- About the Institute
The Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto is a testimony to one-of-a-kind posthumous intellectual success. Despite the isolation, on the basis of incomplete, fragmentary and often late information regarding the fate of local ghettos, Ringelblum’s team was rather quickly able to identify the character of Nazi holocaust of the Jews. Not limiting themselves to the so-called macro-history, the researchers of the conspiratorial Archive of the Ghetto boldly reached for the issues of micro-history — fate of experience, spiritual world of individuals in the face of national catastrophe. The letters concerning the Holocaust, farewell letters of Jews from local ghettos depict despair and hope, rebellion and resignation, faith and uncertainty of dying people.
Both the entire Jewish population under the German occupation as well as the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto fought for survival in inhumane conditions. The main problems of this survival included taking care of children. Orphans, starving and emaciated children, exempted from family and school disciplines. Taking care of those children was one of the main aspects of civil resistance movement in the ghetto. In the movement volunteered both: scholars and ordinary ghetto teachers, often hungry themselves, prone to infectious diseases, struggling with cramped conditions, lack of books, notebooks, teaching aids. They tried to adjust their pedagogical knowledge to the previously-unknown conditions. These attempts lasted for a year until the holocaust of the ghetto. In the years 1942–1943 both the ghetto carers and children died at hands of the occupier.
In the third volume the reader will find testimonies from the years 1939–1942 documenting the situation on those territories of the Second Republic of Poland which between September 1939 and the German attack on USSR on 21st June 1914 were under Soviet occupation, and later under German rule. It concerns a bit over 50% of entire territory of pre-war Poland, inhabited by around 40% of Polish Jews. After September 1939, additionally at least 250 thousand Jews were staying on those territories. Predicting rising anti-Jewish repressions, they fled from Polish territories remaining under German occupation. Testimonies collected in the Warsaw Ghetto by the team of Emanuel Ringelblum in the majority of cases are being published for the first time.
In early August 1942, thirty-five-year-old Gela Seksztajn, an artist, painter, wrote, „I have to die, but I did my thing. I would like the memory of my paintings to survive.” The works of Gela Seksztajn and the story of rescuing her artistic achievements constitute a significant part of the history of Polish Jews, which survived thanks to Emanuel Ringelblum and his associates. This artistic legacy is a rarity among the materials of the Ringelblum Archive, which includes mostly written texts. But just as them, this preserved collection of artwork documents both fate of an individual or family and fate of entire community, which the author was part of in her life and death.
Hidden on the eve of the holocaust, the texts concerning the Jewish Quarter in Warsaw were to constitute a testimony to everyday life of the closed district made up of the history of fate of its inhabitants. The texts compiled in this volume give names to the blurred faces of the ghetto photographs. They give floor to a woman selling vegetables, a bagging child sitting by the wall, an actress from a second-rate cabaret, a quarrelsome caretaker, but also civil workers, expert of the Talmud, literary men, social activists and pre-war academics and politicians. The texts from the Ringelblum Archive are priceless historical documents which give answers to the most difficult questions regarding the limits of humanity, but it also shows how the inhabitants of the ghetto lived, loved, what made them laugh and what kinds of books they read before going to sleep.
The volume includes various sorts of materials. The vast majority of them are accounts by displaced people and refugees from different towns and cities of the General Government, living in the years 1940–1942 in the Warsaw Ghetto. It also includes diaries, a journal and part of the correspondence assembled by „Oneg Shabbat” 4. There is also a small number of personal documents, such as individual permits, health certificates, Ausweisen. A separate place is dedicated to official documentation: German ordinances, reports and minutes of Jewish Councils (RŻ), Jewish Self-Help (ŻSS) and American Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC), official correspondence.
The volume includes materials given to the Ringelblum Archive by its close associates: Rachel Auerbach, Hersz Wasser, Eliasz Gutkowski and Menachem Mendel Kon. However, these documents do not include the kinds of materials that we usually identify with the activity of „Oneg Shabbat”. What we will not find here are: reportages, memorials, interviews or accounts. Instead, we can read their complements: an invitation to a concert, a certificate of having been deloused, a letter to parents. Documents being more about the tragedy of everyday life than about the panache of activity of the intellectuals confined to the ghetto.
The volume is primarily comprised of accounts of refugees forced to leave their homes during the first weeks of the war and people included in the action of concentration of Jews in bigger centers on the Reich territories and then displaced from those territories to the General Governatore. In many documents, we can find memoirs even from the pre-war period, short outlines of the history of described cities or reports on preparations for the war.
Translations by: Sara Arm, Joanna Feldman-Kwiecień, Magdalena Siek, Marcin Urynowicz
The volume includes documents concerning northern and western territories of Poland, annexed in 1939 by the German occupier to the so-called Reichsgau Wartheland. The volume is comprised mainly of accounts describing the September Campaign and first months of the occupation. There are also descriptions of crimes committed by the German army entering Poland already during the first few days of the war. Not only do the authors of the accounts show persecutions of Jewish people, but they also talk about the situation of the Polish.
Edited by: Magdalena Siek
Translated by: Sara Arm, Joanna Feldman-Kwiecień, Michał Koktysz, Magdalena Siek, Marcin Urynowicz
The volume includes various materials: accounts of escapees from Łódź to Warsaw, especially from the first months of the occupation; letters of the Jews from Łódź to their families in Warsaw; official ordinances signed by Head of the Council of Elders Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski as well as scripts of his speeches; official price lists and lists of workplaces; food coupons and special currency of the Łódź Ghetto. What catches attention is a collection of anonymous poems: satires on the ghetto bureaucracy, office workers and Rumkowski himself.
A unique document of everyday life of the ghetto is a calendar for the year 1942 created by Szmul Rozensztajn. Anniversaries of all important events in the Łódź Ghetto were marked in it. They include: opening of the clinic, appointment of the department of investigation, foundation of the Secretariat for Requests and Complaints at the president’s office and, of course, birthday of the Head of the Council of Elders.
The book is conventionally accompanied by a CD with scans of original documents.
Edited by: Monika Polit
Translated by: Piotr Kędziorek, Monika Polit
Edited by: Monika Polit
Edited by: Aleksandra Bańkowska and Tadeusz Epsztein
Edited by: Marta Janczewska
Edited by: Ewa Wiatr, Barbara Engelking and Alina Skibińska
Edited by: Katarzyna Person
Edited by: Tadeusz Epsztein, Justyna Majewska, Aleksandra Bańkowska
Edited by: Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat and Alicja Jarkowska-Natkaniec
Edited by: Maciej Wójcicki
Edited by: Ewa Koźmińska-Frejlak
Edited by: Marcin Urynowicz
Edited by: Piotr Laskowski and Sebastian Matuszewski
Edited by: Franciszek Zakrzewski and Maria Ferenc
Edited by: Katarzyna Person, Zofia and Michał Trębacz
Edited by: Marta Janczewska
Edited by: Marta Dudzik-Rudkowska
Edited by: Agnieszka Żółkiewska and Marek Tuszewicki
Edited by: Aleksandra Bańkowska and Maria Ferenc
Edited by: Agata Kondrat and Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov
Edited by: Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, Marta Janczewska and Eleonora Bergman
Edited by: Eleonora Bergman
Edited by: Monika Polit
Edited by: Anna Ciałowicz, Alicja Gontarek and Eleonora Bergman
Edited by: Paweł Fijałkowski
Edited by: Daniel Reiser
Edited by: Robert Moses Shapiro, Tadeusz Epsztein
Introduction by: Samuel D. Kassow
Indiana University Press
The publication is avalaible here: