No beautiful museum in the center of Jerusalem, no teams of dedicated scholars mining the scrolls for historical and spiritual information. And yet, the sacred texts that rose from the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto remain largely silent and obscure. Indeed, to this day, almost no one knows about the Oyneg Shabes Archive or the remarkable man who created it, Emanuel Ringelblum.
Discovered in 1946 and 1950, the thousands of surviving documents of the Archive were housed in underfunded conditions in the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw for decades. Written in Yiddish and Polish and largely untranslated, the Archives remained largely unknown outside of academic circles. Only in 1990 was funding available to apply modern preservation techniques on the crumbling treasure. According to Peter Miller, writing a review of historian Samuel Kassow's 2007 seminal work on the Archive, Who Will Write Our History?, "During those long years, Ringelblum's Archive lay in the ground, or in restoration baths, or in closed cupboards, waiting, waiting, waiting." Finally, in 2007, Indiana University Press published Kassow's book and, according to Miller,
Kassow is the first to give a picture of the whole project, and of its amazing chief protagonist. For all these reasons, this book—itself an act of historical rescue—is a work of tremendous significance.
In 2013, Indiana University Press and Professor Kassow agreed to option the rights to make a documentary film based on his book to filmmaker Roberta Grossman. Now, 70 years after the hasty burial of the Archives on the eve of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the voices of the Oyneg Shabes Archive will finally be heard in the new feature-length documentary Who Will Write Our History.