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Warsaw Ghetto expert Ruta Sakowska dies

JTA

August 23, 2011 | 10:53 am

Razing of the Warsaw Ghetto, May 1943. Photo from Jürgen Stroop

Razing of the Warsaw Ghetto, May 1943. Photo from Jürgen Stroop

Historian Ruta Sakowska, one of the world’s leading experts on the World War II Warsaw Ghetto, has died.

Sakowska died Monday in Warsaw at the age of 89.

Sakowska, who was born in Vilnius in 1922, served as director of the Ringelblum Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

The archives, established clandestinely in the Warsaw Ghetto by the historian Emmanuel Ringelblum and his secret Oneg Shabbat resistance team, document every facet of life and death in the ghetto and also document the fate of many other Polish Jewish communities. The documentation was hidden in milk cans and metal boxes on the eve of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. Some 25,000 pages of material were recovered from the ruins of the ghetto after the war. Ringelblum himself was killed by the Gestapo in 1944.

In 1997, Sakowska received the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Award for her work on the archives.

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