Karel Cudlín

At the start of the twentieth century, Baluty was a large, distinctive, and feared working-class neighborhood. With the start of the Second World War and the occupation of Poland, the Nazis turned Baluty into a Jewish ghetto better known as the Łódź Ghetto. Here, some 200,000 Jews awaited their death in a strange “transfer station” on the way to the concentration and extermination camps. They were isolated both physically and mentally. Starting in the fall of 1941, Jews from the Czech lands were brought here in five transports. Over the course of the war, the photographer Henryk Ross recorded life and suffering in the ghetto in an absolutely unique set of photographs.

On a visit to Baluty fifteen years ago, leading Czech documentary photographer Karel Cudlín (1960) created a set of photographs that bring together the past and the present. The Baluty they depict is still a distinctive place, still isolated from the rest of the city, and still coming to terms with its turbulent history.