Poetry in Hell - Yiddish Poetry in the Ringelblum Archives

This website contains the complete collection of poems from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives with English translations by Sarah Traister Moskovitz, emeritus professor at California State University Northridge:

"Poetry in Hell is a web site dedicated to the poets, both in the Warsaw Ghetto and elsewhere whose poetry, under the leadership of Emmanuel Ringelblum, was secretly collected by the members of the “Oneg Shabbat Society“, preserved and buried in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation.

The efforts of the Oneg Shabbat Society were to document life in the ghetto for future generations. The poetry in this website was found postwar, burried in milk cans and photographed onto microfiche by the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland in conjunction with support from the United States Holocaust Museum. I am grateful to both of these institutions for making these documents and the microfiche available to me for translation to English.

The poems are divided into five thematic groups:

  • Nature
  • Home, Love, Life
  • Ghetto, Hunger, Struggle
  • Death, Anger, Mourning
  • Tradition, Faith, Protest

    The poems offer insight into the daily actions, emotions, and wisdom of people living in the ghetto. They capture a wide range of topics, presented with sensitivity, beauty, longing and raw angst. While the Yiddish language is particularly beautiful, the English translations are easy to read and will make the poems accessible to a far wider group of readers and to future generations."