Piotr Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, gave a speech. Completing this work required Faith, Vision and Persistence, he said. The work initiated by Oneg Shabbat consisted of four stages: collecting and writing down materials, burying and finding the Archive, publishing the Archive in printed and digital versions, and the English translation, which has just begun. The fact that all these stages have actually happened is unbelievable. It is a second birth for Oneg Shabbat: the work and the people who created it.
Dr Eleonora Bergman spoke first: If the members of Oneg Shabbat had survived the war, we would have other books on our shelves. We don’t know, what they could have offered the world. But we couldn’t make any other decision than to publish everything; it’s not up to us to decide what is important in this collection and what isn’t. I hope that the works on the Archive will be continued. The Laureate thanked everyone who participated in editorial works – translators, editors, publishers, and especially Dr Katarzyna Person, who has been supporting the project for several years.
Prof. Tadeusz Epsztein emphasised that for him, an especially important element in works on editing the Archive is the fact that the material tells the story of actual people, of their experience, their suffering. It is an extraordinary collection, one can’t find many similar ones in the world – so complex and so well preserved. The Laureate thanked all his coworkers and Dr Eleonora Bergman, who invited him to work together on the Archive.
In 2016, the Editorial Team of the Complete Edition of the Ringelblum Archive was awarded with the Juliusz Żuławski Polish Pen Club Prize.
The Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska Prize, established by Jan Karski in 1992 and administered by YIVO Institute, is awarded every year to authors of works dedicated to Polish-Jewish relations and documenting the Jewish contributions to Polish culture.
Eleonora Bergman is a Polish architecture historian who worked on the preservation of Jewish heritage in Poland. She was director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw from 2007 to 2011.
She studied architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology going on to work at the Institute of Urban Planning and Architecture. She later researched architectural monuments in Poland for the Arts Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1991, she began work with the Jewish Historical Institute, documenting Jewish religious buildings and landmarks. Bergman received her PhD from the Institute of Art History of the University of Warsaw in 1997. She has published a number of books, articles and mongraphs. Bergman serves as a member of the council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. In 2012 she was awarded the French Legion of Honour.
Prof. Tadeusz Epsztein – Polish historian, an expert in archive studies, specialising in the history of Polish landed gentry. Since 1996, he has been participating in organising the JHI archives. Head of the Ringelblum Archive edition research project. Graduate of the Faculty of History at the University of Warsaw. In 1996, he defended his doctorate at the Institute of History at the Polish Institute of Sciences – Education of children and youth in Polish landed gentry families in Volhynia, Podole and Ukraine, 1864–1914, receiving the title of Doctor of Humanities, specialisation – history. In 2006, he completed a post-doctoral degree in humanities on the basis of his thesis With a pen and a palette. Intellectual and artistic pursuits of Polish landed gentry in Ukraine in the second half of 19th century. He also received the Eastern Review Prize for 2005. Since 2010 – an associate professor at the Institute of History at the Polish Institute of Sciences. Since 2013 – a member of the JHI Program Board. He has also cooperated with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
The Oneg Szabat program is implemented by the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, within a public-private partnership.