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Notice of achievement received by a boy in a Łódź ghetto orphanage

Object | Accession Number: 2005.558.1

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    Notice of achievement received by a boy in a Łódź ghetto orphanage

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    Brief Narrative
    Picture postcard presented to 12 year old Jakub Lapides in the school he attended in the Jewish ghetto in Łódź, Poland, from 1939-1942. It recognizes his contribution to student self-government in the orphanage from August-September 1940. Jakub and his three siblings were living in an orphanage in Łódź, Poland, when it was occupied by the Germans in September 1939. The Jews were forced into a ghetto and at first, things were better for the children because the Jewish Council gave orphans larger food rations. But soon conditions worsened and hunger was everywhere. Deportations to concentration camps increased, and children and the elderly were often targeted for pickup. During one such roundup in September 1942, while Jakub and his siblings were hiding in a cemetery, they saw men delivering soup to the orphanage. As they were waiting in line, German trucks arrived; Jakub urged the others to flee with him, but they did not and he "saw that they boarded the trucks." After 2 days, he left his hiding place and went to his aunt's house because the orphanage no longer existed. In March 1944, Jakub was deported to a slave labor camp in Czestochowa. It was liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945. Jakub returned to Łódź and got a job in a bakery so that he would never be hungry again.
    commemoration:  1940 August 01-1940 September 01
    received: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jakob Lapides
    card with image, front, upper right corner to right of image, printed in black ink : A GROTTGER / " WOJNA" [WAR]
    card with image, front, below image : GLOD - LE FAMINE [HUNGER - FAMINE]
    card with image, reverse, upper right corner, printed in black ink : Printed in Poland
    card with image, reverse, printed vertically in center, black ink : (illegible) Polskich w. Krakowe
    Subject: Jakob Lapides
    Jakub (Jakob) Lapides was born on November 15, 1928, in Łódź, Poland. He had three siblings: Mosze (Moshe) born 1925, Sara, born 1926, and Miriam, born 1932. Their parents died in the late 1930s and the children were placed in orphanages. Łódź was occupied by German troops one week after Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. The city was renamed Litzmannstadt and in February 1940, the Jews were forced into a ghetto in a small section of the city. For a while, this actually improved the children's living conditions because the chairman of the Jewish council, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, arranged for children in orphanages to get extra food rations. The children in the orphanage did not have to go out and work, although they were responsible for chores around the home. Rumkowski asked members of the Beirat to adopt some of the children and Jakob’s sister, Sara, was adopted by a family.
    During the Gehsperre Aktion in September 1942, when large numbers of children and the elderly were targeted for deportation to concentration camps by the Germans, Jakob and his siblings fled the orphanage and hid in the cemetery. While they were hiding, they saw men bring huge soup pots into the courtyard of the orphanage. Unable to resist their hunger, they ran over and got in the food line. While they were waiting, Germans trucks drove in. They had not gotten their food yet, but Jakob remembered saying to his siblings: “let’s go back to the cemetery. I went back. But not Moshe, and not Miriam, they did not come back. I saw that they boarded the trucks.” He stayed hidden in the cemetery for two days, but could hear “noises and screams coming from far away from the ghetto.”
    He finally decided to go live with his maternal aunt, Lola, because the orphanage no longer existed. She lived with her four year daughter, Mania, who lived with Jakob’s grandmother, ZIsi, and another aunt, Reisel. During the Aktion, Jewish policeman had come and ordered everyone to go down to the courtyard. Lola hid Mania in the attic and went down, but their grandmother was bedridden and could not walk down. The policeman went up to search the building and, finding the grandmother in bed, threw her out the window onto a cart filled with corpses.
    He found work in a leather and saddler workshop, and later, in a sausage making factory. While there, he got seriously ill from eating spoiled horse meat, but he was so hungry that he continued to eat it. He joined a Communist youth group. Then in March 1944, he was deported to a HASAG concentration camp in Czestochowa. HASAG [Hugo Schneider Aktiengesellschaft], was the third largest consumer of forced and slave labor during the war; it produced infantry rocket launchers and other munitions. Jakub was at this camp when it was liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945.
    Jakob returned to Łódź and took a job in a bakery so he would never be hungry again. Eventually he returned to school, graduating from high school and continuing to college where he earned an engineering degree. He married a fellow survivor and they had two sons. In 1957, the family emigrated to Israel. Jakob died, age 77, in 2005.

    Physical Details

    English Polish
    Information Forms
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, offwhite card constructed from 2 postcards glued together. One card has handwritten inscription, names, and an address in Polish on the front. The other card features a black and white print of an engraving of a painting by a 19th century Polish painter. The image depicts a family seated under a large tree with an overhanging bough. Three adults sit in front of the tree: from the right: a dark haired woman with a somber face and downcast eyes in a long sleeved dress with a full skirt, a younger women with light hair, her head partly covered,and her hand pressed to her forehead, with a worried expression on her face, dressed in a flowing white robe, and a bearded man in a dark costume with his head resting on his fingers. In front of them are 2 small children reaching out their hands towards a stick of bread held by the dark haired woman. In the right background is a house and trees with a wide stream in front. In the right middle ground are 2 women in profile wearing long gowns and walking near the stream.
    overall: Height: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Width: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive
    card with text, handwritten script in black ink : Pocztówka Pamiąthowa [Postcard Commemorative]
    card with text, handwritten script, name in red ink, remainder in black ink : Jakuba Lapidesa - za współpracy / w Samorządzie [for cooperation / in local government]
    card with text, handwritten script in black ink : Litzmannstadt - Getto / Maryisiuska 100 / du. 1 / VIII 1 / XI - 1940r.
    card with text, signature, black ink : Lucjas Gold(illegible)

    Rights & Restrictions

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    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The picture postcard was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Jakob Lapides.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:57
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