- About the Institute
The Oneg Szabat Program was founded by the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. It was initiated to give access to the original documents, disseminate knowledge of the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto and to commemorate the members of the Oneg Shabbat group.
The Oneg Shabbat group had preserved the memory about Jews imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto and about their death in the extermination camps. They decided to combat Germans through intellectual resistance and work. Their work – the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto is the most important testimony of the Holocaust.
We have initiated the Oneg Szabat Program to continue the mission of Ringelblum’s associates – to preserve the memory about Polish Jews. We would like for the knowledge about the Archive and its creators to become commonly recognized. The Ringelblum Archive is a part of the „memory of the world”, and the Oneg Shabbat group is one of its ethical leaders.
In 2017, researchers from the Jewish Historical Institute concluded their work on the complete edition of the Ringelblum Archive (38 volumes in the printed version). This unprecedented endeavour was initiated by the Institute – a depositary of the Ringelblum Archive – in 1993. Since then, we have been continuing the works on conservation and digitalization of the original documents. The project engages historians, sociologists, philosophers, literature scholars, editors and renowned translators. Their shared effort helped rediscover many unclear or previously undeciphered documents; these documents, ordered by subject, make the materials collected by Oneg Szabat a commonly accessible source of knowledge about the life of Jews in occupied Poland. In the future, we intend to translate the entire edition of the archive to languages such as English, German and Spanish.
All the volumes of the Ringelblum Archive are available online at the Central Jewish Library site and portal DELET. The CJL is a digital repository of the JHI – a base of Jewish visual and text resources, sourced from the archives, museum collection and library of the JHI.
The opening of the permanent exhibition was accompanied by the publication of book “Letters to Oneg Shabbat” edited by Professor Paweł Śpiewak, “Who will write our history” – the second completed and corrected edition of Samuel Kassow’s book and publication of the first volume of the Ringelblum Archive in English.
We also publish – as separate book publications – journals and reports that are part of the Ringelblum Archive.
We have started work on translating the Archive into English. In 2017, we published the first volume of the English edition of the Ringelblum Archive.
The entire task of translating the complete, 38-volume edition, is planned for a 10-year period.
In early October 2017, we launched the DELET webportal – a shared project of the Association of the JHI of Poland and the Jewish Historical Institute. The goal of the project is to present online the most valuable resources of the Institute and the Association, including scans of original documents from the Ringelblum Archive. The materials are accessible in highest quality. Aside from scans, the portal includes lessons and curatorial guided tours.
The project is being implemented thanks to funding from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage resources, as a part of the DIGITAL CULTURE programme.
In 2018 we prepared the DELET APP which allows to see examples of workshops from the portal, as well as documents and art. With the App, one can get acquainted with the materials prepared by us at any time and place. You can download the App from Google Play as well as the App Store.
By the end of 2017, we will begin works on the Encyclopedia of the Warsaw Ghetto – a long-scale project undertaken by historians. It will be a semantic database, which – using the documents from the Ringelblum Archive – will make available online — at DELET portal — the most important subjects related to the Warsaw Ghetto, retrace its topography, publish information about people who were living there, their life conditions, terror and the forthcoming Holocaust.
Permanent exhibition „What we’ve been unable to shout out to the world”
As s key point of the program and a tribute to the Oneg Shabbat group, we opened a permanent exhibition dedicated to the creators of the Ringelblum Archive (November 2017). The exhibition includes – for the first time open to the general public – original documents from this special collection which became a form of resisting violence, and saved the victims of the Holocaust from anonymity.
The main theme of the exhibition is the activity of the secret group named Oneg Shabbat in the Warsaw Ghetto and the unique Archive, which resulted from their work: from its beginnings until present day. The goal of the exhibition is to present this special collection and to tell the story of the group which witnessed and archived the history.
The title of the exhibition, What we’ve been unable to shout out to the world, is a quote from the last will of 19-year old David Graber, one of three people who hid the first part of the Archive in the basement of the Nowolipki 68 (Ber Borochov Jewish secular primary school before World War II). The archive was buried in the ground during the extermination action in Warsaw.
Direct contact with original historical documents is a powerful experience for visitors, but not everyone can travel to Warsaw. That is why the history of the Archive and its creators will be presented within the framework of a traveling exhibition. When told jointly by the curators of the Jewish Historical Institute and the hosting institutions, the story of the Ringelblum Archive and of the Oneg Shabbat can really impact the international audience. The design of the traveling exhibition is a direct reference to What We’ve Been Unable to Shout Out to the World, the permanent exhibition of the Jewish Historical Institute.
We are also developing temporary exhibitions which will be shown in the exhibition hall of the former Main Judaic Library in Warsaw.
A team of educators assisted by historians and philologists has developed workshops for students based on the journals in the Ringelblum Archive. Working with a text written down by the Oneg Shabbat, students discover the dramatic conditions of life in the ghetto: overcrowded streets, chronic hunger and diseases decimating the inhabitants, the terror and fear of death raging during the Great Deportation of 1942, despair after the loss of loved ones and attempts to cope with the suffering.
It is a unique reading bequeathed to us by witnesses of the Holocaust, the testimony of those who, knowing that they would die, worked to preserve the memory of those events.
For lecturers at higher education institutions and secondary school teachers we have prepared the ONEG SZABAT PROGRAM Academy — over the course of three days lled with seminars and lectures by JHI sta, the participants learn about the history of the Warsaw ghetto and the extermination of Polish Jews at the Treblinka death camp based on documents from the Ringelblum Archive.
Not everyone can come to Warsaw to take part in the activities organized at the Jewish Historical Institute, so we would like to develop a special educational package — a set of tools based on which school teachers as well as educators from di erent institutions will be able to conduct classes about the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Oneg Shabbat. We will also send our educators to present the history of the Ringelblum Archive at di erent meetings and seminars in Poland and around the world.
At the beginning of 2018, we started a communication campaign addressed to students from Poland, the United States, Canada and Australia. We have prepared a special educational program for Polish and foreign students that will also be available online. The pilot project was conducted at the beginning of March 2018.
Students from the USA spent couple of days visiting remembrance places of Cracow, Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Warsaw. They saw permanent exhibition at the Jewish Historical Institute dedicated to the Ringelblum Archive and the Oneg Shabbat group, took part in walks and educational workshops prepared by the JHI educators. As Ambassadors of the Oneg Szabat Program at their home universities – together with us – they will popularize history of the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto and their creators.
In the near future, we are planning next editions of the Program.
The Main Judaic Library building at ul. Tłomackie 3/5, where the Archive is kept, survived the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto. It was in that building that Emanuel Ringelblum worked during World War II and where the Oneg Shabbat met secretly to work on the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto.
The building was renovated just after the war. It is currently home to the Jewish Historical Institute and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.
To commemorate the Place we want to revitalize and modernize it. In 2017, the main hall was revitalized and the burn marks on the oor – traces of a re that engulfed the building on the last day of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – were conserved.
Emanuel Ringelblum and nearly all of the members of the Oneg Shabbat were killed during the war. Of those involved in creating the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, only Rachela Auerbach, Bluma Wasser and Hersz Wasser survived the Holocaust.
The members of the Oneg Shabbat shared the fate of Polish Jews – they died on trains bound for Treblinka and in gas chambers, they were shot against the ghetto wall and on the ruins of the ghetto, they were killed during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and they died of hunger or from diseases that spread rapidly in the overcrowded and poverty-stricken ghetto.
They have no grave. It is therefore our intention to give them a symbolic memorial. The Oneg Shabbat monument will be built in the Okopowa Street Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, in a section that was part of the ghetto.
For the first time in history, everyone can contribute to popularisation and commemoration of the Ringelblum Archive. Via the http://onegszabat.org/en/ website, everyone can submit a donation (among others – for the purposes of preservation and translation of the Archive), read the history of the Oneg Shabbat group and the biographies of its members.
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.