The Tale Of Mittel Street

It is a well known secret that I am the family historian. I research the family origin, history and where about. It is also known in our family, that my grand father lost most of his family in the Holocaust. One of his brothers, who died with his family in the Holocaust, was Baruch Gutgold.

So I set out to find some evidence on Baruch Gutgold faith. With today’s modern technology, it is very easy to browse and search many online resources related to family genealogy. One such fine resource is the Jewish Gen site. It was there, in the Lodz Ghetto list (I knew the family origin was in Lodz or it’s surrounding shtetels) that I found this:

Baruch Gutgold - Lodz Ghetto Listing

Baruch Gutgold - Lodz Ghetto Listing

It seems that Baruch and his family lived in Mittel street, before they were forced to move to the Ghetto. Other Lodz Ghetto listings confirm this:

Golda Gutgold - Lodz Ghetto List

Golda Gutgold - Lodz Ghetto List

Laja and Ber - Lodz Ghetto List

Laja and Ber - Lodz Ghetto List

We can safely assume that Baruch and Laja, and their children Golda and Jeszaja Ber were family as they all moved into the same Ghetto address: Hausierer Gasse 2 Flat 28, Dom 30.

And that’s were the mystery begins! Looking at Lodz maps, both current or pre WWII, there is no mention of Mittel street at all?

Did they lie about their real address? Probably not. The Jews were terrified from the Germans and feared that any lie, if discovered, will bring their demise. Was it a German clerk typo? Probably not as well – the German seldom made such mistakes. Also, if you look at the Lodz Ghetto list you will find more than 1900 listings with this cryptic “Mittel” street specified as the address of the person before the move to the Ghetto.

At this point, I turned into the help of other Lodz researchers.

The immediate response and main theory of many of them was that “Mittel” is the German word for the English “Middle” and as such, it is a translation from Polish of a street name which has the same meaning (middle) or that was in the middle part of the town (maybe a main street in the town center).
Orit, one of the researchers who helped me the most, initially speculated that:

One of the possibilities of translating Mittel to Polish is “?rodkowa”. There was such a street in the Ghetto which was named “Winfriedstrasse” by the Germans. But this assumption failed as “Winfriedstrasse” was not found in any of the Lodz Ghetto listings. It was then suggested that the literal translation of the name was used as a verb – and if so it would coincide with “Boya-?ele?skiego” which is the street name today (close to the Jewish cemetery, south-west to the cemetery).

However, this theory has a major flaw – the original address was probably outside the Ghetto, so it will not be found in the Ghetto list and the use of the literal translation seems a bit forced.
One researcher, a Lodz resident, stated that:

Regarding mittel Street in Lodz. I’m a Lodzer and lived on Pomorska Street. I’m mostly sure that Mittel Street is meant Srodmiejska Steet. It begins From Piotrkowska Street and runs west.

This was actually a detour in our search, as you will see later.
Other researcher followed the same logic:

Mittelstrasse – means Middle or Central street, ‘Srednia’ or ‘Srodkowa’ in Polish. Two streets were named Srednia and Srodkowa before the war, but neither was the ‘Mittel Str.’ during WWII (one was Friedrichstrasse, the other – Winfriedstrase).  The first one is now ul. Pomorska, where the Jewish Community has the site, the other is near the Jewish Cemetery, and it was one of the ghetto streets, now ul. Boya-Zelenskiego.

This researcher, however, suggested to compare other information in the quest to find the elusive Mittel street. Well, looking at phone directories gave no clue – none of them (even the ones dated in the 1940’s) has Mittel street in them.

The breakthrough came when we tried the following name, suggested above by one of the researcher – Pomorska street.
As Orit explained:

The most comprehensive reply stated that the street is in fact Ul. POMORSKA:
“… Before the War the name of the street was ulica Pomorska, and during a short time – ulica Srednia (middle in Polish). …The street was, however, also called Friedrichstrasse. After the War it was named ulica Nowotki and after 1989 renamed into ulica Pomorska.”

I have compared the addresses of a few families appearing in Lodz Ghetto Database in Mittel street (residence address), with the addresses of those families in the Lodz pre-war directories.
They did appear under Pomorska, with an identical house number.
Therefore, at least for the families I am interested in, Pomorska is the answer.

Yet another theory suggests that Srodkowa street was also nicknamed Mittel.
This street is near the Jewish Cemetery, and it was one of the ghetto streets, now ul. Boya-Zelenskiego.
To support this theory, one should find a match with a pre-war address. I did not.

This was it!

Lodz phone directory from 1937 had the answer. In the1937 Poland Business, School, and Organizational Directory (Selected Cities), image 1037 [DLoZG] {d28} we find:

Baruch Gutgold - Lodz Directory

Baruch Gutgold - Lodz Directory

And we can see that Baruch Gutgold was living in:

Baruch Gutgold - Pomorska 44, Lodz

Baruch Gutgold - Pomorska 44, Lodz

Yep! Pomorska 44 (you can even try to call him on 209-28). The listing even coincide with the family knowledge that the Gutgold’s had fabric dyeing “factory” (actually this was a small shop) in Lodz.

So Mittel street (in this case) is ul. Pomorska! And the complete answer to the puzzle is that ul. Pomorska was called for a certain period Srednia which is the Polish translation for the German Mittel. The street name was changed a couple of times more, but from 1989 it is called Pomorska again.

There are still some who think that Srodkowa could be also Mittel street, but in light of the above evidence, we doubt it. Formally, there is no “Mittel” street, but informally there is (at least) one street which is identified with Mittel street, and that is ul. Pomorska of our time. It is a central street in Lodz and the Jewish Community office is there.

This article is contributed to all the Lodz Ghetto researchers, and dedicated to the memory of Baruch Gutgold and his family who were murdered by the Nazi’s in the Holocaust.

8 thoughts on “The Tale Of Mittel Street

  1. Ruth, I wish I had the time…
    I’d love to visit Poland, and Lodz especially.

  2. Hello Miron,
    I would be interested in knowing what you make of this unsigned, undated, typed letter that I recently found among my 93-year old aunt’s documents…presumably, the letter was sent to her mother/my grandmother (Manya Goldfarb Galperin menitoned below) after the war. It mentions the Pomoraka 44 address in Lodz.


    Samuel Goldfarb, Lodz, Pomoraka 44, is anxious to hear from his mother, Mrs. Emeny Goldfarb, 24 N. 60th St., and his sister Mrs. Fannie Koren, 2608 N. 53rd St.

    “I was with my wife and nine year old daughter in Lodz when the war broke out,” said Goldfarb. In 1941 I received all necessary papers to travel to America, but unfortunately the Germans would not allow me to leave the country. I remained in the Lodz ghetto until Aug. 26, 1944, when the Germans sent me with all the other Jews to Swiecim concentration camp. From then on I lost all contact with my wife and child.

    “From Ozwicecim I was transferred to the Dernau concentration camp and later to Schottenberg where I was freed May 6, 1945 by the Red Army. While I was in Schottenberg on Sept. 22, 1944, I had written a letter, which was found by the Germans. Since letter writing was strictly forbidden, I was sentenced to death by hanging. Due to my good record at Dernau, however, the death sentence was changed to 25 strokes with a whip.”

    As a result of the punishment and countless sicknesses in the concentration camp, Goldfarb said that he became deaf in his left ear. Since his release, Goldfarb has written a book on his experiences in the concentration camps. He plans to translate the book, “Walka o Zycie” (Battle for Life) into eight languages, including English.

    Goldfarb asked me to inform his family of his existence. Besides his mother and sister in Milwaukee, he has a sister Mrs. Mani Galperin in Galveston, Texas, and two brothers Jacob and Max Goldfarb, somewhere in the United States.

  3. Thanks so much for The Tale Of Mittel Street. It’s very interesting and touching for me as Lodz Ghetto listings confirm that my ant, Liba Piotrkowska, lived at 93 Mittel st.

  4. Hello Haya, I’m happy this post helped you track your aunt. For me it was a fascinating research, and tied some loose ends in my research.

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