Holocaust: the Lodz Ghetto and Postal Service

September 5, 1943: An old shoe warehouse in the Lódz (Poland) Ghetto takes delivery of 12 freight cars filled with shoes stolen from Jews murdered in concentration camps.

The stamp shown in today’s post was produced by the Council of Elders of the Lodz Ghetto, which the Germans had renamed Litzmannstadt.   Lodz was the only ghetto which had its own stamps, albeit for a very short period.  Many Germans bought large quantities of these stamps in the hope that they would have great value after the war.  The first issue consisted of two stamps, 5 Pfennig and 10 Pfennig.

The following description of mail service in the Lodz ghetto is from the award winning book, Judenrat by Isaiah Trunk (pages 178-79):

“In Lodz the local post office stopped delivering mail to the Jews in February 1940.  The Judenpost (“Jewish Mail”) was delivered to the Kehila building where it was sorted out by streets and houses, the addressees personally picking up their mail.  In the ghetto, closed on May 1, 1940, the delivery and collection of mail was accomplished along the line of an agreement reached between Rumkowski and the representative of the German post service.  By December 1940 the mail department in the ghetto employed 139 people: 62 clerks, 50 letter carriers, and 27 messengers.”

The ghetto post office had three basic functions: (i) receive and deliver mail for the ghetto which had arrived at the German Post Office; (ii) receive out going mail and passing it on to the German post Office; and (iii) act as a messenger service for the Jewish Administration.  During the first year of operations, the post office delivered over 150,000 parcels and 1,000,000 letters and postcards.  Since the ghetto post office had to be self supporting, special postage was charged in the ghetto for picking up and delivering mail.

Picture here is one of the 10 Pfennig stamps used in the Lodz Ghetto.

lodz ghetto stamp


2 thoughts on “Holocaust: the Lodz Ghetto and Postal Service

  1. Hi Lawrence,
    I have curated this stamp image from the Yad Vashem official website. As you may know, Yad Vashem, based in Israel, is the authoritative resource for all historical materials and documentation regarding the Holocaust. However, I would be interested to see what kind of evidence you have to support your claim that the stamp did not originate from the Lodz Ghetto.

    Here is a link to the Yad Vashem website showing the stamp image, along with many other images from the Lodz Ghetto: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/resource_center/item.asp?GATE=Z&list_type=3-0&TYPE_ID=107&TOTAL=&pn=4&title=Lodz#!prettyPhoto


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