Thu, Apr 04
01:00PM
Thu, Apr 04
01:00PM

lecture

The Lodz Ghetto and the Kriminalpolizei: Jews, Neighbors, and Perpetrators in the Holocaust - Live on Zoom

The German criminal police (Kriminalpolizei, or Kripo) maintained a permanent station in the Lodz ghetto, which over the four years of its existence imprisoned some 200,000 Jews. Responsible for stopping smuggling networks and for gathering information about hidden possessions inside and outside the ghetto, the Kripo relied heavily on local ethnic Germans, the so-called Volksdeutsche. These policemen exploited their prewar social networks in their investigations and carried out violent acts against Jews familiar to them. They deployed their Polish and Yiddish language skills in interrogations of suspects, and they used their knowledge of Jewish religious practices and local customs to spy on the Jews and later to evaluate their confiscated property.

In this talk,¬†Winson Chu¬†focuses on how police records in Poland and survivor sources at YIVO enable a better understanding of such prewar connections with wartime perpetrators. By providing additional detail and context to existing accounts of ghetto experiences, this approach re-embeds Jews into interethnic relations in prewar Lodz and Nazi-occupied Poland and questions the common perception of the Lodz ghetto as “hermetically sealed.”


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