The arrival and deportation of transports into and out of the Lodz ghetto are difficult to distinguish from one another. The routes taken by displaced Jews into and out of the ghetto were identical. They both arrived and departed by train at the Radogoszcz railroad station in Marysin, and proceeded on foot in columns to, or from, the ghetto. Moreover, many Jews being resettled into the ghetto brought with them small bundles and satchels similar to those carried by Jews being deported. Therefore, Lodz ghetto photographs depicting columns of Jews carrying bundles and walking down a street should not be presumed to be deportation images. More evidence is needed.
Following the public announcement of the establishment of the Lodz ghetto on February 8, 1940, Jews were expelled from all other parts of the city and moved into the ghetto area. 164,000 Jews were imprisoned in the ghetto when the Germans sealed it off on April 30, 1940. In 1941 and 1942 an additional 38,500 Jews and 5,000 Roma/Sinti were resettled in the ghetto. The Roma/Sinti and some 20,000 Jews came from central Europe between October 16 and November 4, 1941. The other 18,500 Jews were sent from provincial towns in the Warthegau region.
The first deportations from the Lodz ghetto were to labor camps in the Poznan area. These commenced in December 1940 and continued until June 1942. Deportation to death camps began in December 1941, with the transport of Roma to Chelmno. This was followed by a steady flow of Jewish transports from January through May 1942, in which 55,000 were taken to Chelmno. After a four-month hiatus, deportations resumed on September 1 with the evacuation of the ghetto hospital. This was followed by the eight day Sperre (or Gehsperre) action (September 5-12) of the ill, the elderly, and children under ten years of age. 572 Jews were murdered and 15,000 deported to Chelmno, during this action. There were no further deportations to death camps from Lodz for the next one and a half years. In the spring of 1944, the Nazis reactivated the dormant killing center in Chelmno in preparation for the ghetto's liquidation. From June 23 to July 15, 1944, 7,000 Jews were deported there. Thereafter, all deportation trains were routed to Auschwitz. The transports to Auschwitz commenced on August 7 and continued until August 30, by which time more than 74,000 Jews had been dispatched to this killing center. After this final transport, 1,200 Jews remained in two assembly camps in Lodz. Roughly half of them were soon transferred to labor camps in Germany. The remainder was put into the Jakuba Street camp in Lodz, where they collected the abandoned property and prepared it for shipment to the Reich. These 600-800 Jewish prisoners evaded a planned mass execution by taking refuge in the abandoned ghetto. They were finally liberated by the Soviets on January 19, 1945.
Henryk Rozencwajg Ross (b. 5/1/1910), Lodz ghetto photographer. Prior to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Ross worked as a photo journalist for more than 10 Polish newspapers. When World War II began he was serving in the Polish army. Soon after the Polish defeat, Ross moved to Lodz, where the following year he was forced to move into the ghetto. In 1941, while residing in the ghetto, Ross married Stefania Schoenberg. He was assigned work in the statistics department of the Jewish ghetto administration. At the end of 1941, the Lodz ghetto Jewish council created an official photography section made up of eleven photographers, including Ross and Mendel Grosman, whose job it was to take photographs for identity cards, photograph official ceremonies, ghetto products and exhibitions, and ghetto buildings that were about to be demolished. In addition to these official photographs, Ross took rolls of film documenting Jewish life and death in the ghetto. In August 1944 during the final liquidation of the ghetto, Ross crated approximately 6,000 negatives and a cache of documents and buried the material in a field near his home that was located at 12 Jagielonska Street. He was careful to bury them in the presence of his wife, Stefania, and several friends, so that if he perished someone might survive to retrieve them "for the sake of history." Fortunately, Ross survived and dug up the cache of negatives himself after the liberation. While some of the material was destroyed by water seepage, the bulk was preserved. After the war Ross moved to Israel and settled in Jaffa. In May 1961 he testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.
[Sources: Transcript of The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Session No. 24 (2 May 1961), The Nizkor Project (http//www. Nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eichmann-adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-024-01.html.); Dobroszycki, Lucjan (ed.), "The Chronicle of t he Lodz Ghetto 1941-1944." New Haven, Yale University, 1984, pp.119-120.]