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Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto
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Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In 1940, in the Jewish ghetto of Nazi-occupied Warsaw, the Polish historian Emanuel Ringelblum established a clandestine scholarly organization called the Oyneg Shabes to record the experiences of the ghetto's inhabitants. For three years, members of the Oyneb Shabes worked in secret to chronicle the lives of hundereds of thousands as they suffered starvation, disease, and ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Vintage (first published July 1st 2007)
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  91 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Oyneg Shabes was the codename for a group of individuals who clandestinely chronicled life in the Warsaw Ghetto. The secret cache of documents was buried in milk cans just before the great deportation action took place when the Nazis murdered the vast majority of Warsaw's Jews. This is the compelling and moving story of some of the individuals who created the archive which was partially dug up after the war. It particularly focuses on the group's leader, Emanuel Ringelblum.
The Nazi's captu
John Gaynard
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The story of the historian Emanuel Ringelblum who organized ordinary people to write what was happening from day to day in the terrible life they lived in the Warsaw Ghetto, and then to hide the archives, is truly awe-inspiring. There have been less than complimentary compliments from some reviewers about the first chapters of Samuel D. Kassow's book, which concentrate on the history of 1930s Poland and the ideological battles between the advocates of Yiddish or Hebrew and the Polish-language "a ...more
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't say it better than Peter Miller did in the New Republic:

"This may well be the most important book about history that anyone will ever read. It is also a very important book of history, telling the story of an extraordinary research project in the Warsaw Ghetto between 1940 and 1943. As a tale about why doing history matters, Samuel D. Kassow's book has few equals in our collective record. Marc Bloch, arrested by Klaus Barbie's henchmen and executed in 1944, has become the martyrsaint of
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best scholarly work I've ever read on the Holocaust. Not only is the main figure - Emanuel Ringelblum - deeply inspiring in both his human foibles and his ability to so often overcome them, but Kassow's overarching discussion about the purpose of history as a crucial foundation for a people's identity (helped by Ringelblum's own thoughts on the topic) is extraordinarily well done. Kassow's ability to weave historical theory/philosophy and emotional accounts of the real peopl ...more
In this book, Samuel Kassow tells the story of historian Emanuel Ringelblum and the development and history of the secret Oyneg Shabes archive in the Warsaw Ghetto. Kassow traces the efforts of Ringelblum and his collaborators from 1940 to Ringelblum’s death in the Pawiak prison in the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto and through the excavation and discovery of the buried archives.

The first group of documents, buried in tin boxes around August 3, 1942, held 25,540 pages of material. The second group,
The book follows the live of the historian behind the archive, the stages of the work on it and not so much the contents of the archive itself. If you are looking for a history of the Warsaw Ghetto itself - this is not the book for you.

To work on scientific level in Ghetto circumstances - I cant imagine what it takes to do that. On the other hand it may have given people enough distance to the horrors to get through their daily life.

Definitely worth reading

Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I saw the author, Samuel Kassow, on Booktv and immediately ordered the book. It's the heartwrenching journals of life in the Warsaw Ghetto and also an academic work on the history of social and political movements leading up to the Holocaust. This is a well researched study with voluminous footnotes.
Stasy H
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very dense reading, but if you have any interest at all in the Holocaust, and especially in the Warsaw Ghetto, then this book is a must read. I had always wondered where so much of the history of the ghetto came from considering how few survived the war.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Before the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, Warsaw was a unique, bustling center of history and culture. While most of the learned elite fled the vibrant city before the Nazis arrived, Emanuel Ringelblum stayed behind in order to record the history of the Jews of Warsaw and Poland. This text outlines the story of the Oyneg Shabes Archive while simultaneously using its contents to reconstruct the history of the Warsaw Ghetto and the fate of its Jews. It is a testament to Ringelblum and the work o ...more
Mark Geisthardt
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me a long time to get through this book. One reason is because it is difficult reading due to the topic it covers, the Holocaust. But it is a very well written study on the work of a Jewish Historian working to write the history he and thousands of others were living in the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw. It is is truly a gem as it explores the history and the saving of history especially for those who have had their power and humanity stripped from them. It is a very, very good (but hard) read ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kassow provided an interesting look at the Warsaw Ghetto, and the efforts of Emanuel Ringelblum, a Jewish historian, to chronicle what happened in it throughout the Second World War through a collaboration with other Jews in an archive known as the Oyneg Shabes. The first third of the book details Ringelblums pre-war life, including his political views, and was quite tedious to read, as it felt to be rather repetitive. After all, there is only so much that can be written about a historian, even ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a record of the recorders- historians, writers, artists and others who were compelled and recruited to keep written accounts of the Warsaw ghetto. Compiled and hidden by Dr. Ringelblum the archives are not complete as some of the pieces were destroyed- likely in the burning of the ghetto after the ghetto uprising. This book is but a glimpse of the horror of the holocaust. One place. A few voices. Must read.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very niche, I'm not sure I'd recommend this book to the casual reader with a simpler curiosity in learning about the Holocaust. This is not a starting point for Holocaust research. Still, one can tell that this good was a labour of love and meticulously researched.
Terry Hansen
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good but not what I expected - more of a history text book versus a good read
Phoebe Buckman
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I would have liked more if the primary source material given the title but overall a well written and put together historical analysis.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Fascinating historiographic background, and heartbreaking close-up account of events in the ghetto.
Leon Perlman
Nov 08, 2014 is currently reading it
Goodreads rating 87
Ron Stafford
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book. Save and passing on history even when you know you life is over; and your store may never be found. The true nature of the human spirit
Sophie Plott
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Mar 29, 2017
Ina Cawl
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Sep 11, 2018
Stephen M. Gluck
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Aug 21, 2017
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Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
excellent and very moving
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Jemima Jarman
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