Most documents are now being made accessible pursuant to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation which was adopted on 18 December 1998. Since 2007, its liberal amendment is in effect, which transferred the responsibility for the publication of information from the archive to the researchers. This has made it possible to make the vast majority of documents accessible to researchers without anonymisation of personal information. The law distinguishes among several types of requests for access to documents – official, journalist and scientific. The concrete procedure for requesting access to records is available on the website of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). The Polish institute gradually converts the documents which it is in charge of into digital form. Currently, it has the best digitisation results among all similar institutions in the countries of the former Soviet bloc.
Institution in charge of the archival records
The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN) was established based on the eponymous Act of 18 December 1998. It began its work only in the year 2000 when its first President was elected after long political negotiations. Part of the Institute is the Office for Preservation and Dissemination of Archival Records which is in charge of the records of the security forces documenting Nazi and Communist crimes and further cases of politically motivated repressions from the period September 1939 – July 1990. The archival holdings amount to 90,285.94 running metres. Approximately two-thirds of the archival documents are deposited in the regional branches. Based on an amendment of the Act, the IPN has published electronic inventories and further archival aids for the individual funds and collections on its website. Basic information is also available in the electronic version of the book which depicts the state of the collections at the end of 2008. Based on an amendment to the vetting (lustration) law, the IPN also publishes information on persons who held office in the Communist party and the security apparatus within the given time period. The electronic catalogues also contain information on persons against whom the Communist security apparatus organised actions (provided the persons in question give their consent to publication).
Institute of National Remembrance
ul. Wołoska 7
tel.: 22 581 89 04
fax: 22 581 86 37
The contacts of the regional branches of the IPN are available on the website of the IPN.