One of the effects of my cooperation with Żydowski Instytut Historyczny (Jewish Historical Institute) are four thick volumes (parallel bilingual editions, each nearly 400 pages long) of catalogues of Holocaust survivor testimonies:
Relacje z czasów zagłady: inwentarz / Holocaust Survivor Testimonies: Catalogue (Jewish Historical Institute Archives, Record Group 301), ed. Michał Czajka, Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny im. Emanuela Ringelbluma, Instytut Naukowo-Badawczy:
vol. IV (Nos 3001-4000), publ. 2005
vol. V (Nos 4001-5000), publ. 2007
vol. VI (Nos 5001-6000), publ. 2009
vol. VII (Nos 6001-7297), publ. 2011
These and the preceding three volumes of catalogues contain information about over 7200 testimonies which, beginning in the autumn of 1944, were given by Holocaust survivors to the field workers of the Central Jewish Historical Commission (in 1947 this Commission transformed to the Jewish Historical Institute). Survivors came forward from bunkers in the forests, from partisan units, as well as from newly liberated concentration and labour camps, wishing to relate to the Commission’s interviewers what they and their families had endured during the occupation; in some cases, the survivors wrote down their own statements. These Holocaust survivor testimonies are one of the most valuable archival collections housed at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and, next to the Ringelblum Archive, they constitute the most important body of documents telling the story of Holocaust; they have been and continue to be used as evidence in the trials of war crimes.
Apart from translating four volumes of catalogues which summarize these materials, I have also translated dozens of individual testimonies (unpublished), including a huge proportion of accounts given by children.
One other major publication I translated for the Jewish Historical Institute is:
Inwentarz zbioru pamiętników / Memoirs Collection Catalogue (Jewish Historical Institute Archives, Record Group 302), ed. Michał Czajka, Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, Instytut Naukowo-Badawczy, 2007 (parallel bilingual edition)
One formal difference between the collection of the memoirs (Record Group 302) described in this volume, and the documents in the Record Group 301, classified as Holocaust survivor testimonies, is that the latter were mostly recorded by employees of the Central Jewish Historical Commission on the basis of the survivors’ accounts, while the memoirs were written by the survivors themselves—during the war (in ghettos and in hiding), or many years later. Some of the documents in this collection follow the classic memoir convention, others are stylized as historical descriptions, or fictionalized. Sometimes their authors look back to the years and decades preceding the Second World War, but the central subject of this collection is the occupation, the extermination, and the struggle to survive.