Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto Paperback – January 6, 2009
30 of the World's Greatest Historical City Maps
A beautifully illustrated history of the world's most celebrated historical city maps, from the hubs of ancient civilization to sprawling modern mega-cities, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
–The New Republic
“Brilliant. . . . Illuminating and heartbreaking. . . . A heroic act of synthesis and contextualization. . . . Kassow honors the efforts and restores the names of men and women who wrote though they knew their lives and those of their families and even their culture were doomed.”
–Los Angeles Times
“A rich and complicated study. . . . Surprising and extraordinarily moving.”
“Magnificent. . . . A stellar exploration of how history . . . can and should be preserved.”
–Deborah Lipstadt, author of History on Trial
“If there is one book that should be read this year (or any year) about the Holocaust it is Who Will Write Our History?”
–Jewish Book World
“A gripping biography. . . . We should be grateful to Professor Kassow for allowing us to share in Ringelblum’s heroic efforts.”
“One of the most important books I’ve ever read. . . . Kassow has created a stunning and brilliant social history.”
“One of the most important studies on the Holocaust to have appeared in years.”
–Zachary Baker, Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections, Stanford University
“A stunning revelation of the enduring spirit of the decimated residents of the Warsaw Ghetto.”
–NUVO Weekly (Indianapolis)
“Without the faux romanticism or faux spirituality that often accompanies Holocaust historiography, Kassow is able to bring to life the tragic and moving story of these Jews doomed by Nazi fanaticism.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The first portion of the book is, as other reviewers have noted, slow going for non-specialists: it is difficult to keep track of the ideologically charged battles between religious and secular Jews; between Zionists and non-Zionists; between proponents of Yiddish, Polish, and Hebrew; and between different flavors of Jewish left-wing politics in interwar Poland. Nonetheless, Ringelblum's commitments become fairly clear. Politically, he belonged to the Left Paolei Zion, a party which endorsed Marxist-style historical materialism, but combined it (with some tension) with a deep commitment to Yiddish and to radical change in the Diaspora. Ringelblum's approach to history was in keeping with his political commitments: following his senior colleague Isaac Schiper, he wished to write the history of ordinary Jews. Ringelblum's early work focused on the relationship between Jews and Poles, in particular on the economic position of the Jews and the lives of poor Jews in Poland. The Jewish historian's mission was to defend the historical role of Jews in Polish society by objective presentation of the evidence. (p.89)
Even before WWII, Ringelblum combined his historical research and teaching with work in social organizations that served the Warsaw Jewish community.Read more ›
What I believe is most important to say that this remarkable work is far more than an account of Ringelblum and his archive. That history is contextualized within the interwar politics and circumstances of Polish Jewry and Ringelblum's particular perspective as a devoted member of the LPZ. Kassow traces the enormously complex ways that Ringelblum's political commitments did and did not complement his wider mission as historian/documentarian, his responses to the escalating destruction, and his understanding of the need for solidarity (or some semblance of it) at critical moments. Anyone who has devoted their lives to such overlapping, and often conflicting, commitments, will relate to Ringelblum's dilemmas. Kassow has the gift of presenting these clearly and without dumbing down the complexity involved. This is rare indeed.
Along with Ringelblum himself, we become acquainted with other members of the core group devoted to the archive, both known and relatively unknown. We also become acquainted with their own inevitable blind spots,insights,and everything in between.
While its subject is very specific, this book also teaches us important things about what it means to be a human being within a world in horrific dissolution. In different terms, it teaches us about integrity--not in a sentimental sense--but as actually realized (and not realized) in the most extreme circumstances. It teaches us about taking life seriously. If we come away inspired, and haunted, it is because we have become acquainted with the complexity that results. As in the greatest works of art, and notwithstanding radical differences in fate, we recognize aspects of ourselves for the first time.
One of the most important books I've ever read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing! Kassow explains the personality of Emmanuel Ringelblum, a modest but extraordinary historian who had the presence of mind to bury a treasure under the streets of Warsaw. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sheryl Silver
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a true account of the history of the Jewish population of Warsaw.Published 6 months ago by Derk Zeedyk
The book is very troubling, it is unnerving , scary and beyond the word heartbreaking. Mr. Kassow writes the book about the Nazi's destruction of Jewish culture in Poland during... Read morePublished 8 months ago by David
Outstanding book! A must-read for anyone interested in the literary treasures we left behind pre-WWII, and how we're recouped some of them.Published 8 months ago by Rose L.
I had the privilege and pleasure of listening to Dr. Kassow, a remarkable scholar and renowned expert on Ashkenazic Jewry a few years ago. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Frespkr
Awful, arcane, poorly translated with dozens of foreign words not translatedPublished 22 months ago by Kenneth S. Obenski
I bought the book because I went to the Holocaust museum in St Petersburg Florida to listen to Dr Kassow give a talk on the Oneg Shabaz in the Warsaw Ghetto.Published on April 15, 2014 by Catherine Hunter
Kassow provided an interesting look at the Warsaw Ghetto, and the efforts of Emanuel Ringelblum, a Jewish historian, to chronicle what happened in it througout the Second World War... Read morePublished on March 9, 2010 by Matthew Lerner