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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Soviet Deportation of Poles during World War II, 1939-1945: Polish Libraries

Guide created by Urszula Biegaj for LIS 530C

Excellent Resource

Słownik języka haseł przedmiotowych

This website is indispensable when using the catalogs of the Polish National Library, or any Polish databases for that matter. It is a list of all the subject headings used by the library. This is similar to what the Library of Congress offers with its subject headings just in Polish and online. This will be incredibly useful when searching in Polish.

Books outside the U.S.

Although it may seem pointless to talk about searching foreign libraries' catalogs, there are possibilities for the scholar to get his or her hands on the exact sources he or she needs. This is made possible by databases like WorldCat and the InterLibrary Loan program. If the Biblioteka Narodowa or Jagiellonian Library have a book that would change your research, looking through WorldCat might make it possible. If your home institution does not have it, it is possible to get it through InterLibrary Loan.

Search WorldCat 

Biblioteka Narodowa

The Polish National Library or Biblioteka Narodowa is a source not to be missed. Considering BN is the keeper of Poland's intellectual history, in accordance with the depository laws established in Poland years ago, there is no doubt there is a lot of material on the subject here discussed. The online catalog uses a very simple interface, but there is the option to do a more advanced search, which helps narrow things down. BN not only maintains books, but also documents, music scores, and anything else that has been published. 

Using the subject heading ZSRR-polityka Polska-1939-1945 more than 300 results come up. Narrowing down the results to only include print materials held by BN, the scholar is left with 152. There are some really good materials doing the search this way. By nature of the subject terms, the resources that are included in the results are more relevant to political history, but should not be disregarded when taking a social history approach.

Eliza Dzwonkiewicz, ed. Aresztowani na "Zachodniej Bialorusi": alfabetyczny wykaz 4669 Polakow i obywateli polskich innych narodowosci aresztowanych na "Zachodniej Bialorusi" w latach 1939-1941 (Warszawa: Osrodek KARTA, 2003). This is a compilation of information about all the Polish citizens and others who were arrested in Western Belarus 1939-1941; before the War this was part of Poland's territory.

Waldemar F. Wilczewski, ed. Deportacje obywateli polskich do ZSRR w latach 1940-1941 (Bialystok:Instytut Pamieci Narodowej-Komisja Scigania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, 2010). This is an interesting find, because it was very recently published and it was published by a hotly contested organization that has some biases. Looking at something like this can show the scholar how history is interpreted by nations, and if its affects judgement about events. 

Wiktor Krzysztof Cygan. Kresy w ogniu: wojna polsko-sowiecka 1939 (Warsawa: Warszawska Oficyna Wydawnicza "Gryf", 1990). As mentioned previously, the area of Poland that was taken over by Stalin during WWII are commonly referred to as kresy. This book describes the war in this region specifically, and how it was affected by the war.

Other subject headings to consider:

Polacy za granica-ZSRR-1939-1945 (more than 400 results!)

Agresja 1939 r. ZSRR na Polskę

Kresy wschodnie Rzeczypospolitej--1939-1945r.

Polacy za granica-ZSRR-1939-1945r.

Note: Most of the older materials that are held by BN are not included in the online catalog. Only the most recent publications on the topic are available. In order to see what older materials and resources the library holds, you have to look at the card catalog there.

Biblioteka Jagiellonska

During World War II, Krakow and the Jagiellonian Library were saved from destruction, unlike Warsaw. As a result, the library became a depository for books and materials published during the time. In terms of materials pertinent to this topic, BN is the better choice, but the Jagiellonian Library should not be overlooked.


Searching with the subject heading: Wojna swiatowa (1939-1945)- deportacje z Polski results in 92 sources.

Jerzy Bobrowicz. "Na biale niedzwiedzie": pamietnik Sybirakai (Szczecin: Albatros, 1994). Another memoir about forced exile, specifically in Siberia.

Daniel Bockowski. Jak piskleta z gniazd: dzieci polskie w ZSRR w okresie II wojny swiatowej (Warszawa: Polskie Towarzystwo Ludoznawcze, 1995). One of the most telling titles, this is about Polish children in the Soviet Union during the War. It describes the children as chicks out of their nests.

Boleslaw Grzes. Deportacja nauczycieli do ZSRR 1939-1941 (Warszawa: Glos Nauczycielski, 1995). This is a good source for studying the social effects of deportation of Polish society. It discusses the deportation of teachers.

Subject Guide

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