WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Documentation of Nazi atrocities heroically saved by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto have gone on display for the first time.
The exhibition, “What We Could Not Shout Out To The World,” opened to the public Thursday at the Polish capital’s Jewish Historical Institute. It tells the story of Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto and its destruction by the Nazis.
The more than 35,000 pages were compiled and hidden by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and other Jews who lived in the ghetto. They include original documents in Polish, German and Yiddish, Nazi proclamations and Jewish appeals, ghetto ration cards, tram tickets, private letters and photographs depicting life in the ghetto.
Polish President Adrzej Duda visited the exhibition Tuesday ahead of the public opening and said he believed deeply in “speaking the truth about the Holocaust.”
“The Ringelblum archive is a priceless testament to the most tragic chapter in the common history of Jews and Polish people,” he said.
The Nazi occupiers of Poland in 1940 forced some 400,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, a small section of the city. The vast majority of the inhabitants died either from the miserable conditions there or after being deported to Nazi labor or extermination camps. In 1943, some Jews rose up to resist further deportations, and the Nazis leveled the ghetto.
Ringelblum and all but three of his aides were killed during the Holocaust. But the Ringelblum archive survived the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and World War II in 10 metal cases and two metal milk bottles that were recovered in 1946 and 1950, respectively. In 1999, UNESCO gave the Ringelblum archives “Memory of the World” status.
The exhibition is the result of many years of work to organize and translate the Ringelblum archive. Many documents were partly damaged and had to be deciphered. Its title came from the words of one of Ringelblum’s helpers, 19-year-old David Graber, in a fragment of his will included in the archive.