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This is the moving account of the horror of the Warsaw Ghetto -- written by the recognised archivist and historian of the area while he lived through it. Through anecdotes, stories, and notations -- some as brief as was slapped today in Zlota Street -- there emerges the agonising, eyewitness accounts of human beings caught in the furore of senseless, unrelenting brutality. In the Journal, there is the whole of life in the Ghetto, from the erection of the Wall, in November 1940, for hygienic reasons, through the brief period of deceptive calm to the eventual mass murders. It is a portrait of man tested by crisis, stained at times by the meanness of avarice and self-preservation, illumined more often by moments of nobility.
Ammanual Ringelblum was 39 when he began his notes. When the Germans first invaded Poland, Ringelblum, who could have stayed abroad and escaped, returned to Warsaw from Switzerland knowing that his was an historical event of importance for his people and a moment in time that must be forever a part of written history. As the recognized archivist of the Ghetto he gathered around him a staff, and assigned each to cover a specific part of Ghetto life. From these reports and this notes, he assembled his Journal. On March 7, 1944, Emmanual Ringelblum was executed among the ruins of Warsaw, together with his wife, his son, and thirt-eight others who shared his hiding place.