15 September 2003
Today (15 September 2003) in an official ceremony, Yad Vashem will receive an original Ringelblum box containing archival documents, hidden by Dr. Emmanuel Ringelblum. The box was given to Yad Vashem by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland (the Zeich), in honor of 50 years since Yad Vashem’s establishment.
The Ringelblum box is one of the boxes in which Dr. Emmanuel Ringelblum hid the underground archive, code named Oneg Shabbat. The archive includes hundreds of documents, testimonies and wills which documented daily life in the Warsaw ghetto in its final months. The individuals who assembled the archive collected all relevant material that they could procure: secret newspapers distributed by political parties and youth movements, and testimonies taken from refugees who came from other ghettos or who escaped from concentration camps. The underground also took on the role of research center, initiating papers on different perspectives on life in the ghetto. In August 1942, at the peak of the deportations from the Warsaw ghetto, and in February 1943, two portions of the archive were buried in 10 metal boxes and two milk cans. These were discovered in 1946 and in 1950, but the third portion - buried in April 1943 - has never been found (recently, there was an attempt to find the third portion of the archives in Poland).
Currently, some of the original documents from the Ringelblum archive are stored in Yad Vashem’s Archives.
The Ringelblum box was given to Yad Vashem in honor of its jubilee year and will be displayed in the new Holocaust History Museum slated to open in late 2004. The new Holocaust History Museum will be three times as big as the current museum and will incorporate new information and emphases that do not appear in the current museum, which opened 30 years ago. The museum will display the history of the Holocaust from a personal perspective through the display of original artifacts and the stories behind them.
The ceremony will take place today at 3:00 p.m. in Janusz Korczak Square in the presence of Prof. Felix Teich, Director of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute, Marian Turski, Chairman of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute and Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, and Prof. Israel Gutman, Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem and participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.