Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hans Biebow was the chief of German Ghetto Administration of the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. Before becoming the overseer of the Ghetto he was a coffee importer in Bremen. Under his administration, the 164,000 Jews of Poland's second largest city were crammed into a small area of the city. Communication between the Ghetto inhabitants and the outside world was completely cut off and the supply of food was severely limited, ensuring that the inhabitants of the Ghetto would slowly starve. Over the course of its existence, the population of the Ghetto swelled to 204,000 with the addition of more assimilated Jews from the West. The Ghetto Administration remained in operation from April of l940 until the summer of l944 , but there were transports out of the Ghetto to death camps beginning at the end of l941 . Biebow exercised his control in part through a Jewish administration headed by Chaim Rumkowski. Rumkowski believed that the Jews could survive if they produced cheap, essential goods for the Nazis. Biebow profited substantially from graft associated with the sale of the products of Jewish labor as well as from the seized properties of his Jewish victims. He is also said to have provided less food to Ghetto inhabitants than was paid for, pocketing the difference. The Ghetto factories produced products such as boots for Nazi soldiers and were profitable for the Germans because the Jews, cut off from all resources, worked for wages that consisted of bread, soup, and other cheap essentials. The Nazi profits from the Jewish factories have been estimated at $14,000,000 and the productivity of the Ghetto was a factor in its comparatively long survival. In essence the inhabitants endured four years of starvation, illness and desperate overcrowding only to live to be shot or gassed, mainly in the concentration camps of Chelmno and Auschwitz Of the 204,000 inhabitants, approximately 5000 to 7000 survived. Among the Nazi hierarchy, Hans Biebow was an early exponent of using the Jews as cheap labor rather than killing them, but he readily adapted to the extermination policy. Survivors report his encouraging the last surviving Jews of the Ghetto in the summer of l944 to board the trains to Auschwitz with a speech that began "My Jews...” and promised work in the West. Biebow was tried and executed by a Polish court after the war.
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