More Important than Life: The Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto

Catalogue to the exhibitiom More Important than Life: The Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto (June 29, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024)

The Underground Archive is the first attempt to document the Shoah from the perspective of those affected and directly during the events.

Before World War II, Poland was home to 3.3 million Jews, and Warsaw was the cultural, religious and political center of this diverse community. A year after the German war of aggression began, the Nazis forced the Jewish population into a sealed-off part of the city. The historian Emanuel Ringelblum then stimulated an unprecedented project: a group working in secret, documenting the daily life of the ghetto under the code name Oneg Shabbat (Joy of Shabbat). Cut off from the world, it collected and produced a wealth of material. With the beginning of the systematic murder of Polish Jews, they unwillingly became chroniclers of the Shoah, which they themselves, with few exceptions, did not survive. After the war, a large part of the archive, buried in tin crates and milk cans, was recovered from under the ruins of the ghetto. With its approximately 35,000 preserved pages, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The volume is published on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name, which the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism opened in cooperation with the Jewish Historical Institute Warsaw in June 2023.

With contributions by Georges Didi-Huberman, Amos Goldberg, Monika Krawczyk, Andrea Löw, Katarzyna Person, Piotr Rypson, Mirjam Zadoff u.a.  

The accompanying publication can be purchased as a German and English edition at the Munich Documentation Center or ordered online and in bookstores.

Published in September 2023 by Wallstein Publishers
Englisch edition, 136 pages, 66 illustrations, softcover with flaps, 17 x 21 cm
Edited by NS-Dokumentationszentrum München / Ulla-Britta Vollhardt, Mirjam Zadoff
ISBN 978-3-8353-5545-3
Price: Euro 15,00

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Storytelling to the exhibition

Scroll through the impressive eye-witness testimonies from the so-called Ringelblum Archive: these tell the story of the lives and deaths of people in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Go to Storytelling