Scholar of Warsaw Ghetto Archives to speak at Fairfield University


Sam KassowA Samuel D. Kassow, Ph.D., Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, will speak on "Between History and Catastrophe: Emanuel Ringelblum's Secret Warsaw Ghetto Archive" at Fairfield University as part of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies lecture series, on Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. The program is free and the public is welcome. For reservations, please call the Bennett Center at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066.

The Emanuel Ringelblum Archives, also known as the Warsaw Ghetto Archives, is a collection of some 1,680 archival units that were retrieved from the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto. Comprised of some 25,000 pages, they include testimonies about the fate of Jewish communities during the Holocaust, materials concerning ghetto resistance, government documents, literature, photographs, works of art and private correspondence This vast quantity of items was collected, sealed in metal containers and milk cans, and hidden within the ghetto by victims of the Holocaust in order to pass on information about the Holocaust to future generations. As part of his presentation, Dr. Kassow will show slides of some of the items found in the secret archives.

Unique in both its origin and its historic value, the collection covers the period between 1939 and 1943 and while it mainly concerns the largest ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe, it does in fact cover the whole of occupied Poland. Nearly all the creators of the Ringelblum Archives perished, either in the ghetto or in the extermination camps.

The author of Who will Write our History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Secret Ghetto Archive (University of Indiana Press, 2007), Dr. Kassow is a consultant to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews that will be built in Warsaw.

He is also the author of Students Professors and the State in Tsarist Russia: 1884-1917 (University of California Press, 1989), and The Distinctive Life of East European Jewry (YIVO, 2003). He is also the co-editor of Between Tsar and People (Princeton University Press, 1993).

Dr. Kassow has lectured and taught in Mexico, Lithuania, Russia, Poland and Israel. In 1993 and 1995 the Jewish Theological Seminary asked him to teach Jewish history in its Project Judaica program in Moscow. In 2002 he was a Visiting Professor at Princeton.

Dr. Kassow has been a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has held National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson and Danforth Fellowships and has been an IREX Fellow at Warsaw, Moscow and Leningrad Universities.

He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. A child of Holocaust survivors, Dr. Kassow was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 21, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 184