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The forgotten authors of the Lodz Ghetto

Seeking Jewish writers and journalists who had been interned in the Lodz Ghetto, historian Uta Fröhlich for some days read and probed the files and documents kept in the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS). The information she gathers is for the benefit of the research project “Writing under the Holocaust” of Heidelberg University. “I have already discovered what I was looking for,” rejoices Fröhlich. “Thanks to the well-advanced digitalization, research is working out excellently.”

Particularly in the correspondence files, the so-called T/D cases, the research fellow found some reference to authors. “The letters of the persons concerned and their next of kin frequently give details about the profession and the fate of the individuals. They are a wonderful supplement of the original documents from the ghetto,” reported Fröhlich. In addition to the correspondence files, she sifted through transport lists hoping to come across other authors that may have slid into obscurity. Aside from the already well-known chroniclers of the ghetto such as Oskar Singer, numerous other writers, journalists, scholars and scientists had been confined to the Lodz Ghetto.

The Heidelberg University project is the first and exemplary attempt of reconstructing which texts were produced in a National Socialist ghetto and in which way the experience they had to undergo altered or stained the authors’ language. “The comparison with any writing created in the pre-war era should turn out to be interesting,” Fröhlich thinks. The systematic search for names is followed by intensive research on biographical data and publications of the authors found. Within the scope of the research project, contact will be made with either the surviving writers or members of their families. Fröhlich outlines her plans: “In a first step, I am collecting information now. Back home, I will do further evaluation work on the ITS material and then start an in-depth analysis,” outlines .