Poetry in Hell
July 23, 2010 6:37 PM Subscribe
Poetry in Hell
contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives
. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish.Background on the Ringelblum Oneg Shabbat Archives
During the Holocaust, dozens of Jewish men and women trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto chose a special form of resistance: they chronicled their path to doom for future generations
. Led by Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum
, an historian, 35,000 paper documents
were collected that showed how the Nazis had deprived Warsaw's Jews of their rights, then tormented and finally killed them in the death camps
. On Aug. 2, 1942, while German soldiers combed the streets outside, two young men buried 10 metal boxes and several metal milk cans
containing this extraordinary archive in the basement of an elementary school inside the ghetto. They were recovered from the rubble in 1946 and 1950. Approximately 25,000 of the documents survived and are now housed
in the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland
and the United States Holocaust Museum.
"The Archives comprise government documents, materials concerning the ghetto resistance, testimonies of the fate of Jewish communities during the Holocaust, literature, works of art and private correspondence collected by victims of the Holocaust in order to pass on information about the Holocaust to future generations. This collection is absolutely unique, both in terms of its origin and its historic value. It mainly concerns the largest ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe (approximately 500,000 inhabitants), but in fact it covers the whole of occupied Poland, documenting the Shoah, the fate of its Jewish community of 3.500,000 people. Nearly all the creators of the Ringelblum Archives perished, either in the ghetto or in the extermination camps."
The archive recovery and restoration efforts were documented in a 2007 book by American historian Samuel Kassow: "Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto"
. Some of it is available to view online at Google books, here
Book reviews and background on the recovery project:
* Video: C-Span Book TV with Samuel Kassow
* Los Angeles Times
* Spiegel International
* The Guardian
* New Jersey Jewish News
Background on the Poetry in Hell Project
* Author's Note
* Interview with Dr. Sarah Traister Moskovitz on J-Wire: "Warsaw Ghetto Poetry Now Online"