Secret Archives of the Warsaw Ghetto
Among the most precious artifacts on display in the Permanent Exhibition is a rusty milk can from the Warsaw ghetto, on loan to the Museum from the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland. It was used to hide and preserve a portion of the Oneg Shabbat (Hebrew for "Sabbath delight") archive established by Jewish historian Emmanuel Ringelblum in October 1939 to document Jewish life and death in the ghetto.
In 1942 and 1943, as the Nazis prepared to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto through deportations to the Treblinka killing center, the archive was buried in a number of metal containers inside the ghetto to preserve it for posterity.
After World War II, two milk cans and only some of the other containers were recovered from under the rubble of destroyed Warsaw. This can was unearthed on December 1, 1950. Ringelblum and many of his colleagues died at Nazi hands, never to know of the postwar unearthing of the archive.
Location: Middle Floor
Learn more about the themes covered on this floor of the exhibition