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Pfaff treadle sewing machine table of the type used in Łódź Ghetto

Object | Accession Number: 1990.285.6 a-b

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    Pfaff treadle sewing machine table of the type used in Łódź Ghetto


    Brief Narrative
    Pfaff treadle sewing machine tables like this were used by Jewish forced laborers in Łódź Ghetto in German occupied Poland from May 1940 to summer 1944. This mass produced machine was very durable and affordable. Łódź 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, Łódź, the last ghetto in Poland, was destroyed and the remaining Jews were sent to Chelmno and Auschwitz-Birkenau killing centers.
    manufacture:  approximately 1920
    use:  approximately 1920-approximately 1945
    manufacture: Kaiserlautern (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    a. leg, left side, wrought, gold paint : PFAFF
    a. leg, right side, wrought, gold paint : PFAFF
    a. brace, center, wrought : PFAFF
    Manufacturer: Pfaff Industrial Company

    Physical Details

    Furnishings and Furniture
    Object Type
    Tables (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Brown, wooden treadle table with a flat edged top, rounded corners, and a rectangular hole cut near the center to hold a sewing machine. A small slot to insert the treadle belt is cut to the right of the hole. It has black painted, open work, steel legs connected by an H cross brace, with small wheels at the bottom. A large spoked wheel is attached to the right side of the brace and a rectangular treadle is attached near the bottom. Attached under the left end of the table top are 2 wooden runners to support a storage drawer (b).

    b. Rectangular, brown wooden drawer with angled upper corners and overhanging guides on the long sides, which slide into support runners on a Pfaff sewing machine table (a).
    a: Height: 30.250 inches (76.835 cm) | Width: 40.000 inches (101.6 cm) | Depth: 19.750 inches (50.165 cm)
    a : wood, steel, paint
    b : wood

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The sewing machine table was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:16:47
    This page:

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