Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

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Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 31 Dec 2019 23:30

What are your thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto) during WWII? Personally, I strongly detest his autocratic ruling style but unfortunately have to conclude that his strategy of cooperating with the Nazis in an attempt to save a part of Lodz Jewry was ultimately a very smart strategy. Had the July 20th Plot succeeded, Lodz would have had about 68,000 surviving Jews as opposed to only 877 surviving Jews. True, the July 20th Plot ultimately failed, but it had a good chance of succeeding and had history taken a different turn, a sizable fraction of Lodz's Jewish population (perhaps a third or a fourth of Lodz's pre-war Jewish population) could have survived the Holocaust.

Now, compare this with the "more principled" actions of Jewish ghetto leaders in other parts of Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII. Would any other Jewish communities in Poland have survived long enough to take advantage of the July 20th Plot if it would have actually succeeded? To my knowledge, No--and the reason for this is because the other Jewish communities in Nazi-occupied Poland were unfortunately already fully exterminated by the time of the July 20th Plot. Rumkowski's strategy, as disgusting and morally questionable as it was, was the only realistic path to survival for a sizable fraction of Lodz's Jewish population. The fact that this gamble ultimately failed does not mean that this gamble could not have succeeded in different circumstances--such as in the event of a successful July 20th Plot. Thus, ultimately, if I would have been put in Rumkowski's population, I would have probably literally felt compelled to act as he did in regards to the question of deportations (with the exception of the final deportations, of course). After all, the strategies of Jewish ghetto leaders in other parts of Poland didn't even give a sizable fraction of their Jewish population a chance of survival like Rumkowski's strategy did.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by history1 » 04 Jan 2020 12:38

Futurist wrote:
31 Dec 2019 23:30
[... ] a sizable fraction of Lodz's Jewish population (perhaps a third or a fourth of Lodz's pre-war Jewish population) could have survived the Holocaust.
[...]
Anyway, any thoughts on this?
But in the Litzmannstadt ghetto were not only Jews from the city housed but also deported Jews from Austria and Germany, etc. and Roma/Sinti from Austria.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 04 Jan 2020 20:57

So, the percentage of surviving Lodz Jews might have been a bit lower. I do wonder how many native Lodz Jews lived in the Lodz Ghetto in July 1944. There was a total population of around 67,000 Jews in Lodz in July 1944, but how many of these were native Lodz Jews? 40,000? 50,000?

In any case, though, my point still stands that with a little bit more luck (such as a successful July 20th Plot), Lodz Jewry would have had tens of thousands more survivors than the Jews of other Polish cities would have had.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 21 Jun 2020 23:19

You know, I really do wonder if the Soviets could have saved those tens of thousands of Lodz Jews who were still alive at the start of August 1944 had they continued their advance deeper into Poland during this time.

Thoughts?

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by wm » 24 Jun 2020 19:52

No Soviet advance across the Vistula was possible at that time.

From the legal point of view, Rumkowski was a mass murderer. There was nothing in Polish law that gave him any right to do what he did.
I'm sure people and especially children he and his police sent to death would agree.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 24 Jun 2020 20:02

wm wrote:
24 Jun 2020 19:52
No Soviet advance across the Vistula was possible at that time.

From the legal point of view, Rumkowski was a mass murderer. There was nothing in Polish law that gave him any right to do what he did.
I'm sure people and especially children he and his police sent to death would agree.
Would you feel differently about him had the July 20th Plot succeeded and 67,000 or so additional Lodz Jews would have been saved?

As for legality, sometimes an action can be illegal and yet nevertheless be morally justified--either due to it being moral or alternatively due to it being the least immoral option available. You can decide whether or not this is true in this specific case.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by wm » 24 Jun 2020 21:16

The mood of panic is intensifying by the second. All kinds of rumors are repeated from lips to lips that we should expect the worst. At four Rumkowski and [Dawid] Warszawski, the supreme director of a number of workshops, gave speeches on Firemen's Square.
They said that "the sacrifice of the children and the elderly is necessary," that "nothing could be done to prevent it," and asked us "not to hinder carrying out the deportation action."

It was easy for them to say that because they managed to secure from the Germans exemption from the deportation for children of workshop directors, firemen, policemen, doctors, instructors, the Beirat, and the Devil knows who else.
In addition, all kinds of connections will be set in motion now (thousands of the well-connected elderly, the sick, and children will be saved), and the Germans who have demanded 25,000 people will receive in their place completely different persons who, though able to work, will nevertheless be sacrificed to make up for the "connected" children and elderly.
The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak
Do you understand what he's trying to say? They sent the poor, weak, vulnerable, children, elderly first. In the end, the well connected survived.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 24 Jun 2020 21:19

wm wrote:
24 Jun 2020 21:16
The mood of panic is intensifying by the second. All kinds of rumors are repeated from lips to lips that we should expect the worst. At four Rumkowski and [Dawid] Warszawski, the supreme director of a number of workshops, gave speeches on Firemen's Square.
They said that "the sacrifice of the children and the elderly is necessary," that "nothing could be done to prevent it," and asked us "not to hinder carrying out the deportation action."

It was easy for them to say that because they managed to secure from the Germans exemption from the deportation for children of workshop directors, firemen, policemen, doctors, instructors, the Beirat, and the Devil knows who else.
In addition, all kinds of connections will be set in motion now (thousands of the well-connected elderly, the sick, and children will be saved), and the Germans who have demanded 25,000 people will receive in their place completely different persons who, though able to work, will nevertheless be sacrificed to make up for the "connected" children and elderly.
The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak
Do you understand what he's trying to say? They sent the poor, weak, vulnerable, children, elderly first. In the end, the well connected survived.
They sent the poor, weak, vulnerable, children, and elderly first because it was either lose everyone or lose them and hope that they could save a part of Lodz's remaining Jewish population.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by wm » 24 Jun 2020 21:39

Although their common characteristic was they weren't well connected.

A Berni Sanders' relative was the head of Judenrat in a G-d forgotten town in Galicia. When they asked him for a list of deportees he delivered a list with a single name - his own.

Would you send your policemen and doctors to hunt for other people's children?

The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life, knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 24 Jun 2020 22:06

wm wrote:
24 Jun 2020 21:39
Although their common characteristic was they weren't well connected.

A Berni Sanders' relative was the head of Judenrat in a G-d forgotten town in Galicia. When they asked him for a list of deportees he delivered a list with a single name - his own.
And I certainly applaud him for this!
Would you send your policemen and doctors to hunt for other people's children?
No, probably not, but it might nevertheless be a blessing to a certain extent if someone in a town would be willing to do this in order to ensure that a part of a town's Jewish community (or some other community) would survive as opposed to all of them being wiped out.
The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life, knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.
Great quote.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by Futurist » 24 Jun 2020 22:07

Do you believe that what Traian Popovici did in Chernivtsi was wrong? He had to decide which Jews will live or die and was able to save a third of Chernivtsi's Jewish community from the Holocaust but not the rest of Chernivtsi's Jewish community.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by history1 » 25 Jun 2020 12:44

wm wrote:
24 Jun 2020 19:52
[...] From the legal point of view, Rumkowski was a mass murderer. There was nothing in Polish law that gave him any right to do what he did. [...]
Since when was Polish law valid in occupied Poland? Nice try.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by history1 » 25 Jun 2020 12:58

wm wrote:
24 Jun 2020 21:16
[...] They said that "the sacrifice of the children and the elderly is necessary," that "nothing could be done to prevent it," and asked us "not to hinder carrying out the deportation action."
[...]
The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak
Do you understand what he's trying to say? They sent the poor, weak, vulnerable, children, elderly first. In the end, the well connected survived.
I see what you´re trying by ommiting the content of the whole speech. Same tactic is often used by Poles supporting the PiS-propaganda FB-page "Edward Reid-POLISH TRUTH".

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by wm » 25 Jun 2020 19:42

Futurist wrote:
24 Jun 2020 22:07
Do you believe that what Traian Popovici did in Chernivtsi was wrong? He had to decide which Jews will live or die and was able to save a third of Chernivtsi's Jewish community from the Holocaust but not the rest of Chernivtsi's Jewish community.
In 1941 Popovici prevented the relocation of some Jews from Bukowina to Transnistria. In 1941 the Holocaust didn't exist yet so he didn't really save them from the Holocaust.
After all, in the end the Jews in Bukowina could have been killed and the Jews in Transnistria spared. That was something he couldn't possibly know in 1941.

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Re: Thoughts on Chaim Rumkowski (the head of the Lodz Ghetto during WWII)?

Post by wm » 25 Jun 2020 19:48

history1 wrote:
25 Jun 2020 12:44
Since when was Polish law valid in occupied Poland? Nice try.
Ask the thousands of people so laboriously recorded by ansata1976. They all were sentenced according to Polish law for crimes committed in occupied Poland.

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