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About the Project

An Interdisciplinary Project for the Museum of the Independence Traditions in Łódź.

Litzmannstadt-Ghetto was the longest lasting and the second biggest concentration and labour camp for Polish Jews. You can still find the traces of the ghetto in Łodź but its history is unknown to the majority of citizens. The visitors, the survivors or their offspring seek their family sagas but they are unable to place them. Radegast Railway Station - the Museum of the Independence Traditions is the second best attended in the rating of Łódź places of interest. The Jewish Cemetery comes first. Both attract attention of people interested in the plight the Jews faced in the 2nd World War. In 2005 activities popularizing the history of Jewish citizens of Łodź were started. They are performed in the historical warehouse of the former ghetto railway station. In 2015 the Museum of the Independence Traditions launched the project called "A Litzmannstadt-Ghetto Model".

The project is aimed at using modern technologies to create a public platform which will commemorate te Jews of Lódź worldwide. Their history will be popularized in the context of multicultural and multinational heritage of Łódź. A repository of documents and photography as well as virtual and static models of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto will be made. The above will be accompanied by different educational and scientific events. The project has been supported by both Polish and international institutions, to name just a few: the Association of Former Residents of Łódź in Israel, South African Holocaust&Genocide Foundation, ARGE grenzen erzählen, Stiftung des Dokumentationsarchivs des Österreichischen Widerstands, NS-Dokumentationscezentrum, Gedenken-Gestelten, Stiftung Topographie des Terrors, the National Archive of Lódź, the Institute of Tolerance, the Marek Edelman Dialogue Center in Lódź, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The Litzmannstadt Ghetto Model Project is based on three integral elements which will be created on the grounds of queries and information gathered in onnection with all the past and ongoing activities concerning the ghetto's history. It is of utmost importance to collect all maps of the ghetto, building plans and archival photos to best represent architectural structure. Comparative material in the form of contemporary pictures for former ghetto sites as well as those related to the history of the Łódź Jewish population will be provided. Ultimately, we intend to present stories and recollections of the buildings and places gathered among the ghetto survivors. At this stage the project is supported by overseas partners, which will increase the amount of material available.

On the basis of the above mentioned material historic static and virtual models and a scientific multimedia presentation will be made.

Consistency and integrity of all the elements will ensure a uniform and a modern graphic design developed by a technical team and a designer.

 

The 1st element: A Virtual, Interactive 2D/3D Ghetto Model and Argumented Reality.

The first step of the Project is to create a website devoted to the history and commemoration of Litzmannstadt Ghetto. The primary source of the submitted information will be a 2D ghetto plan which will be enriched by new and interesting forms of image presentation, that is a 3D object visualisation, a bird-eye view, an old-into-conterporary image morph and audio files. It will all be accompanied by ample historic commentary and audio / video file incluing a witness's account. Moving about an interactive ghetto plan, the user will aso be able to make use of the authors' suggestions related to the particular websites, projects or institutions devoted to varied Litzmannstadt Ghetto historical topics. The website will enable a virtual tour. Through connecting the site to social media we will make it possible to engage a wide population in constant creating and updating the website. The contents provided this way will be verified and shared. The site will be translated into 4 languages (Polish, English, German and Hebrew).

The Lodz Ghetto is an exeptional case not only due to its long existence, but also because of a number of the preseved photographs and the the unique way in which they were taken. In the National Archive in Łódź there are about 12 thousand photos stored, and the minor collections are kept in other archives. The project will allow for the storage of these in one place through the system of interactive objects and the application of numerous links shared by various institutions.

The website will be prepared in the mobile form operating in 3 stystems.

The Organizer will share those applications in the Museum of the Independence Traditions in Lodź, in particular to Radegast Railway Station visitors and organized groups intending to make use of them as an educational aid.

A tourist or a group of tourists entering the premises of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto Holocaust Monument will read the information board and find out about the possibility of using a mobile website.

Open Wi-Fi and a Quick Response Code will enable a transfer to the website which can be used on the premises. QR codes will be publicized and leaflets or posters printed in four languages. The presence of foreign partners in the project will allow for the presentation of the website and its sharing in partner countries' ambassies and other partner institutions.

The website will be an open application, which will allow for filling or changing its content. The content will be popularised by other multimedia too. This part of the project will take longer than the others and will be based on modern mobile technologies and digital media.

 

The 2nd element: The Historical Model

The 2nd element of the project will be the costruction of a historical model of Litzmannstadt Ghetto which will be displayed in the Museum of the Independence Traditions, Radegast Railway Station, Łódź. The model of the 1940 ghetto will be made on the basis of photographs, historical plans of the buildings and maps of the city. As there are hardly any buildings left and they have been either knocked down or fall into ruin, it is well worth restoring this place to life and turning it into a tangible object. The model will show streets and buildings, footbridges, tramlines and Radegast railway station with a scale of 1:400. Laser will cut tenement houses and other premises out of special cadrboard and a 3D printer will manufacture minor elements like cars or trams. The approximate measurements are 4 x 10 meters.

The project will be innovative. The model will be animated by means of illumination, moving pictures and sound. A special console will allow the control and choice of accessible files and the visitors will have audio and video recordings at their disposal. Those recordings will be

assigned to specially lit up 40 chosen buildings. They will include commentaries by a historian, archival photos and memoirs. A Polish, English, Hebrew and German laguage version will be prepared and LCD displays will allow watching videos in above mentioned languages simultaneously. Additionally, historians will work out independent "educational paths" round the model. Visitors will follow the backlights, walk the streets of the ghetto and become acquainted with the history of particular places. A surround loudspeaker system will inform the tourists of the available multimedia.

The outcome of the project will be an interactive model which will be the largest and the only one of a kind in Poland. It will become a valuable exhibit, a multimedia source of knowledge on the Ghetto's history and a basis for further educational activity. Thanks to a thorough analysis of hundreds of photographs and archival plans, the model which we are going to present to tourists and the residents of Lodz will undoubtedly be the subject of numerous discussions and examinations. Even if only partially, it will restore the memory of that tragic event from the history of our city. It will also be a unique educational tool.

Creating a historical model is a big undertaking which requires involvement on the part of historians, institutions as well as the survivors and their families. In order to reconstruct the buildings it is crucial to gather substantial photographic material in the form of scans, plans and satellite maps. The above mentioned can be obtained due to our cooperation with institutions engaged in the theme of the Holocaust. However, at this point we would like to appeal to all those who might be in possession of photographs of the buildings (in the foreground and/or background), as these could certainly help us create the ghetto model (contact details set out at the end of the article).

 

The 3rd Element: Multimedia Presentation

The 3rd element of the project will be the multimedia presentation which will show the life and activity of the Jewish community of Łodź. The target place for the presentation will be a modern multimedia center called "Towards Multiculture" located in the basement of Cathedral Basilica in Łódź. This unique hall comprises a panoramic 37-meter screen connected to several projectors and to a modern sound system. This public place is a token of multicultural initiatives. Northern stained glass windows were funded by Jews, the others - by Lutherans and Protestants. The film presenting the Jewish heritage of Łódź will thus play an educational role and serve as a tourist attraction.

The exploitation of the hall's technical possibilities will definitely add a touch of aesthetic and emotional glamour to the whole presentation. A historian and Israel Poznanski will lead the viewer through the history of Jews in Łodź, starting from their first appearance in the city, through their influence on the architecture, economy and people's life, to the times of the 2nd World War. The presentation will consist of a featured documentary, witnesses' accounts, experts' statements, bird's-eye shot videos and a multitude of archival photographs. The presentation will be a stationary event presenting multiculture of Łodź and Jews' share in constucting the city. It will play an educational role and will promote the activity of the Museum of the Independence Traditions. A Polish and an English version of the presentation will be prepared and an additional video file will be made for screenings at Radegast Railway Station.

All the three elements form a unity and will be on display in the exhibition hall of Radegast Railway Station. The availability of a mobile version of the website will enrich the interactive offer of the historic model in the building. In turn, the video will describe the impact of the Jewish population and everyday life of this community in the pre-War city of Lodz. All the above mentioned elements will become an integrated whole showing the history of Jews throughout history.

Due to a large amount of the preserved material the Litzmannstadt Ghetto Mock-up Project is a multiannual plan. In the course of the project The Museum of the Independence Traditions, Radegast Railway Station, Lodz will implement a series of activities. The planned undertakings will be of varied nature. There will be meetings, walks and anti-discrimination workshops. The museum intends to develop cooperation with a number of scientific institutions and associations whose activity is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Jewish cultural heritage.

All people or institutions eager to financially or substantively support the project are requested to contact Ms Izabela Terela - i.terela@muzeumtradycji.pl, gettomodel@radegast.pl

Izabela Terela is a historian, assistant professor in the Museum of the Independence Traditions, Radegast Railway Station, Łódź. At present in charge of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto Model Project.

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