of the last twelve months of the ghetto was broadcasted. Every day at the same time (at 12:55 am) a slightly abridged entry was read out on the radio station  HR2.

Rezensionen zur Getto-Chronik

Die Chronik des Gettos Lodz/Litzmannstadt wurde im nationalen und internationalen Feuilleton breit besprochen. Unter anderem sind Rezensionen erschienen in:


Arbeitsstelle Holocaustliteratur
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