Jakub Zylberberg

Philosopher, teacher, scholar associated with the political left wing. He was submitting education-themed writings by various authors to the Archive. His greatest contribution to the Archive was an insightful study written in Yiddish, dedicated to the wartime fate of teachers and students from the Jewish schools in Warsaw. The date and circumstances of his death remain unknown.

Jakub (Jankiel) Zylberberg was born about 1904. Before World War 2, he was a teacher at a primary school, he was also a member of the teachers union. Associated with the Zionist labour party Hitachdut (Hebr. The Association), he supported the idea of building Jewish life in Palestine and basing it on education, especially vocational, in the diaspora.

His personal questionnaire can be found in the Archive. We know that teh was living at 21/5 Nowolipie street, in 1940-1941 he was 35 years old and was married. He was working as a teacher in the primary school no. 138 and was active in the teachers’ union. From 10 December 1939, he was a volunteer at the clothing section of Centos. During the Great Deportation in the Summer of 1942, he joined the special food donation campaign.

On the right: Jakub Zylberberg, „Education” / The Ringelblum Archive

Basing on  Zylberberg’s experience of working for children before the war and on his involvement in rebuilding schools in the Warsaw Ghetto, Oneg Shabbat made him responsible for the issues of education. Zylberberg was contributing writings by various authors dedicated to education to the Archive. According to a note by Hersz Wasser, he contributed a report „Education” by an unknown author, written down by Stanisław Różycki, as well as Marian Małowist’s works on Polish and Jewish youth before the war and during the occupation.

Zylberberg’s biggest individual contribution into the Archive was an insightful study written in Yiddish – ‘Teachers and students in public education for Jewish children in Warsaw (Sabbath schools) during the war’. He wrote there: As a member of a group of teachers who became the subject of this study, I participated in many activities, taking part in organizing as well as in conceptual work. Despite this, I am trying to achieve the goal of diagnosing the activity and work of a Jewish teacher at a public school in a way which could be possibly close to the truth. (…) I will become more of a chronicle writer rather than a historian. [1]

In the Oneg Shabbat accounting book, his name appeared 11 times, for the last time – on 29 July 1942. The date and circumstances of his death remain unknown.

Written by: Anna Majchrowska
Translated by: Olga Drenda
On the left: Personal survey of Jakub Zylberberg / The Ringelblum Archive
[1] The Ringelblum Archive, Getto warszawskie, part I, vol. 33, ed. Tadeusz Epsztein, Katarzyna Person, WUW, Warszawa 2016, p. 132.