Wood Art from the Łódź Ghetto
This wooden sculpture was found at the Łódź Ghetto. The inmate/artist wanted to celebrate Judaism, keep intellectually and artistically engaged, and distract himself from the daily horrors of ghetto life.
Depicted are several Jewish men and a child singing prayers as the year, noted on the prayer book, changes from 5700 to 5701. Rosh Hashanah 5701 was on September 21, 1941.
Inmates who produced secret art risked their lives. When the liberation forces were examining the ghettos and camps, thousands of pictures drawn by children and adults were discovered. Producing religious art was a form of resistance against the Nazis who sought to dehumanize them.
The Łódź Ghetto was the second-largest ghetto (after the Warsaw Ghetto) in Nazi-occupied Poland. The ghetto was transformed into a major industrial center, manufacturing much-needed supplies for Nazi Germany and especially for the German Army. A total of 204,000 Jews passed through the ghetto between February 1940 and January 1945. 800 inmates were all that remained when the ghetto was liberated.