06 October 2007

Poland: Lodz Ghetto work card indexing

Lodz, Poland researcher Roni Seibel Liebowitz of New York has announced the indexing of Lodz Ghetto Work ID Cards, thanks to Richard J. Astor who has generously funded the project to honor the memory of his father. Alec Astor was born Ajzyk Abersztajn in Lodz in 1915. He lived through the Holocaust and died in London in 2006.

Read the project's announcement and see a photo of Alec Astor on the JewishGen Lodz ShtetLinks site.

Work in the Lodz Ghetto was the gold currency. Without a labor force, the sealed community could not obtain money for food and other necessities. Everyone, from the youngest child to the elderly, needed to work to survive. These workers obtained Identification Work Cards.

Those forced into the ghetto were not only from Lodz and surrounding towns; many were brought there from other areas in Poland as well as other occupied Eastern European countries. This database will provide family researchers with detailed information about what their family member did on a daily basis in the ghetto in order to (try to) survive. It also provides scholars, educators, and students of the Holocaust with the variety of labor that existed in the ghetto.

A computerized index will be created of the 23 rolls of microfilmed Identification Cards at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Each roll contains between 800-1,200 frames. The index will then become searchable in the JewishGen Holocaust Database, which currently incorporates more than 100 databases from a range of sources.

The project will also serve as a USHMM finding aid. Using an individual's ID number and worker name, researchers will be able to request a copy of the card.

Card information may include worker number, gender, date of birth, age as of 01-Jan-1943, ghetto address, card owner's signature, date of employment, profession, type and place of work.

Sometimes included: the name and signature of the job manager or whether the worker was allowed on the streets during curfew. Some are stamped with dates of death or transport. Many cards have photographs, but the images cannot be included in the project, but will be on copies of requested cards from the USHMM.

Says Liebowitz, "This project would not be possible without the generosity of Richard J. Astor. Additionally, Nolan Altman and his experienced cadre of indexers graciously agreed to undertake this project. A council of proofreaders will be created to do the quality control."

A tip supplied by Celia Male of the UK, indicates that there is a BBC Radio 4 drama about the Lodz ghetto and Stutthof. "The Conversation" is available here or here for one week:

"Dramatic reconstruction of a conversation between Trevor Friedman and Roman Halter, whose fathers were Jewish slave labourers in Poland and then Germany. Trevor knew almost nothing of his father's extraordinary story until 24 years after his death. With Harry Towb, Jonathan Tafler. Directed by Toby Swift."


  1. Assaf Kahana11:14 AM

    Please help me having a copy of my mother BRESLER Chawa Rachel
    worker card. Her worker number was 50512

    Thank you in advance

    1. Anonymous4:02 AM

      The best way of getting a copy is to contact the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. They have all of them on microfilm and are very helpful.
      Good luck!

  2. Anonymous7:59 PM

    visit http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust/0147_Lodz_work_cards.html