On 15–16 May, on the occasion of the 70th death anniversary of Emanuel Ringelblum, the Jewish Historical Institute held an international academic conference titled „Emanuel Ringelblum. Life and legacy”. It was the first such academic event to take place in Poland in a half-century (the last conference entirely dedicated to the founder of the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto took place in March 1948 at the Jewish Historical Institute).
On 15th May, during a solemn inauguration of the conference took place a discussion panel Emanuel Ringelblum. Remembered and Forgotten. About the fate and significance of the legacy of the Patron of the Jewish Historical Institute for historiography and collective memory talked: prof. Paweł Śpiewak (the JHI), dr Eleonora Bergman (the JHI), prof. Jan Grabowski (the University of Ottawa), dr Karolina Szymaniak (the JHI), dr Agnieszka Żółkiewska (the JHI).
The conference was divided into four thematic parts. The first one was connected with pre-war life of Emanuel Ringelblum. On the other hand, the main focus of the second part was on his personal texts during war and occupation, such as the notes from the ghetto (the so-called „Chronicle”) and personal correspondence. The third part, titled „Oneg Shabbat — views, biographies, interpretations” was dedicated to the members of the conspiratorial group established by Emanuel Ringelblum. The subjects of the final part of the conference were reception of and research on his legacy in post-war Poland.
Throughout the conference, 13 papers had been presented; the speakers included our experts as well as representatives of various research centers, institutions and organizations, among others, the Jagiellonian University, the Institute of Political Studies of the PAS, the Institute of History of the PAS, the Pedagogical University of Kraków, the Polish Association for Yiddish Studies. The guest of honour at the conference was Prof. Jan Grabowski of the University of Ottawa.
Individual parts of the conference were chaired respectively by the following moderators: dr A. Żółkiewska (the JHI, the PAYS), prof. Jan Grabowski (the University of Ottawa), prof. Andrzej Żbikowski (the JHI), dr Helena Datner (the JHI).
The conference was one of series of undertakings taken up by the Jewish Historical Institute and aimed to popularize the knowledge of Emanuel Ringleblum and his legacy. Thanks to it we were able to present the findings of studies of our research team (as much as six members of professional staff of the Institute presented their papers) and exchange experiences with representatives of other research centers. It is also an example of harmonious and creative cooperation between various departments of the Institute.
On the initiative of Director Paweł Śpiewak, the papers presented by the speakers (and precisely, articles written on their basis) will be reviewed and published in a monographic issue of „Jewish History Quarterly”.
The conference was accompanied by a screening of a film „Border Street”, which attracted big audience. „Kultura Liberalna” was a media patron of the conference.