Lenka, the daughter of Hershel and Anna Nadolna, was a three year-old toddler when the Germans occupied Lodz. Her father was a tailor.
Lodz, Poland's second largest city, had an economy based on industry, especially textiles. Much of Lodz's industry was established by Jews, and more than half of them derived their livelihoods from it. The city was also home to a large Jewish working class. Lodz was a center of Jewish culture and political and social activity.
When the Germans occupied Lodz on September 8, 1939, they began a brutal persecution of the Jews. Curfews, random harassment, riots, abductions, and plunder of homes and stores were common. All Jewish-owned bank accounts were blocked, and most Jewish-owned businesses were confiscated. Jews could no longer use public transportation and were forbidden to leave the city. Religious services were no longer permitted, and Jews could not own cars and radios. In November, all synagogues were destroyed, and Jews were ordered to wear the yellow star. In February 1940, the 164,000 Jewish residents of the city were forced to live in a rundown part of town. They were crowded into a very small ghetto where there was inadequate food, medicine and heat. The ghetto was sealed off from the outside world on April 30, 1940. Thousands soon died of starvation, disease or exposure. The Germans moved 38,000 more Jews from areas outside Lodz into the ghetto.
In January 1942, the Germans began deporting ghetto residents to the Chelmno death camp. By September, the ghetto was almost empty. Very few children were left. Only able-bodied men and women were kept alive for forced labor. The Nazis decided to empty the ghetto in the spring of 1944. Clearing the ghetto, street by street, the Germans transported the inhabitants to the death camps at Chelmno and Auschwitz. By the fall of 1944, the ghetto was empty.
We have no information about the fate of Lenka and her family. After moving into the ghetto, they were never heard from again.