The Oyneg Shabbes Archive Collections: The Wills of Israel Lichtenstein and Gele Sekstein

The vast archive buried under the Warsaw Ghetto included these two wills that describe their lives and lament the fate of Europe’s Jews.

With the beginning of the Great Deportation of Warsaw Jewry to the Treblinka extermination camp, members of the clandestine Oyneg Shabbes (“Joy of the Sabbath”) Archive sought shelter for the Archive and decided that it was to be buried, despite the risks involved. Their hope was that it would one day be retrieved and serve as a testament to the murder of Polish Jewry. The archival collections included original research, testimonies and documents, newspapers, diaries, photographs, and artworks. Among those entrusted with the task of burying the Archive were two educators, Israel Lichtenstein and his wife, painter Gele Sekstein. Shortly before burying the Archives, they added their own wills, describing their lives and lamenting the fate of Europe’s Jews.


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