[In Hebrew:] Hurban Yahadut Varsha. [Liquidation of Jewish Warsaw. According to Official Documents Received by the Representation of Polish Jewry.]
[In Hebrew:] Hurban Yahadut Varsha. [Liquidation of Jewish Warsaw. According to Official Documents Received by the Representation of Polish Jewry.]
[In Hebrew:] Hurban Yahadut Varsha. [Liquidation of Jewish Warsaw. According to Official Documents Received by the Representation of Polish Jewry.]
Early Firsthand Reports on The Grossaktion Warsaw, Treblinka and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

[In Hebrew:] Hurban Yahadut Varsha. [Liquidation of Jewish Warsaw. According to Official Documents Received by the Representation of Polish Jewry.]

[Tel Aviv]: [S.n. but Reprezentacja Żydowsta Polskiego], October 1943. First edition. Text in Hebrew, except for the map which is bilingual (Polish-Hebrew). Former collection copy, related ink inscriptions on the title page, private bookplate on title page verso (Rabbi Yehuda Liv), stamp on the second leaf and on p. 28. Stenciled. Bound by staples and papered spine. (4), 29, (1) p., and a map of Treblinka II extermination camp. Damaged at spine. Title page and last leaf chipped, slightly worn. Paper toned throughout. Otherwise in very good condition.

Hebrew translation of the first comprehensive description of the Treblinka extermination camp, illustrated with the first printed map of the camp. One of the earliest reports on the Grossaktion Warsaw amended with a firsthand account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The Hebrew edition of the so-called November Report of the Oneg Shabbat addressed to the Polish government-in-exile and the governments or the Allied Powers, dated on 15 November 1942. The present edition is supplemented with three important documents on the elimination of the Jewish Hospital in Warsaw, the situation of the postal service in the Ghetto, and a firsthand report of the Ghetto Uprising. It was presented in Tel Aviv by the Representation of Polish Jewry (Reprezentacja Żydowsta Polskiego, RŻP) and intended to remain classified (“the current account is strictly confidential, intended only for personal use and not for publication in the press”), on the 20th October 1943. The RŻP functioned as an international umbrella body of the Polish Jewish political parties on behalf of relief efforts for Polish Jewry, operated mainly in Palestine, as part of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Polish Government in Exile.

The November Report comprises four parts, the translation is verbatim, however, the chapters following a different order. The first part Liquidation of Jewish Warsaw (Likwidacja żydowskiej Warszawy) describes the Grossaktion Warsaw, the Nazi operation of mass-deportation of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka II, the extermination camp north-east of Warsaw, between 22nd July and 21st September 1942; the second section depicts the daily life in the so-called residual ghetto after the operation, the third section gives an overview on the extermination of the Jews in the provinces, and the fourth part which is illustrated with the map, is about Treblinka II.

This report is the first comprehensive description of Treblinka II extermination camp, and most of it is considered reliable and accurate. The report includes the localization and size of the camp, describes its construction, accounts about the Sonderkommando, the Jewish work units of the camp, and mentions the extremely difficult conditions of the prisoners, whose life expectancy was no more than two weeks. (Arad, p. 354–5) The sources of the report were escapees who reached the Warsaw ghetto and gave testimonies for the Oneg Shabbat. The map, showing the gas chambers, and all the important structures of the site, was sketched by Abraham Jacob Krzepicki (1915–1943), a resident of the Warsaw Ghetto who was deported to the extermination camp on August 25, 1942, and successfully escaped eighteen days later. He returned to the Ghetto, where he gave his testimony to the Oneg Shabbat. This is the first eyewitness account of the crimes perpetrated in Treblinka, its manuscript is held today at the Ringalblum Archive (RING. II/299. Mf. ŻIH—800; USHMM—55.). Back in the ghetto Krzepicki joined the ŻOB (Jewish Combat Organization) and fought in the Uprising. He was killed during the fights in April 1943. (Krzepicki’s map was included in Yankel Wiernik 1945 memoir “A Year in Treblinka”, thus many sources attribute the map to him and refers it as the Wiernik-map.)

The original text of the November Report was transmitted from Warsaw to London via the Delegatura (the delegate of the Polish government-in-exile from London in occupied Poland) on January 6, 1943 (Arad, p. 354). Details of the report were published on August 1943 in the London-magazine Polish Labor Fights. These pieces of information were quoted in an article about Treblinka in The New York Times on August 8, 1943. The entire translation of the Treblinka-chapter and some other details of the text appeared in the Black Book of the Polish Jewry published in mid-December 1943. The unedited Polish text was published first in 1951, in the Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego (its most recent publication is in Archiwum Ringelbluma Vol. 11. Dok. 68. pp. 330–387) .

We could not trace the sources of the three supplemented documents, nor any later publications of those.

As part of the Final Solution, Grossaktion Warsaw was the operation of the deportation and mass murder, of the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto in Treblinka II extermination camp. Between 23 July and 21 September 1942 approximately 300,000 Jews were deported and killed at Treblinka II. When the second wave of the deportation began in January 1942, many of the remaining Jews decided to revolt. The uprising began on 19 April 1943, and the resistance fighters endured until mid-May. 13,000 Jews died during the uprising, the remaining, approximately 42,000 residents of the Ghetto were deported and almost all were murdered. During its operation, between July 23, 1942, and 19 October 1943, it is estimated that between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews were killed in the gas chambers of Treblinka II. 

Oneg Shabbat (Oyneg Shabes/Shabbos) was a group of historians, writers, rabbis and social workers led by Emanuel Ringelblum, dedicated to collecting documents, testimonies, and reports, to chronicling the life in the Ghetto and to create an archive of historical records for the future historians. The collection included a wide range of materials, like underground press, documents, diaries, drawings, any kinds of ephemera, photographs, together with the statistics related to the ghetto collected and generated by the members of the group. The holdings of the archive were buried before the outbreak of the Uprising in three parts of which two were recovered after the war. The collection, called the Ringelblum Archive, containing some 6,000 documents, among them the drafts and actual copies of the November Report (RING. II/192. Mf. ŻIH—836; USHMM—67), is held at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Extremely scarce, WorldCat locates only 2 copies worldwide in the US and Israel (LOC, NLI).

Bibl.: Apenszlak, J. (ed.): The Black Book of Polish Jewry. New York: Roy Publishers, 1943.; Arad, Y.: Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, 1987.; Bańkowska, A., Epsztein, T. (ed.): Archiwum Ringelbluma. Ludzie i prace "Oneg Szabat”. Volume 11. Warszawa: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny im. Emanuela Ringelbluma, 2013.; Bańkowska, A.: The anniversary of compiling „The liquidation of Jewish Warsaw" report. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jhi.pl/en/blog/2013-11-15-the-anniversary-of-compiling-the-liquidation-of-jewish-warsaw-report; Kassow, S. D.: Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive. Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, 2007.; Krzepicki, A.: Człowiek uciekł z Treblinek… Rozmowy z powracającym. Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, 2017.; Shapiro, R. M., Epsztein, T. (ed.): The Warsaw Ghetto. Oyneg Shabes–Ringelblum Archive. Cataloge and Guide. Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, 2009.


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