Letters and Milk Jug: Warsaw Ghetto Archive Goes on Display

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -
A visitor tours an exhibition of Holocaust archives, “What we could not shout out to the world,” at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Letters and other witness accounts of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto — the records of a community destroyed in the Holocaust — have gone on display for the first time.

The exhibition, “What we were unable to shout out to the world”, opened at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw this week. It includes letters, journals, official records and other documents in Polish and Yiddish as well as an old metal jug used to hide the documents from the Emanuel Ringelblum archive.

Ringelblum, a Jewish historian and social activist, and some 50 to 60 helpers, collected the documents during World War II to preserve a record for posterity of Jewish life in the Warsaw ghetto during the German occupation of Poland.

They hid their trove in ten metal cases and two metal milk cans, evidence that was recovered after the war.

Ringelblum and all but three of those who helped him were killed in the Holocaust.

The Germans imprisoned 400,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, where they suffered severely from starvation and diseases before most were deported to the Treblinka death camp and murdered.