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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Soviet Deportation of Poles during World War II, 1939-1945: Archival Resources

Guide created by Urszula Biegaj for LIS 530C

Why Archives?

If a scholar gets the chance to do research in an archive of the country being studied, he or she must take advantage of it.

When it comes to the topic at hand, it would be very interesting to see what kind of materials the archives in Poland have. Considering that the people who were deported during the war lived in what is now Ukraine and Belarus, it might be beneficial to look at archives in those countries as well. This strategy is a bit of beyond the scope of this Guide, so the focus here will be about appropriate archives in Poland.

Some general resources about archives in Poland:

Andrzej Biernat and Anna Laszuk, eds. Archiwa panstwowe w Polsce: przewodnik po zasobach (Warszawa: DiG, 1998). Call number: 027.0438 Ar259

Richard C. Lewanski. Guide to Polish libraries and archives (Boulder, CO: East European Quarterly, 1974). Call number: 027.2438 L669G

These may be a bit dated, but are worth a look to see how Polish archives are organized and what is to be expected when the scholar is there.


Poland 1939

The main Polish Archive website is a good place to start when looking for general information. For this project, however, it is suggested to look at the cities and regions that will have the most information about the Soviet occupation and the deportation of Poles.

From the above map, it is clear that some of the Soviet Occupied parts of Poland then are still part of Poland now. The region around the city Bialystok is one of them.

The archive in Bialystok offers a guide to their holdings about the loss of people from the area, including during the Soviet Occupation. For more information about the guide, see the link below. There is also an archive in the town of Lomza, which has a lot of good resources when it comes to Soviet occupation.

Another pertinent archive to consider is the one located in the city of Przemysl. This city has an interesting history, considering its location on the border of Poland. Doing a browse in the Polish archive search engine SEZAM, within the Przemysl archives are documents having to do with the repatriation of people at the end of the War. This could lead research into a direction of identity and social issues after the deportation and repatriation.

Even if it not possible for a scholar of this topic to go to Poland and look through these archives, it is a good way to get an idea of what is out there that is pertinent to the topic. It might turn out that a trip to Poland is called for.

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