Project Lead: USCPAHA Commission Members
Location: Oyneg Shabes Monument in Warsaw, Poland
This monument honors “Oyneg Shabes,” the team that documented everything that was happening in the Warsaw ghetto. They would meet in secret on Saturdays, hence their code name, which means “Joy of Sabbath” in Yiddish and Hebrew.
Led by the historian Emanuel Ringelblum, a Labor Zionist and social activist, about 60 scientists, writers, historians, translators, artists, journalists, and social and political activists collected testimonies, government documents, underground press, letters, postcards, diaries, reports, posters, newspapers, poetry and works of art, and even ration tickets and candy wrappers. At first they thought the clandestine archive they were creating would be the basis for the book they would write about the occupation and struggle to survive in the Warsaw Ghetto.
During the Great Deportation in the summer of 1942, when they realized the fate that awaited them, they were desperate to save the archive. The archive would scream out to the world, as one member of the team wrote inhis last will and testament, what they could not. The team buried part of the archive during the Great Deportation and a second part shortly before the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Shortly after the war, three members of “Oyneg Shabes” who had survived located the first cache in the rubble of the destroyed ghetto. The second cache was discovered in the 1950s by accident when digging the foundation for a building. About 25,000 pages were recovered.
The “Oyneg Shabes” Archive, also known as the Ringelblum Archive, was inscribed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World list in 1999. The Association of the Jewish Historical Institute, which is the custodian of the “Oyneg Shabes” archive, has been involved in creating memorials for both the archive and the team. In 2021 a monument to the “Oyneg Shabes” Archive was unveiled at the spot on Nowolipki Street where part of the archive was buried and later recovered.
A second monument will commemorate the individual members of the “Oyneg Shabes” team, who risked their lives to ensure that the world would know and remember what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto. Some of them died in the Warsaw Ghetto, others during the Uprising. Most of them perished in the death camps.Their final resting places are unknown. A monument dedicated to them will be unveiled in 2023 in the Jewish cemetery on Okopowa Street in Warsaw. Designed by Senna Kolektyw and Dr. Natalia Romik, this monument will be made of glass bricks, symbolizing the individuals who worked together to create the Archive. Symbols of the professions the members of “Oyneg Shabes” will be engraved on the bricks.
The total cost of the project was approximately $60,000 USD. The Commission has committed to securing $10,000 to support the final construction, unveiling, and promotion of this impressive monument.
Charitable contributions to USCPAHA are tax-deductible under section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.