Hiding place of priceless Warsaw Ghetto chronicle to be marked by memorial

The design of the monument will reflect the original hiding place of some of archive. Komitet Budowy Upamiętnienia / Archiwum Ringelbluma

The hiding place in the Warsaw Ghetto where the first canister containing part of the Ringelblum Archive was discovered after the end of the Second World War is to be commemorated with a monument.

The Ringelblum Archive is the largest collection of documents concerning the life and death of Jews during World War II. It was collected and preserved by a group known by the codename Oneg Shabbat, led by Jewish historian Doctor Emanuel Ringelblum.

The group, which included historians, writers, rabbis, and social workers, chronicled the horrors of life and death in the Ghetto during the German occupation.

Workers remove some of the archive from its hiding place on Warsaw’s Nowolipki Street.Żydowski Institut Historyczny

They worked as a team, collecting documents and soliciting testimonies and reports from dozens of volunteers. The materials submitted included essays, diaries, drawings, wall posters, and other materials describing life in the Ghetto. The collecting work began in September 1939 and ended in January 1943.

When the Ghetto was closed and the deportation to the German death camp at Treblinka started, Ringelblum had the archives stored in three milk cans and ten metal boxes, which were then buried in three places in the Ghetto.

The archive provided valuable testimony about life in the Ghetto before its liquidation in 1943.Żydowski Institut Historyczny

The first containers holding thousands of documents, were unearthed on September 18,1946 by workers building the estate of Muranów, which was designed and built on the ruins of the former Ghetto. A further ten boxes were discovered on December 1, 1950. The third cache has never been found, although it is believed to be buried in the garden of the Chinese embassy in Warsaw.

The archive has been entered on UNESCO's Memory of the World list, along with works by Copernicus, Beethoven, Chopin, Goethe and the Declaration of Human and Civil Rights.

Now, after a long campaign, a group calling themselves the Ringelblum Archive Commemoration Construction Committee has won consent from Warsaw City Council to mark the place in the former Ghetto where the first containers holding documents was found.

The area of Ghetto where the archive was found is now covered by the Muranów estate.Komitet Budowy Upamiętnienia Archiwum Ringelbluma 

The hiding place at 68 Nowolipki Street, in what is today the Muranów estate in the north of Warsaw, was destroyed during World War II. Nowadays, there is a square that will gain a small monument in the form of a basement in the ground with an open manhole covered by a transparent box with a document sunk in the middle.

The cost of the monument is valued at PLN 85,000 and the funds will come from donations and sponsors.

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