Jewish businessman appointed by Nazi Germany as the head of the Council of Elders in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto during the occupation of Poland in World War II. He accrued exponentially more power by transforming the Ghetto into an industrial base manufacturing war supplies for the Wehrmacht army in the mistaken belief that productivity was the key to Jewish survival beyond the Holocaust. The Germans liquidated the ghetto in 1944. All remaining prisoners were sent to death camps in the wake of military defeats on the Eastern Front of World War II.
Rumkowski is remembered for his speech Give Me Your Children, delivered at a time when the Germans demanded his compliance with the deportation of 20,000 children to Chełmno extermination camp. In August 1944, Rumkowski and his family joined the last transport to Auschwitz, and were murdered there on August 28, 1944 by Jewish Sonderkommando inmates who beat him to death as revenge for his role in the Holocaust. This account of his final moments is confirmed by witness testimonies of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials.