Leading Holocaust expert offers rare look into daily life in Lodz Ghetto

Brings to light Polish-Jewish writers who defied their captors through writings

by Pamela Young, Published January 28, 2013

YPSILANTI - Despite the Nazis' efforts to exterminate European Jews during World War II, one group of Polish-Jewish philosophers, journalists and writers defied their captors. What resulted is an amazing and devastating day-by-day record of life in Poland's Lodz Ghetto.  

Sascha Feuchert, leading expert on Holocaust literature, will provide insights into The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto

The public will get a rare look into this long-gone world when Sascha Feuchert, a leading expert on Holocaust literature, discusses, "The Ghetto Chronicle of Lodz/Litzmannstadt: News Bulletins from a Horrible Life," Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, 28123 Orchard Lake Rd. in Farmington Hills, Mich. The event is free and open to the public.

Feuchert is co-founder and director of the Research Unit for Holocaust Literature at Justus-Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen, Germany, and Honorary Professor of German at Eastern Michigan University.

He and a team of scholars brought the complete writings to light when they published the journal in its entirety under the title, The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto.

The city of Lodz had a population of 672,000 (233,000 of them Jewish), when German forces invaded the city in September 1939. They renamed the city Lizmannstadt and sent all Jews from Lodz to what they called the Lodz Ghetto.

Polish-Jewish writers, philosophers and poets began documenting ghetto life on a daily basis starting in January 1941. They called their work, The Bulletin of the Daily Chronicle, or  "the newspaper without readers." Later, Jews transported to the ghetto from other parts of Europe contributed to the chronicle, which ended in 1944.

Feuchert will discuss the writings, which provide a unique look into the daily life of the ghetto inhabitants ranging from the weather and how many people died and were born, to prices on the black market.  The works also chronicle the devastation in Lodz, the second largest Jewish ghetto in Nazi Europe. More than 163,000 people were interned in 1941. By 1944, that number was reduced to 877 due to deaths and deportations.

Feuchert has won numerous awards for his research. He was recently named vice president of the German PEN-Club, an association of writers that emphasizes the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture, and the fight for freedom of expression.

As Honorary Professor, he has taught EMU students during the study abroad trip, "Representing the Holocaust," and will teach one class in EMU's course, "Culture and the Holocaust." He also is the academic adviser for EMU students when they attend JLU for up to two semesters.

He earned his doctoral degree in German literature, English literature and pedagogy in 2003 from Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.

The event is sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University Jewish Studies Program in collaboration with the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus.

For more information, contact the Jewish Studies Program at jewish.studies@emich.edu


Pamela Young

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