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Leon Merrick: Lodz Ghetto


We had an apartment, that apartment, it was in the section of Marysin, you know, in the ghetto itself. I mean, It was, it wasn't populated you know, it was brick houses and it was a nice brand new building and it was an apartment building and we moved in over there but at night we couldn't sleep because, um, the Poles had to move out from that section and the ghetto wasn't closed yet and then the Poles came back and they were beating up the Jews who moved into their apartment. Not to my building but to the adjoining buildings. And we always heard cry, cries for help so we decided to move in the, in the city. We felt safer you know.

Leon Merrick was born in Zgierz, Poland, in 1926, the older of two boys. In 1940, Leon and his family were forced into the Lodz ghetto. In the ghetto, Leon worked in the post office, delivering letters, milk, and ration cards to the ghetto's residents. Four years later he was taken to a forced labor camp in Kielce, Poland, where he worked in an ammunition factory. After three months, Leon was moved twice, first to another forced-labor camp in Poland and then to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. In March 1945, as Allied forces closed in on Germany, Leon was moved to another concentration camp, Flossenbürg, and then forced onto a death march, from which he was liberated in April 1945. Several years after his liberation, Leon immigrated to the United States and served in the US Army during the early 1950s. Today, Leon Merrick lives in the Washington DC metropolitan area with his wife Nina, also a survivor of the Holocaust. He is one of many survivor volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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