First Jewish Kindergarten to Open in Lodz, Poland

Photo courtesy of Miriam Szychowsca.
Photo courtesy of Miriam Szychowsca.

Seven decades after the Germans liquidated the Lodz Ghetto and sent its remaining Jews to Auschwitz, Jerusalem-based nonprofit Shavei Israel, in partnership with the Lodz Jewish community, is planning to open the first Jewish kindergarten in the Polish city at the beginning of next month.

“Not only will this kindergarten provide an essential community service, but it will also serve as a symbol of Jewish revival in Lodz,” said Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund, adding that, “The fact that Jewish children in Lodz will be singing Sabbath songs, learning about the Patriarchs and celebrating the festivals is perhaps the best possible revenge for what was done to our people there during the dark days of the Holocaust.”

The city was historically home to one of Poland’s most vibrant Jewish communities – and one of the largest ghettos during the Holocaust – but Jewish life all but disappeared from Lodz in 1944, Freund noted.

There are approximately 4,000 Jews officially registered as still living in Poland, but experts suggest there may be tens of thousands of other Poles with Jewish roots who, to this day, are either hiding their identities or are unaware of their Jewish heritage.