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Ringelblum’s Archive: a story for the future
Journal Title: ITALIA CONTEMPORANEA 
Author/s:  Enzo Collotti 
Year:  2011 Issue: 262 Language: Italian 
Pages:  13 Pg. 51-63 FullText PDF:  145 KB
DOI:  10.3280/IC2011-262003
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Drawing on the book by Samuel D. Kassow, Who Will Write Our History? Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto, the A. sketches a critical examination of both the intellectual biography of Emmanuel Ringelblum - eminent historian of Polish Hebraism and principal chronicler of the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto - and his work of architect of the Secret Archive of the ghetto. After abandoning the traditional Jew historiography to embrace the principles and methods of historical materialism, Ringelblum had worked out an interpretation of Hebrew history no longer based on the sacred texts but rather on the largest possibile collection of documents and testimonies of Jewish everyday life. Mixing his scholarship with a proven aptitude for organization, he used the channel of the Aleynhilf - an important mutual aid society operating in the Warsaw ghetto - to build up the Archive. So he recruited a group of highly qualified collaborators capable of gathering not simply scattered testimonies but proper monographic studies on the ghetto experience, thus constituting a body of works bound to create the cultural cornerstone of a new platform for Polish Hebraism. Yet the group had soon the perception they were going to write the last chapter of the history of the Polish Jews: hence the first burying of part of the Archive material in August 1942, followed by a second one in February 1943. A third burying is reported, but no trace of it as yet has been found.
Keywords: Emmanuel Ringelblum, Warsaw ghetto, Aleynhilf, Secret Archive, Hebrew history, Polish Hebraism

Enzo Collotti, Ringelblum’s Archive: a story for the future in "ITALIA CONTEMPORANEA" 262/2011, pp. 51-63, DOI:10.3280/IC2011-262003

   

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