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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Soviet Deportation of Poles during World War II, 1939-1945: Print Sources

Guide created by Urszula Biegaj for LIS 530C

Searching in Polish

Polish is one of the few Slavic languages that does not have many problems when it comes to searching. Luckily for the scholar of anything Polish, including history, diacritics are unnecessary.

For example,

Kraków can be spelled Krakow.

jeńcy wojenne can be spelled jency wojenne

Very seldom will there be problems with spelling, as long as the word is being spelled as the Poles would spell in, not in English or any other language.

For example,

Rumunia is Romania


Wegry is Hungary

Dewey Decimal System

Many libraries use the Dewey Decimal System to classify and catalog their holdings. Knowing which call numbers correspond with the relevant topics of research will help maximize time spent in the stacks of the library. A good, although not reliable, way to find sources it to look around a general area within the stacks. Sometimes really good sources get overlooked when doing a catalog search.

For the topic of Soviet Deportation of the Poles during WWII, take a look at:

  • 940 General history of Europe; 940.53 specifically
  • 943 General history of Europe Central Europe Germany
  • 947 General history of Europe Eastern Europe Soviet Union
  • 325 International Migration and Colonization
  • 305 Social Groups


Using the Library

Before embarking on a research project, it is important for a scholar to know how he or she should be searching in order to get what he or she needs. Considering good research will include the use of libraries and archives in the country of the topic, it is important to be familiar with subject words, keywords and organizational components. This section will discuss searching within U.S. libraries, using UIUC as the example. The subtab under Print Sources will discuss using Polish libraries.

Search Words

When a scholar already has a research topic in mind, it is a good start to just conduct a search of a specific phrase or keyword. It is important to note that this is only the beginning, and that more detailed searching, browsing and sifting will be required.

After typing in "Soviet deportation Poles" in the UIUC Library search box, 18 results were found. Not all were in English, which is helpful, and although this does not seem like a lot, it is a good start.

Some of the results:

Janina Kowalska. Moje Uniwersytety (London: Nakl adem Polskiej Fundacji Kulturalnej, 1971). A memoir about her time in forced-exile in the Soviet Union. Call number: 364.680947 K849M

Kazimierz Zamorski and Stanislaw Starzewski Sprawiedliwosc Sowiecka (Warsaw: ALFA, 1994). Personal narratives of life in exile and in Soviet prisons. Call number: 940.5317 M79S

Alfred J. Rieber, ed. Forced Migration in Central and Eastern Europe (London: F. Cass, 2000). "Edited selections from papers originally presented at the Conference on Population Transfers, Deportations and Resettlements in Central and Eastern Europe, held in September 1996, in Budapest, Hungary"--Preface. Call number: 940.5308691 F748

A lot of information is available on the catalog itself. Technology and libraries are slowly combining to make research projects easier to do. In order to get more results that are relevant to the topic, a little digging is necessary. By clicking on any of the results from the original search, the scholar will see the detailed information of the record. In this section there are subject headings that, if clicked on, will connect the scholar with other relevant sources.

For example:

Wladyslaw Wielhorski. Trzy pytania i trzy odpowiedzi: prawda o deportacjach Polakow pod panowaniem sowieckim (London: Nakl. Egzekutywny Zjednoczenia Narodowego, 1964) is tagged World War, 1939-1945 - Deportations from Poland. Clicking on this link leads to 45 other books on the topic. Some of these results deal with the Nazi deportation of Poles, but others are pertinent to the Soviet deportation of Poles. 

Other Library of Congress Subject headings to use:

World War, 1939-1945-Poland

World War, 1939-1945-Soviet Union

Poles-Foreign Countries


Population transfers-Poles


Subject Guide

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Slavic Reference Service
Slavic Reference Service
International and Area Studies Library
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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