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Pfaff industrial sewing machine with treadle of the type used in Lodz Ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 1990.78.3

Treadle sewing machines like this Pfaff industrial model were used by Jewish forced laborers in Lodz Ghetto in German occupied Poland from May 1940 to summer 1944. This mass produced machine was very durable and affordable. Lodz was occupied by Germany a week after the September 1939 invasion of Poland. It was renamed Litzmannstadt and, in February 1940, the Jewish population, about 160,000 people, was confined to a small sealed off ghetto. All residents had to work and many were forced laborers in ghetto factories. Eventually, nearly 100 factories were in operation. The major ones produced textiles, including uniforms for the German Army. Due to the severe overcrowding and scarce food, disease and starvation were common. The Judenrat [Jewish Council] administered the ghetto for the Germans. Judenrat chairman Mordechai Rumkowski thought hard work and high outputs would preserve the ghetto. But in January 1942, mass deportations to Chelmno killing center began; half the residents were murdered by the end of the year. In summer 1944, Lodz, the last ghetto in Poland, was destroyed and the remaining Jews were sent to Chelmno and Auschwitz-Birkenau killing centers.

Date
1920  (manufacture)
approximately 1930-approximately 1945  (use)
Geography
manufacture : Germany
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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Record last modified: 2018-11-01 13:03:15
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn4097