Lodz Jewish Badges: Before and After the Ghetto Was Established

Figure 1.-- Here two Jewish boys (perhaps 9 to 11 years old) are walking in a street of the NAZI Lodz ghetto (1941). It must have been a chilly day because of the overcoats and caps. Notice that one of the boys has his ear flaps down around his ears. Notice the Jewish Star of David badge on the back of the one boy's coat. We are not sure whu the men do not have vissible badges. We are also not sure what the white cloth on the forearm of the man standing nearby. It looks like a white towel. Could this have been a prayer shawl? But I think prayer shawls usually have markings on them and I am mot sure they were permitted in the ghetto. Notice the barbed wire. The photograph wa taken by a German outside the Ghetto. Bundesarchive. Bild 1011-133-0703-28

NAZI authorities, to simplify the task of identifying Jews, issued regulations requiring them to wear a yellow star armband (November 14, 1939). Friedrich Übelhör for the Kalisz-Lodzannounced the regulation, “The Jews were to wear on their right arm, directly under the armpit, with no regard to age or sex, a 10cm wide band of Jewish yellow colour as a special sign. Those who violate this order are liable to face the death penalty”. Übelhör’s order was the first such requirement issued by the NAZIs. These regulations varied within NAZI-occupied Europe, even in different areas of Poland. The order was not based on Reich law. Heydrich’s decree concerning a badge for Reich Jews was not published until 2 years later (October 1, 1941). The Reich decree did not apply to children under the age of 6 years and violations were not punished by death, but instead a fine of 150 RM or up to 6 weeks arrest. This is a good example of NAZI rule in Poland and other occupied countries. It would be conducted without any constraits, even the limited constraints that had characterized NAZI rule in the Reich itself. NAZI authorities a month later the regulation was changed to the yellow Star of David badge (December 12, 1939). Greiser the Gauleiter of the Wartheland ordered Jews to wear a yellow star of David on the chest and back instead of armbands. This affected the entire Wartheland and not just the Lodz area. It was asimple yellow star without any inscription. These badges became an important part of the NAZI Holocaust throughout Europe. This is because the NAZIs found after seizing control of Germany that it was difficicult to tell just who a Jew was. Having Jews wear badges greatly simplified this process. One child in the Lodz Ghetto explained what the Star of David meant. Jutta Szmirgeld who was 12 years old explained, "The yellow badge was a kind of stamp. A stamp that distinguished me from the rest of the population. Anyone could approach me, tell me, do to me whatever they wanted." This was because the NAZI authorities would not take action against anyone attacking or stealing from Jews even before they were enclosed in the Ghetto. These regulations continued in force even after the Ghetto was established. We are not sure about enforcement or if the regulations were modified as we see photographs from the Ghetto showing Jewish children and adults without vissible badges. Here the photographic record varies. Some show most Ghetto residents wearing the bages. Other images show more variation.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to Main Lodz Ghetto page]
[Return to Main Polish ghetto page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 6:44 AM 4/6/2011
Last updated: 6:44 AM 4/6/2011