Monday, 24 October 2016

The wall of the Jewish Ghetto


My hopes of finding tangible clues to the origins of the Blumberg family in the streets of modern Warsaw were naive to say the least. The Jewish ghetto of Warsaw was totally destroyed by the Nazis towards the end of WW2 and few Jewish people in Poland survived the terrible holocaust. This small section of red brick wall is all that remains of the Jewish area which was rebuilt by the post-war forces of occupation, Stalinist Russia. For poor Poland it was out of the frying pan ...into the fire.

In the Jewish cemetery at Lodz there are many great monuments to the wealthier Jewish merchants and industrialists of prosperous times in the 19th century. The owners of great linen mills and manufacturing factories which gave Lodz the name of 'Manchester of Poland'.

There is also a large section of the cemetery known as the Ghetto Fields, which contain hundreds of more humble graves in uniformed rows. On each stone are inscribed the names of family members spanning three or more generations. Each name from each family begins with their date of birth, anything ranging from the 1860s (grand parents and even great grandparents) to the late 1930s (babies and small children). Then there is the year of each person's death. All death dates fall between the years of 1939 and 1945. For most families, all individuals of all generations died in exactly the same year.

Few mourners come to this part of the cemetery to leave rocks and pebbles on the graves of the Ghetto Fields in the Jewish tradition. No one is buried under these humble monuments and no one survived to mourn.

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