- Joseph Kermisz
Dr. Joseph Kermish was born in the town of Zlotniki, in the Tarnopol district, 1907. He studied history at the University of Warsaw and completed his doctoral studies in 1937. He spent the years 1936-1939 preparing a book of bibliographies on the history of Warsaw and the history of the Jewish community in Warsaw, work that was suspended with the outbreak of the war, 01 September 1939, and his draft into the Polish Army.
He spent the period of the German occupation, from 1941, in the town of Probuzna, not far from Husiatin. During this period he served as the authorized representative of the Jewish Self-Help Organization in the Lwow district. He spent the years 1943-1944 wandering among fields and forests, and was rescued due to the Polish teacher, Franciszek Kaminski, in whose attic, in his home in the Czabarowka village, he hid together with four additional Jews.
Immediately following the liberation, Dr. Joseph Kermish participated in the establishment of the Jewish Historical Committee in Lublin, whose objective was to collect documentary material regarding the experiences of the Jews under Nazi occupation, together with the historian, Dr. Philip Friedman and the researcher, Nachman Blumenthal. In March 1945, the Historical Committee was transferred to Lodz. Following the liberation of Warsaw, the Historical Committee was transferred there, and some time later its name was changed to "The Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw". Dr. Joseph Kermish served as Vice Chairman of the Institute until he left Poland and made aliya to Israel in 1950.
In Israel, Dr. Joseph Kermish joined the founding team of the Archive and Holocaust Museum in Kibbutz Lochamei Hagetaot, and with the establishment of Yad Vashem, in 1953, he was charged with the task of establishing the Yad Vashem Archives, which he directed until 1979. Within a short time, the Archives at Yad Vashem under his direction succeeded in gathering documentation from Jewish sources that was safeguarded in Europe and German documentation from the period of the occupation that had been dispersed among the various archives in Germany and in additional European countries. He saw the challenge of collecting the archival records regarding the Holocaust, that can be found in Israel and in Europe, as the first and foremost objective for which the newly founded archives was established.
Dr. Joseph Kermish was involved in the editing and publishing of collections of source material, "The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the Eyes of the Enemy", "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniakow", "The Child and the Youth in Martyrdom and Heroism", "The Jewish Underground Press in Warsaw" and more.
Dr. Joseph Kermish died on 18 October 2005.
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