President Andrzej Duda was speaking at the opening of the Jewish Historical Institute's exhibition entitled "What we could not shout out to the world".
The exhibition is devoted to the creators and the fate of the Warsaw Ghetto's Underground Archive.
"Thanks to their work, we have learnt about the terrible reality of everyday life in that enclosed quarter. Their material artefacts (...), but above all, the testimonies of people sentenced to death, systematically tormented and exterminated. There is no shadow of joy in it, but there is a posthumous victory over the tormentor as it was thanks to Oneg Shabbat (Joy of the Sabbath – PAP) that the memory of the victims was preserved (...) memory that was supposed to perish, that was supposed to become a handful of ash buried under the ruins", the President said.
The president highlighted the fact that the work of Ringelblum's team started in 1939: "In his words, he tried to recreate a complete picture of Jews' lives during the war", the President said.
"Ringelblum and his colleagues are heroes of the Polish and Jewish conspiracy (...) the Ringelblum Archive laid the foundations of the Jewish Historical Institute", President Andrzej Duda stressed, noting that because the archive had been hidden in crates and milk churns, "like in the ark, the truth of the Holocaust survived the most terrible crime in human history committed by Hitler's Third German Reich on Polish citizens of Jewish descent", President Duda stressed.
"The Ringelblum Archive is a priceless testament to the most tragic chapter in the common history of Jews and Polish people. It is a very important element of the Republic of Poland's heritage", the president underscored, going on that the Germans wanted not only to exterminate the whole of Jewish society, but also planned to destroy the memory of its history.
"The exhibition opening today is a further important step in restoring the memory of the world which Hitler's criminals wanted to erase forever, but it survived (...) I am here as the president of the Republic of Poland, because I am deeply convinced that our duty is to speak the truth about the extermination of the Jews. In that way, the work of Emanuel Ringelblum and his colleagues is somehow continued".
The Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto was created in 1940 upon the initiative of Emanuel Ringelblum, a historian and social activist who together with colleagues grouped in the Oneg Shabbat organisation, gathered documentary evidence of life in the Warsaw Ghetto and the fate of Jews under the German occupation. After the first deportations, the materials were hidden underground, where they remained until the mid-1940s. Today, the archive is considered one of the most important witnesses to the extermination of Polish Jews. (PAP)