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.
The Gehsperre [or Sperre] action was the deportation action that took place in the Lodz ghetto between September 5 and 12, 1942, which resulted in the transport of over 15,000 Jews, mostly children (under the age of 10), the elderly and the infirm, to their death in Chelmno. The Gehsperre was the second major deportation action in the ghetto. The first, which took place between January and May of the same year, took the lives of 55,000 Jews and 5,000 Roma/Sinti, who were deported to Chelmno. During the Gehsperre an embargo (Sperre) was ordered on all movement in the ghetto. Sections were blocked off in stages and the people were forcibly removed from their homes or the hospitals in which they were confined. For the first day the round-ups were conducted by the ghetto police and their assistants, but the Germans, finding them inefficient, took over thereafter. The brutality of the German police resulted in the death of hundreds of Jews who tried to evade capture. The round-ups were followed by selections, during which those less suitable for work were chosen for deportation. Prior to their transfer out of the ghetto, the deportees were held at assembly centers located in the hospitals and central prison of the ghetto. From these points they were marched or transported to the deportation trains that came to the Radogoszcz [Radegast] railroad siding in Marysin.
Sources: Dawidowicz, Lucy S., The War Against the Jews 1933-1945. New York, 1975.