Born: 1921, Lodz, Poland
Describes conditions in the Lodz ghetto [Interview: 1990]
The whole ghetto was designed, actually, to starve the people out. Uh, if the, if the war would last another 10 years, they would liquidate the entire ghetto without firing one shot, because the statistics showed that every month more people died and died. For families that used to be five people, they're only three, because people were dying out, and getting sicker, and getting smaller, and we could see the, the, the, this, they just emaciated up to nothing. People started to look like skeletons. And it came to a point that people couldn't even work. And the work was compulsive, we have to go to work. If you miss a day of work, you get less food, because the, the, the place of work provided one soup a day. So if you didn't go to work, you get one soup less, you have to just make with what little food that you got from the monthly rations.
The Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. Leo and his family were confined to a ghetto in Lodz. Leo was forced to work as a tailor in a uniform factory. The Lodz ghetto was liquidated in 1944, and Leo was deported to Auschwitz. He was then sent to the Gross-Rosen camp system for forced labor. As the Soviet army advanced, the prisoners were transferred to the Ebensee camp in Austria. The Ebensee camp was liberated in 1945.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum - Collections