1 mark ghetto currency note, dated 15 May 1940, for use in Lodz Ghetto (Litzmannstadt).
The key industrial city of Lodz contained, after Warsaw, the second largest Jewish community in pre-war Poland. One week after the Germans attacked Poland on 1 September 1939, Lodz was occupied by the German Army, and renamed Litzmannstadt.
Early in February 1940 the Germans ordered the establishment of a ghetto in the northeastern section of Lodz. Over 150,000 Jews, more than a third of the total population of Lodz, were forced into a small area of the city. More Jews (nearly 40,000) and some Gypsies were transported to the Lodz Ghetto in 1941-42.
The Ghetto was isolated from the rest of the city by barbed-wire fencing patrolled by SS units.
The Lodz Ghetto became a major industrial centre under the German occupation. The major factories produced textiles, particularly uniforms, for the German Army. Living conditions within the Ghetto were horrendous, and a fifth of the inhabitants were to die there.
In January 1942 deportations began from the Lodz Ghetto to the Chelmno extermination complex, and continued throughout 1942-1944. Other deportations were made to the extermination camps at Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau. By August 1944 few Jews were left in Lodz.