Central Archives of Modern Records presents its extant files collection

A presentation of the files that were not stolen by Germans and survived WWII took place at the headquarters of the Central Archives of Modern Records in Warsaw on Friday.

Currently, the collection of the Central Archives of Modern Records includes about 45 kilometres of documents, which, for years, have been transferred to the facility by private individuals and institutions from Poland and abroad.

The director of the institution, Tadeusz Krawczak, stressed that, despite numerous efforts taken by the archives’ authorities, the German archives did not want to return documents stolen during WWII and requests regarding the matter by the Polish archives remained unanswered.

“After capturing Warsaw in 1939, the Germans were looking for particular documents and items. They stole, for instance, the archives of the Patent Office. Several affirmations on paper, in which they confirm the “borrowing” of items such as Teutonic parchments, survived the war. Until now these things have not been given back to us,” Mr Krawczak said.

On November 3, 1944, after the fall of the Warsaw Rising, the Germans set fire to the collection of the Central Archives of Modern Records. Only a small percent of about 37 kilometres of the then existing files transported to the Jasna Góra Monastery before the outbreak of the Rising, were eventually saved.

Among them are documents that deserve special attention: The Provisional Council of State and the files of the Regency Council related to the formation of the Polish State in the interwar period. Additional important parts of the collection are the documents of the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Enlightenment.

Since 1992, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has been gathering information about the cultural goods lost by Poland after 1945 and has been making efforts to retrieve them.