All over Poland Jews, and eventually all over Europe, Jews were being forced from their homes into ghettoes.
This was not the first time Jews were forced to live in ghettoes. The very first ghetto, the Venetian ghetto was instituted in March 1516 and is the oldest Jewish ghetto in the world.
Sign at the entrance of the Gheto Vechio ‘old quarter’ where the Jewish people were forced to reside under the Venetian Republic
It is possible that the word ghetto even has its root from this first ghetto, the ghetto vechio, old quarter.
Why did the Nazis revert to this “ancient method” of segregation?
- It made it easier to rob us. We were forced to leave all wealth behind so the Nazis could come and help themselves to whatever wealth as left behind in the Jewish homes.
- It was an easy, if not efficient way to kill Jews through malnutrition, starvation, and in adequate sewage.
- Gave the Nazis a collected pool of available manual laborers.
- By cutting us off from society, it further dehumanized us and ultimately paved the way for mass murder.
- By collecting Jews in a confined space it made it easier to deport them to the camps soon to be built.
The three largest ghettos in Poland were found in the cities of Lodz, Krakow, and Warsaw. While there are similarities between all three, there are certain unique traits to each one and we will cover each of them.