Samuel Kassow and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett: “Who Will Write Our History?” Emmanuel Ringelblum and the “Oyneg Shabes” Warsaw Ghetto Archive
Where: New York Public Library—Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Ave.
917-275-6975 Price: Free
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To mark the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, commemorate the great act of unarmed defiance that helped to preserve the wartime story of Polish Jewry—a story that was almost lost to history.
In April 1943, as Jewish fighters prepared an insurrection against their Nazi occupiers, a clandestine group of Jewish historians, writers, teachers, and students packed records of life under Nazi occupation into ten metal boxes and three milk cans, and buried them. Led by historian Emmanuel Ringelblum, the group, code-named Oyneg Shabes, had worked in secret for nearly three years to gather materials documenting all facets of Jewish life under Hitler, and to preserve a historical record of the fate of Polish Jewry. The group persevered in its work into the spring of 1943, when the Warsaw Ghetto was destroyed — ultimately compiling tens of thousands of documents including personal diaries, letters, works of art, literary pieces, clandestine newspapers, photographs and more.
Most of the archive was recovered after the war from beneath the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto. Last year a permanent exhibition of the archive opened at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. A feature-length film on it, Who Will Write Our History, is scheduled to for release in the fall.
Two of the world’s leading experts on the Oyneg Shabes archive, and on the history of Polish Jewry, Samuel Kassow and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, will discuss what the archive has contributed to our historical understanding and the heroic work of Ringelblum and his colleagues to deliver it. Kassow is the author of Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabbes Archive, the 2007 book that inspired the film. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is chief curator of the core exhibition at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The annual Joy Gottesman Ungerleider Lecture has been made possible by a generous grant from the Dorot Foundation.Buy tickets/get more info now