Above: Jews in Lodz are forced onto trains for transport to the camps

The Nazis were very effective at rounding up Jews for transport to death camps. The usual practice was to tell ghetto residents to assemble for “resettlement” in the East. These unsuspecting victims were allowed to bring an item of luggage, and had no idea that their possessions would soon be confiscated and looted. Those who did not comply with a deportation order were brutalized or executed. Not wanting to run afoul of the Nazi laws, most Jews complied with the orders to assemble for deportation.

1942 saw the first deportation of Jews from the ghettos in Poland to the death camps. In Lodz for example. the first deportation to the Chelmno death camp occurred on January 29th and escalated in stages until August 28, 1944. Eventually, nearly 5,000 Jews per day would be sent to the Treblinka camp. 

This ongoing evacuation of friends and neighbors cast an ominous air upon life in the ghettos. A diary entry of ghetto resident Jozef Zelkowicz dated September 1942 gives an account of the foreboding shared by the Jews in Lodz:

"You look at your beautiful son, see his dark, hollow face and the mortal fear lurking in his eyes. All the terror around you makes you fear for yourself, makes you fear for your wife, makes you fear for your trembling child. All of you are candidates!"