The Jewish Historical Research Institute was established in 1947 by the Central Committee of Polish Jews as a successor of the Central Jewish Historical Commission. The main goal was, and still is, to collect and preserve all evidence of Jewish life in Poland as well as documents of Nazi crimes during World War II. The Institute's archival collection is divided into three parts:
Sixty percent of the holdings concern the Holocaust. As the Polish Jews perished anonymously in their majority, one of the most important tasks is to collect personal data about the victims. As one of the most important repositories of the Holocaust, the Institute's archives have provided the basis for a large number of fundamental scholarly works. Priority research themes are:
Of particular interest are the Warsaw Ghetto Archives, also called 'Emanuel Ringelblum Archives' (after the young historian who oversaw the collecting project). Ringelblum, as nearly all the creators of the archives, perished in the Holocaust. These archives consist of 1680 archival units (approx. 27,000 pages) retrieved from the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto. UNESCO has recognised the unique and universal status of the collection by including it in the Memory of the World Register. The collecting scope was spread deliberately wide and covers the whole of occupied Poland. The archives comprise government documents, materials concerning the ghetto resistance, the fate of Jewish communities, literature, private correspondence and works of art. The Holocaust Museum in Washington is assisting in the conservation and microfilming of these archives, copies of which will be available in Warsaw and Washington.
Other occupation records concern the Jewish Self Help Organisation which acted on behalf of the poorest population in 400 Jewish communities (1939-1942); the confiscation of property by the SIPO-SD in France; and the so-called 'Lvov Portfolio' (1941-1942), which includes a report by Professor Maurycy Allerhand on the confiscation of his apartment containing art works and a scientific library.
Post-war documents include diaries and survivor testimonies collected from 1945 to 1948, and the twenty-one sets of documents relating to the departments of the Central Committee of Polish Jews (CKZP), established in 1944. The latter collection includes the archives of the Department for Propagation of Fine Arts (1947-1950) and 236,000 registration cards with data on survivors and their families assembled by the Department of Evidence and Statistics.
More recently the Institute launched a genealogical initiative in conjunction with the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project. This comprises several individual documentation projects:
Kraków Marriage and Banns Registers, 1877 - 1939
Wyszków Banns, 1890 - 1910
Zniesienie (4 km Northeast of Lwów) Death Records, 1914
Dzialoszyce Birth, Death, and Marriage and Marriage Supplements, 1829/1846
Wroclaw Matzevah/Gravestone files, ca. 1900 - 1939
Kaskada (district of Warsaw) Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1915
Biala Podlaska, Jewish Census, 1939
Warsaw Cemetery Records and Photographs
Polish Aliyah Passports
Warsaw Ghetto Death Cards
Zareby Koscielne Jewish Vital Records
Kutno Jewish Community Death Records, 1830 - 1840
Dr. Eleonora Bergman (Director)
Jewish Historical Research Institute
ul. Tlomackie 3/5
Tel: +48 (0)22 827 92-21
Fax: +48 (0)22 827 8372
Jewish Historical Institute (in Polish)
<http://www.jewishinstitute.org.pl/>, first accessed 3 March 2003. Link updated 20 July 2007.
Mémorial de la Shoah - Guide Européen des Sources d'archives sur la Shoah - Poland
<http://www.memorialdelashoah.org/b_content/getContentFromAuxNavAction.do?navId=70>, first accessed 3 March 2003. Link updated 20 July 2007.
Jewish Records Indexing Project - Poland
<http://www.jewishgen.org/jri-pl/jri-jhi.htm>, first accessed 3 March 2003. Link updated 20 July 2007.
Unesco - Memory of the World Register, Warsaw Ghetto Archives (Emanuel Ringelblum Archives)
<http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/files/5610/10352106930ringelblum_en.pdf/ringelblum_en.pdf>, first accessed 3 March 2003. Link updated 20 July 2007.