Biographies

These people, as members of Oneg Shabbat, as well as many others whose names will forever remain unknown, left behind accounts that present life in the Ghetto and the extermination of the Jewish people from the perspective of the victims.

One of the three survivors, Auerbach was a journalist, writer, and translator. A Jewish leftist and feminist activist, she ran a public soup kitchen in the ghetto for the very poorest. From mid-1941, she belonged to Oneg Shabbat, compiled documentation, and wrote reports. In 1943, she escaped from the ghetto and took part in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. After the war, she took part in the search for the archive and devoted herself to spreading knowledge about the Holocaust. In 1950, she emigrated to Israel and began working at Yad Vashem. She was involved in preparing the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

One of the three survivors, Wasser was an economist with leftist leanings. He was one of the most important members of Oneg Shabbat. As the archive’s first secretary, Wasser kept a register of documents and authors. He oversaw the collection of accounts from ghettos in the provinces. After the war, he initiated the search for the archive and extracted the boxes containing the documents from the ground with his own hands. He was a co-founder of the Central Committee of Jews in Poland.

One of the three survivors, Bluma was married to Hersh Wasser. As a member of the Oneg Shabbat team, she copied documents and conducted interviews. She and Hersh jumped out of a train bound for Treblinka. After the war, she took part in the search for the archive. She eventually left for Israel with her husband.

Killed in 1942 or 1943 while still a teenager. Nahum had studied in a heder, apprenticed to a tailor, and worked for a printing house before the war. Active in a leftist youth organization in the Warsaw ghetto, he printed an illegal newspaper, Yugntruf, and worked in the children’s soup kitchen at the school at 68 Nowolipki Street. He was one of the three people who hid the first cache of the archive.

Killed in 1942 or 1943 when only in his teens. David’s moving testament was included in the first cache of the archive. Before the war, he attended the Borokhov School and was active in Yungbor, a Left Po’ale Tsiyon youth organization. In the ghetto, he was a laborer and worked in the children’s soup kitchen at the school at 68 Nowolipki Street. He was one of the three people who hid the first cache of the Archive.

Israel, his wife, the painter Gele Sekstein, and their daughter, Margalit, were killed during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. In the Warsaw ghetto, Israel was a teacher and principal of the Jewish school at 68 Nowolipki Street. He was responsible for protecting the materials collected by the Oneg Shabbat team. He and two young helpers hid the first cache of the archive. He probably also took part in hiding the second cache.

She was killed together with her husband, Israel Lichtenstein, and their daughter, Margalit, during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Gele, an artist, graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and showed her work in several exhibitions. In the Warsaw ghetto, she taught drawing at the school at 68 Nowolipki Street. Her works were buried with the Oneg Shabbat archive.

Killed during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. A wealthy merchant, he was able to support Oneg Shabbat financially. He wrote a journal during the Great Deportation of 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka in the summer of 1942.

Killed probably during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Eliyahu, a historian, teacher, and writer, belonged to the Right Po’ale Tsiyon. In the Warsaw ghetto, he taught Jewish history in an underground middle school. He was one of Ringelblum’s closest associates and the archive’s second secretary.

Murdered in May 1943, when the Germans discovered the bunker he was hiding in at 30 Franciszkańska Street. Shmuel, a merchant and a founder of YIVO (Yiddish Scientific Institute) in Vilna, provided financial support to Oneg Shabbat and to the Jewish Fighting Organization for the purchase of arms, He worked for the ghetto’s Supply Authority and was active in the underground Jewish Cultural Organization IKOR.

A victim of the Gestapo’s Hotel Polski plot, Shie was murdered at Auschwitz. He was an entrepreneur, Bundist, and collaborator of YIVO (Yiddish Scientific Institute) in Vilna, and protected Oneg Shabbat.

Perished in Mauthausen. Eliezer, a Zionist activist and head of the Jewish National Fund, was active in Dror, a Zionist socialist youth organization. In the ghetto, he was involved in the Jewish Social Self-Help department.

Arrested and shot in September 1942 at Pawiak prison in the Warsaw ghetto. Joseph was active in Hashomer Hatzair, a Zionist youth organization, and wrote a book about it. He also helped found a kibbutz in Żarki, near Częstochowa. During the war, he was a member of the Jewish Fighting Organization command.

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Shot and killed in the street during the Great Deportation. Shmuel, a journalist and editor of youth newspapers, was a member of the Jewish Fighting Organization’s first command. He conducted interviews for Oneg Shabbat.

Murdered at Treblinka. Shimon, a rabbi and historian, supervised the religious section of the Jewish Self-Help department in the ghetto. He wrote essays on Jewish religious life for Oneg Shabbat.

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Killed in January 1943. Abraham, a teacher at the Warsaw middle school Yehudiya, was a historian and Zionist activist. In the ghetto, he worked for the Jewish Social Self-Help department. He kept a journal and conducted interviews with escapees from Treblinka.

During the Great Deportation in the summer of 1942, he walked with his students to Umschlagplatz and was murdered with them at Treblinka. Aaron, a brother-in-law of Emanuel Ringelblum, was an educator and teacher. He was active in the Right Po’ale Tsiyon and was a Dror sympathizer in the Warsaw ghetto. He ran a center for children at 18 Mylna Street and wrote an essay on the condition of Jewish children during the war. Aaron was a copyist for Oneg Shabbat.

Executed on the night of 17–18 April 1942. Menakhem, a lawyer, was active in the ghetto’s Jewish Social Self-Help department and in the underground Jewish Cultural Organization IKOR. He collected materials on the ghetto economy and prepared the economic section of Oneg Shabbat’s comprehensive report, “Two and a Half Years of War”.

Murdered at Treblinka. Jerzy, an economist and graduate of the University of Vienna, wrote numerous essays on economic life in the ghetto, compiled statistical and demographic reports, and copied Judenrat documents for Oneg Shabbat.

Caught probably during the roundups a few months before the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The last entry in his diary is 5 January 1943. Peretz, a gifted journalist, was active in the Right Po’ale Tsiyon. A refugee from Łódź, he eked out a meager income as a mailman in the Warsaw ghetto. He contributed detailed reportage about life in the ghetto to Oneg Shabbat.

Murdered in January 1943. Nehemia, a Left Po’ale Tsiyon activist, wrote essays on smuggling and ghetto folklore, collected beggar songs, and interviewed refugees for Oneg Shabbat.

Perished during an attempted evacuation through the sewers in 1943. Yekhil, a Left Po’ale Tsiyon activist, served Oneg Shabbat as a copyist. He also interviewed refugees, wrote short reports on labor camps, and kept a journal. During the Warsaw ghetto uprising he fought in Hersh Berlinski’s unit.

Deported to Treblinka in 1942 and killed there. Mordecai, a Left Po’ale Tsiyon activist and refugee from Łódź, ran a public kitchen in the Warsaw ghetto. He conducted interviews, wrote reports on labor camps, and kept a journal.

Perished in the ghetto. Gustawa, who wrote in Polish, worked in the Judenrat and copied its documents for Oneg Shabbat. She wrote “The Last Stage of Deportation Is Death”.

Murdered in Treblinka in 1942. Daniel wrote about Jewish prisoners-of-war, collected several reports from provincial towns as well as descriptions of mass murders in Vilna and Slonim in 1941.

Died of typhus in the ghetto. Bernard, an elementary school principal in Grodzisk Mazowiecki before the war, was a member of the Judenrat. He wrote articles about Jewish life in the Sochaczew region for Oneg Shabbat.

A victim of the Gestapo’s Hotel Polski plot, he was killed at Auschwitz. Alexander, an engineer, ran a woodworking enterprise, the Ostdeutsche Bautischlerei Werkstätte (OBW), in the ghetto, and was active in the Jewish Social Self-Help department. He supported Oneg Shabbat. During the Great Deportation, he sheltered Jewish intellectuals in his factory.

Murdered in Treblinka. Israel, a teacher and journalist for the Folkstsaytung, was a Bund activist. He served Oneg Shabbat as a copyist and wrote the report Leyb Dembkowski’s Departure, about a refugee and his family, in 1941.

Killed in 1943. Jacob, a philosopher, educator, and teacher, was associated with the Left Po’ale Tsiyon. He took part in a campaign to distribute food during the Great Deportation in the summer of 1942. A close associate of Oneg Shabbat, he wrote reports on education.

Her fate is largely unknown. Salomea conducted interviews for Oneg Shabbat and annotated them meticulously. Thanks to her efforts, direct accounts of former prisoners of the transit camp in Pomiechówek have survived.

His fate is unknown. Shmuel had been a football player and sports journalist before the war. He was a soldier in the September Campaign and was taken prisoner. He returned to Warsaw in November 1939 and worked at a dry goods distribution point and then in the People’s Kitchens section of the Jewish Social Self-Help department in the ghetto. Shmuel collected accounts of former soldiers and prisoners-of-war for Oneg Shabbat, kept two journals, and wrote literary pieces.

Her fate is unknown. Cecylia, who came from Vilna, had translated Simon Dubnow’s World History of the Jewish People into Polish. Her contribution to Oneg Shabbat includes essays and reports on women in the Warsaw ghetto.

Shot by the Germans on 18 January 1943. Yitzhak, a social activist, had already organized help for victims during the First World War. A native of Warsaw, he had worked with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he left for Vilna, where he organized assistance for refugees from western Poland. Imprisoned by the Germans in Stockholm, he returned to Warsaw in April 1940. He continued to work at the Joint office and supported the activities of Oneg Shabbat financially.

Nothing is known about at least 30 other courageous individuals who worked for Oneg Shabbat in the Warsaw ghetto. Although we do not know their names, their efforts have not been in vain. They have made an invaluable contribution to preserving the memory of the Holocaust.