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Cast metal charcoal iron with hinged top and wooden handle

Object | Accession Number: 1990.81.4

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    Brief Narrative
    Cast metal charcoal iron of the type used in the Łódź Ghetto in German-occupied Poland from May 1940 to August 1944. Łódź was occupied by Germany a week after the September 1, 1939, invasion of Poland. The city was renamed Litzmannstadt, and in February 1940, approximately 160,000 people from the Jewish population were confined to a small, closed ghetto. All residents had to work, and many became forced laborers in ghetto factories. Eventually, nearly 100 factories were in operation. The major ones produced textiles, including uniforms for the Germany Army. In the ghetto, people attempted to maintain their normal lives, despite the increasing hardships. Women, when they were not laboring in the factories, worked to prepare food and do laundry for their families. These activities were made difficult by the meager food rations they received, and the lack of running water throughout most of the ghetto. Due to the severe overcrowding and scarce food, disease and starvation were common. The Judenrat (Jewish Council) were forced to administer the ghetto for the Germans. Judenrat chairman, Mordechai Rumkowski, thought hard work and increased manufacturing output would preserve the ghetto, but in January 1942, mass deportations to Chelmno killing center began. By the end of the year, half of the residents were murdered. In summer 1944, Łódź, the last ghetto in Poland, was destroyed, and the remaining Jews were sent to Chelmno and Auschwitz-Birkenau killing centers.
    use:  approximately 1900-approximately 1945
    use: Poland.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Cast metal, triangular, charcoal iron with a wooden handle. The body is hollow, with a flat base and top, and rounded sides that taper into a point at the front. There are two semi-circular openings cut near the lower edge on each side, and one cut into the back. A small, rectangular, metal plate is screwed to the back just below the opening. The top of the iron hinges open at the back, along a thin metal bar, and the edges are scalloped to allow smoke to release when it is closed. At the tip is a small crank screwed in place with a wooden handle facing upwards, used to lock the top in place. The circular handle for the iron is made of three elements: an arched metal base that is screwed to the top of the iron, a curved metal bottom that is attached to the base, and the curved wooden handle at the top that attaches to the metal bottom. The wooden handle is worn and there are areas of rust on the metal.
    overall: Height: 9.875 inches (25.083 cm) | Width: 7.875 inches (20.003 cm) | Depth: 3.625 inches (9.208 cm)
    overall : cast iron, metal, wood

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Łódź (Poland)

    Administrative Notes

    The iron was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-14 07:09:17
    This page:

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