Auschwitz Museum Director Dr. Piotr Cywiński, Chairperson of the Programme Board of the Jewish Historical Institute
The Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński was elected as chairperson of the Programme Board of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute (JHI) in Warsaw. The deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Jarosław Sellin attended the meeting of the new Board, which was held April 26, 2017.
The Board is an initiative and consultative body of the Director of JHI, in the person of Prof. Paweł Śpiewak. The members of the Board are appointed and dismissed at his request by the Minister Of Culture And National Heritage from people outside of the Institute with academic titles or doctoral degrees, who are leading specialists in the field of the history and culture of the Jews, representatives of the University centres and other scientific institutions from Poland and abroad.
‘It is an honour for us that Piotr Cywiński accepted the invitation to the Programme Board of JHI. He is one of the most experienced museologists, managing the largest Memorial Site in the world. He possesses experience valuable to us as a museologist, archivist and historian. We have on repeated occasions turned to him for advice, and it has always been an objective, strong and convincing advice’ said the director of JHI, Paweł Śpiewak.
Director Piotr Cywiński for over a year has been a consultant to the JHI for the project on preparing a new permanent exhibition of the Institute dedicated to the Ringelblum Archive and its Oneg Shabbat group.
The history of the Jewish Historical Institute dates back to 1947, when it was established as a result of the transformation of the Central Jewish Historical Commission operating at the Central Committee of Polish Jews. On 1 January 2009, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage raised its status to a state institution of culture. Since then, it also bears the name of Emanuel Ringelblum. The JHI deals with the deepening and disseminating of knowledge on the history and culture of the Jews, especially Polish Jews, and its presentation as an important element of world cultural heritage.
The Institute’s Archive is one of the richest collection of source materials for research on the history of the Jews in Poland. It has in its collections documents of organizations, such as: The Central Committee of Polish Jews, Joint, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society HIAS, Society for Promotion of Employment among the Jews, papers of university students and rabbinical seminaries on history, philosophy and religious studies, documents of Jewish communities, as well as documents relating to World War II.
The most important of these, is the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, so-called Ringelblum Archive, discovered in the ruins of the Warsaw ghetto in 1946 and 1950. It has 1,680 archival units (about 25,000 cards). The archive was created in the autumn of 1940 at the initiative of Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum. The collection was created by dozens of Jewish writers, teachers, researchers and social activists operating in the underground organization called the Oneg Shabbat.
The main objective of the group was to study and document the various aspects of the social life of Polish Jews under German occupation. The materials collected by Oneg Shabbat are now one of the most important archival resources on the history of the Holocaust, in particular the extermination carried out by Nazi Germany on Polish Jews. In 1999, UNESCO included the Ringelblum Archive in the list of “Memory of the World”, which constitutes the most valuable monuments of world literature