They didn’t wait for the war to end.
In August 1944, as soon as Soviet troops swept the Nazis out of eastern Poland, a group of Jewish intellectuals rushed to cities like Lublin and Lodz to begin collecting and recording, scouring for any trace of the still fresh horror that had taken their own loved ones. They wanted evidence.
Among them was Nachman Blumental, a philologist obsessed with the uses and misuses of language. He had escaped into the Soviet Union and now returned to find that his wife, Maria, and young son, Ariel, had been killed. Places once teeming with Jewish life were gutted. His whole world had effectively vanished.