‘Two and a Half Years of War.’ Unfinished Research Project in Warsaw Ghetto

Maria Ferenc Piotrowska


In 1940, a Warsaw historian and activist Emanuel Ringelblum established  Underground Ghetto Archive that collected materials and testimonies concerning the  life of Jews in Warsaw and other Polish cities under German occupation. Apart from  the collecting focused on the late 1941 and early 1942, archivists were conducting  research project ‘Two and half years of the war,’ the aim of which was to prepare  a monograph devoted to the various aspects of Jewish life during the war. Among  detailed problems to be investigated, many dealt with social life during the war. The  project went beyond borders of historiography; its main goal was the analysis of current  reality and it was rooted in the intellectual traditions of interwar Jewish and Polish  sociology. The aim of this paper is to present ‘Two and a half years’ project from the  sociological perspective; to focus on its innovative methodology and to stress that the  project was developed in response to the extreme, war-time situation, simultaneously  with events, requiring researchers to be flexible and to go beyond their ordinary ways  of thinking.

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