"MAY HISTORY ATTEST FOR US"

Jewish resistance to the Holocaust did not just involve fighting. Oneg Shabbat was a project organised by the historian Emanuel Ringelblum which attempted to record Jewish life in occupied Warsaw by collecting items such as diaries, newspapers, poems and even sweet wrappers. When deportations to Treblinka began in the summer of 1942, a section of the Oneg Shabbat archive was buried in metal boxes in the ghetto; two later caches were buried in 1943. One of the three men who buried the archives was David Graber, who was 19. He added this last letter.


I would love to live to see the moment in which the great treasure will be dug up and shriek to the world proclaiming the truth. So the world may know all. So the ones who did not live through it may be glad, and we may feel like veterans with medals on our chest. We would be the fathers, the teachers and educators of the future… But no, we shall certainly never live to see it, and therefore do I write my last will. May the treasure fall into good hands, may it last into better times, may it alarm and alert the world to what happened and was played out in the twentieth century…

We may now die in peace. We fulfilled our mission. May history attest for us.

Most of the Oneg Shabbat archive was discovered after the war; the photograph shows the recovery of the first cache. By recording Nazi crimes and Jewish experiences, and preserving Jewish culture, Oneg Shabbat can be seen as an example of resistance to the Holocaust.


Photo: the discovery of the first cache of the Oneg Shabbat archives, Warsaw, 1946; Yad Vashem

Last testament: Joseph Kermish (ed.), To Live with Honor and Die with Honor!... Selected Documents from the Warsaw Ghetto Underground Archives “O.S.” (“Oneg Shabbath”) (Yad Vashem, 1986)

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