“My Handiwork are Drowning in the Sea and You Utter a Song before Me!?” Orthodox Leadership in Warsaw during the Holocaust

Havi Dreifuss

Tel Aviv University

During the Second World War, dozens of rabbis and rebbes gathered in occupied Warsaw and formed an unprecedented center of Torah scholars. These religious leaders – local and refugees – soon formed a certain milieu with unique characteristics. In my paper I will address their activities within the religious world and outside of it, as well as their acceptance amongst Warsaw’s Jews. Their theological understanding of the events they witnessed, their encounter with the Holocaust reality as public leaders and their attempt to shape life in the ghetto sheds light on some lesser known aspects of Warsaw Jewry during the Holocaust in particular and of Polish Jewry during the twentieth century Orthodox in general.


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