Huge treasure trove of prewar Jewish artifacts unearthed in Poland

Huge treasure trove of pre-war Jewish artifacts unearthed in Poland.

An unexpected discovery was made by workmen repairing an old tenement building in Lodz, Poland: a cache of hundreds of Jewish artifacts that were believed to have been concealed before the Nazi control of the city. 

The hoard, which was neatly wrapped in newspaper and contained menorahs, kiddush and ceremonial washing cups, as well as ordinary things, was buried close to a structure just outside the Lodz Jewish Ghetto. Out of the approximately 230,000 Jews who lived in Lodz before the war, just roughly 10,000 persisted until its conclusion.

“The discovery is remarkable, especially the quantity. These are extremely valuable, historic items that testify to the history of the inhabitants of this building. I hope a special, generally accessible exhibition will be prepared,” said Agnieszka Kowalewska-Wójcik, director of the Board of Municipal Investments in Łódź. She stated that the city’s archaeological museum is receiving the relics.

According to the news of Jewish Telegraphic Agency, with almost 230,000 Jews, or 31% of the city, Lodz, one of Poland’s major industrial hubs, had one of the greatest Jewish populations in Europe prior to World War II. The Nazis executed nearly all of them while they controlled the city from 1939 until 1945.

Bartłomiej Gwóźdź, a local archaeologist said that: “For us archaeologists, such unusual finds are a challenge, but also a great joy. I don’t remember the last time such treasures were unearthed in Łódź. At the moment, each item is carefully cleaned so that nothing is damaged, broken or destroyed.”

The Jewish community of Lodz, whose offices are on the other side of the block from the building on Pónocna street where the find was made, lighted two of the menorahs during Hanukkah celebrations this year. 

The hoard is not the first significant Jewish artifacts discovered in Lodz. Researchers determined that what was discovered in a structure being excavated in the Jewish ghetto in 2018 was a bloodied prayer shawl that had been left behind during a riot in 1940, when the Nazis assaulted Jews who had congregated to pray on Yom Kippur.

Cover photo: Notes From Poland