Interview of Alexander Groth

Surviving the ghetto

Barbara Milman: "Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. However, Warsaw, the country's capital, did not fall until September 27, 1939 and German troops waited for several more days before entering the city. At first, Jews such as Alexander Groth and his family continued to live in their prewar homes. They were still there n the spring of 1940 for the celebration of Passover, but it was not long before Polish Jews were segregated from the rest of the population.

"The first Polish ghetto was established in Lodz on May 1, 1940 and at its peak had a population of 445,000. This meant that 30% of the city's total population, plus any Jews transported from other cities, was confined to 2.4% of the city's total area. By the middle of 1941, nearly 5,000 Jews a month were dying of illness and starvation."

The Groth family was forced to move the ghetto in 1940. They were more fortunate than most because they had money, food and warm clothing as well as their own apartment. But mass deportations began as well as executions of those considered not fit for work or transport. Groth's blind grandmother was shot - as well as her husband who refused to leave her side. It was then that Alexander Groth understood that "it would take a miracle for us to survive."