Lodz

Polish Gothic: Łódź Edition
  • There is a boat in the coat of arms. There is no sea nor large river anywhere near. Ex navicula navis. You wonder where would that boat go if it weren’t land-locked.
  • In winters air turns to pure poison. You breathe in, air feels fresh. Woman next to you wears a gasmask.
  • Derby is coming, so you don’t leave your home. From the window you observe police cars pass by, you stop counting at eight. The monsters are out, bloodthirsty. They hunger. You double check the locks.
  • There is now a tunnel under the city. You peek inside. You wonder if those that enter, come out the same. When you drive through, you try to not look. Lights slide against your eyelids. 
  • Old ruins is where hipsters run, or at least they look like it. What crawls under their skin, you don’t know. Soon their colourful nest will be gone, it is on attractive grounds and some see a skyscraper here. You wonder where will creatures resembling hipster go.
  • Trams and buses pass you by. The older the vehicle is, the further away it will take you. Away from the city, into the unknown. Sometimes you see the tram that could just as well be functional during nazi occupation. Where is it going to take you, if you were to enter?
  • Magenta, Cyan and Yellow flood your senses. Everything bleeds in primary colours.
  • An old railway station got rebuilt. It’s now always empty. There is an empty bus that circles between this station and the airport. The airport is empty as well. Ghosts need to leave this city, but this privilege is not for you.
  • There is art on walls. You don’t understand, but such were always things with art. Somehow it doesn’t surprise you. The colourful splashes help hide the rot.
  • Everything was a factory once. You walk the city. You wonder if you were part of a factory at some point in the past. Sound of tram passing by resemble sound of old machinery and you feel calm.
  • There is man standing at the Freedom Square . His stare is judgmental. You can’t escape it. You were never free anyway.
  • Old woman at the bus stop shows you photos. Black and white, of bad quality, you barely recognize your own city, and yet you know. This is it. The Past, such strange concept, as how can the past exist if you live in it?
  • Cranes are rising above the rot. They must feel so proud, trying to raise above all the crumbling buildings, reducing them to dust.
  • There is no Old Town. What people call Old Town is barely seen, doesn’t compare at all to glorious Old Towns of Kraków or Wrocław or Gdańsk. This city is not old at all. Towns surrounding it are much older. There used to be more, but anything younger got devoured by metropolis. Only old ones still stand, borders pressing against each other painfully.
  • Once upon a time you could go into the market and buy anything. Now the witches that traded their fares here are caged in glass and steel. You miss old times, when you passed by an old woman selling things you never saw before. You dreamed of those things for weeks, but now all of this is gone.
  • You sometimes ask yourself what would happen if Nazis stayed a little longer. You fear the answer. When new tram tracks were set, workers found bodies of Jews from occupation times. 
  • On cold autumn evening, lights flash across buildings. The Museum of Archeology and Ethnography crumbles in front of your very eyes. It rises again. People grin in the darkness and leave. There are lifeless lights hiding in the park on this very day. You are not sure if it’s safe to look.
  • Unicorn Stable, they call it. You never saw any unicorn, and yet rainbow falls on your irises. Here, many just pass by, it’s a mere tram station. Maybe if one were to wait a little longer, one could see something otherwordly. More people get in and out of trams, cars around you move slowly. Nobody stops to look for unicorns. Maybe that’s why they are gone.
  • You walk in the park, between your feet goes the line that once separated world of living and dying. Litzmannstadt Ghetto Border. You are straddling a thin line between world of living and the dead, as you know no one survived life on the side your right foot stands on, dying in gas chambers or out of overwork. You glance to the right and shopping mall greets your eyes, another old factory remade.
  • The city is dying and you can feel it. Years earlier it has been second largest city in Poland. Now you don’t even want to check. The rot is everywhere, but you’re not sure if it will ever truly die. “Promised Land” will live, even when all the citizens will be dead.

by Henryk Ross

Police in the Lodz Ghetto, run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland, escort residents for deportation during World War II.

Officially, former Polish press photojournalist Henryk Ross was forced to work by the Nazi regime as a bureaucratic photographer for the Jewish Administration’s statistics department. He took photographs for Jewish identification cards, as well as images used as propaganda for the Lodz Ghetto. Ross, a Jew, was one of at least 160,000 people held in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, second only to the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Europe.

Unofficially, at great personal danger, Ross documented the cruel truth of life under Nazi rule. In the four-year existence of the Lodz Ghetto, a quarter of its prisoners died of starvation. In 1942, nearly 20,000 were deported to the death camp of Chelmno; in 1944, 70,000 were sent to Auschwitz.

Ross buried his negatives in 1944 in attempt to preserve the historical record of what had happened in Lodz. As one of the mere 877 recorded survivors of the ghetto, Ross returned for the negatives after Lodz’s liberation, discovering that more than half of the original 6,000 remained intact. [x]

POLAND - LODZ AT NIGHT

Łódź ( city in centre of Poland ) is very famous because of old tenement houses . Here is a lot of building in this kind. Many of them are older then 150 years. Splendid place ? … then check other photos from Lodz on my flickr ! https://www.flickr.com/photos/xaevo-deluxe