The Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was established within the framework of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Uzbekistan in 1924. After several years as an autonomous region within the Uzbek SSR, the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was created as part of the Soviet Union in 1929. During the war, Tajikistan served as one of the USSR’s evacuation hubs. On 9 September 1991, Tajikistan declared independence.
On the eve of the German invasion, the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic had an estimated population of one million people. Approximately five thousand of them were Jews, most of whom were Bukharan Jews who were part of the indigenous populations of Central Asia They lived mainly in capital city Dushanbe and in Khujand. Ashkenazi Jews arrived and settled in the region only following Russian colonization in the late 19th century. During the war, around ten to twenty thousand Jews arrived in Tajikistan as evacuees, refugees or exiles. Most of those left when the war ended, but a considerable number chose to stay.
The Agency of Archives of the Republic of Tajikistan is responsible for the country’s archives. In order to obtain access to archives in Tajikistan, foreign nationals should submit a written application on site. It is advised to have someone from the local Academy of Science write a recommendation letter to the archive. It is also strongly advised to contact the archive in advance. Written permission is given by the director of the archive and is valid for one calendar year. There are no archival guides available online and only a few printed catalogue available on site, which are limited in scope and fragmented.
EHRI has identified several archival institutions in Tajikistan which hold Holocaust-relevant material. Two of them are located in the republic’s capital Dushanbe. The archives in Tajikistan that are most relevant to Holocaust research include the Central Archive of the Republic of Tajikistan in Dushanbe. Among its collections is a fond on the evacuation authority and personal registration evacuation cards and various files dealing with the Polish government-in-exile. Similar files of a more local provenance are conserved in the regional archives, mainly in Khojand and Payshanbe. Outside of Tajikistan, EHRI has identified and partially described archival institutions and/or collections relevant for research on Tajikistan.
A. EHRI approach to Tajikistan: Pre-existing research and available archival guides
For a general overview of the Central Archive in Tajikistan, which is available in Tajik only, see:
B. Characteristics of the Tajik archival system and specific challenges
Most of the central and regional Tajik archives were founded during the pre-war Soviet period. Thus the majority of them are based on the Soviet system of cataloging and the bulk of the inventory files are written in Russian, while more recent files are in Tajik. There are also other archival institutions established or reformed after Tajikistan’s independence. The former Archive of the Communist Party of Tajikistan was renamed as the Presidential archive and access to it is very limited. As a result of regime changes and administrative reforms, some archival institutions in Tajikistan have been renamed, which may cause some initial confusion among researchers.
C. EHRI identification and description results on Tajikistan
C.I. In Tajikistan
In Tajikistan, EHRI identified several archival institutions which hold or may hold Holocaust-relevant material. Two of the most important of them are concentrated in Dushanbe. The Central State Archive alone stores about 4,000 fonds, and the regional archives of Khujand, Penjekent, and Kulab hold a similarly impressive number of collections. Given the scale of mass evacuation and escape to Tajikistan during the Second World War, many Holocaust-relevant collections are either known to be stored or can be expected to be found in the country’s archives.
C.II. In other countries
Outside of Tajikistan, EHRI has identified and partially described archival institutions and/or collections that may prove relevant to Holocaust research on Tajikistan. For instance, the State Archives of the Russian Federation or the Russian State Archives of the Socio-Political History, former Central Communist Party Archive in Moscow hold records and circulars sent to various Socialist Republics and have a big fonds on evacuation. In Israel, Yad Vashem holds a handful of records from archives in Tajikistan from 1930 to 1960 and as does the Archives of the History of the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum stores (and is planning to develop further in the near future ) selected records from the Central State Archive of Tajikistan.