For the past 70 years, the mission of The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute (JHI) has been to collect, document, and research the legacy of Polish Jews, with an emphasis on events related to the Holocaust and its consequences. JHI is located in the building that once housed the Jewish library and Institute of Judaic Studies that was part of the Great Synagogue on Tłomackie before the war. Traces of the fire that consumed the Great Synagogue when it was bombed in May 1943 can still be seen in the building.
JHI is the only Jewish scholarly institution that is still functioning in Poland. Many JHI researchers, particularly of the first generation, emigrated. They helped found Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and joined the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. Today, our staff includes many dedicated young scholars, archivists, and art historians. They ensure our institution’s future.
The JHI maintains the most important library and archive in Europe related to Polish Jews, including more than eight million pages of documents. Our holdings are particularly strong in the following areas: documentation of death sites –ghettos, concentration and death camps, and other sites of mass murder; photographs from the prewar, Holocaust, and postwar periods; and works of art by Jewish artists, especially those who died during the war.
An Archive More Important Than Life
“I would like to invite you to an exceptional place — an archive unlike any other in Jewish history — the Ringelblum Archive. Created underground in the Warsaw Ghetto, this archive was saved by a miracle: it was buried before the destruction of the ghetto and unearthed from the ruins after the war. It contains documents, reports, and memoirs of particular importance, as well as works of art created in the ghetto. We believe that this great legacy of the Jewish people is the property of all the Jews in the world, wherever they are. All humanity should be able to benefit from the unparalleled contents of this unique archive.”