The Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto
The Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, the so-called Ringelblum Archive is a unique collection of documents that are one of the world’s most significant testimonies about the extermination of Polish Jewry. The Archive was included on the UNESCO Memory of the World list in 1999.
Oneg Shabbat worked using modern methods of gathering scientific material. Accounts and reports were based on surveys and plans prepared earlier by the team. A complete and objective picture, with all facts and details included, was a priority. The group tried to collect specific documents and accounts for various locations. They were taking notes basing on interviews, and writing extensive reports. Original documents or their facsimiles were incorporated into the Archive – documents of official institutions, press, posters, leaflets, tickets, invitations, food stamps, mail coming to the ghetto, personal documents etc. Diaries and memoirs were welcome. Because many members of Oneg Shabbat belonged to underground political parties, the Archive contains also a record of resistance movement developing in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Archive includes also several dozen photographs, as well as over 300 drawings and watercolours (some of them created before the war).
The entire saved Archive comprises several thousand documents, which usually don’t have equivalents in other archives of the world. Often, they provide the last testimony of life, suffering and death of individuals, as well as entire communities from cities and towns across Poland. They are a priceless source for research of the Holocaust.
Unique sources include a collection of accounts, letters sent to the Warsaw Ghetto, reports prepared by the Oneg Shabbat group, an extensive selection of conspiracy documents from the Warsaw Ghetto, literary works written during the war, private documents.