Archiwum Państwowe w Warszawie

  • The State Archive in Warsaw
  • APW
  • Archiwum państwowe miasta stołecznego Warszawy [dawna nazwa]
  • APmstW [dawna nazwa]
  • The State Archive of the Capital City of Warsaw [former name]


The history of the Warsaw Archives is closely tied to the history of the city of Warsaw and its municipal administration. The latest research shows that Warsaw was probably founded near the estate of the Prince of Masovia in Jazdów between the 13th and 14th century.

The turning-point in the history of the city of Warsaw and the city Archives was included in the Polish Constitution of May 3rd, 1791. It was the law of crown towns and cities in the Polish Kingdom. The General City Archives of Warsaw were established in April 1792. The new institution was to preserve all municipal administration records.

In 1810 the Prince of Warsaw issued an edict which moved the oldest municipal records (c.a. 1800 vol.) to the Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw. In 1817 the remaining records were moved to the new City Hall building in the old Jabłonowski Family Palace located at today's Theater Square, close to the Old Town. The old, medieval building of the City Hall was demolished. In October 1863, in the time of the partition of Poland, during the so-called January Upraising, Polish military troops burned the City Hall in order to destroy the records which could be dangerous when in hands of the Russian Tsar Administration suppressing the citizens of Warsaw. The building of the City Hall and a large part of the Archives was burned. Fortunately the oldest records were partly rescued by archivists who threw them out through the windows on the backyard. When the City Hall was reconstructed in 1864-1869, the Archives were moved to the Namiestnikowski Palace (now the Polish Presidential Palace in Warsaw). In the reconstructed City Hall a special archival repository with 330 square meters of space was assigned. In 1893 the Archive preserved ca. 40 thousand volumes of records.

Just before Poland regained independence new regulations for Warsaw municipal administration have been approved. In 1917 on the basis of these regulations the Main Archive of the Warsaw Municipal Administration was established. The most damage to the holdings was done during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The records survived heavy fights, the majority of the holdings was saved, however just after the fighting was over the Nazi troops methodically burnt down all archival records kept in the Arsenal.

In the April 1945, after Warsaw was liberated, the Warsaw City Archives were brought back to life by the President of Warsaw. In the beginning the Archives occupied a few rooms at 8th Marszałkowska Street. In 1955 the Archives received three reconstructed townhouses (7th and 9th Krzywe Koło Street and 12th Nowomiejska Street). For almost half a century now these buildings have been the main seat of the Archives. In June 1951 the Warsaw City Archives were incorporated in the structure of the state archives and received a new name - Voivodship State Archive. The scope of activity of the Archive changed, too, as it was now to cover the whole Warsaw Voivodship (Masovia region).

For more information, see

Archival and Other Holdings

The archival holdings of the State Archives in Warsaw (without the Divisions) contain 2901 archival fonds and collections, 1,162,926 volumes of records, 10,013.32 linear meters (data from the end of 2005).

The State Archives in Poland preserve valuable records of a permanent historical and research value. These records include e.g. cartographic collections, records of governmental, regional and local administration, organizations and public institutions, financial institutions and cooperatives. The State Archives also preserve registers from various churches, public registers, records of schools, educational institutions, courts, notary and private property records, private papers and private collections. Public register records which are kept in the State Archives are over 100 years old.

After the destruction of the Warsaw City Archives and their holdings in 1944, Warsaw local administration takes steps to reactivate and reconstruct this institution. Archival staff started to search for holdings which survived World War II. It was impossible to recreate the municipal administration records from 19th and 20th century (the oldest municipal administration records coming from up to the end of 19th century were preserved in the Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw). However, the missing records were replaced by new ones, some of them received as gifts.

Because of the loss of the most precious materials nowadays the most valuable records in the holdings of the State Archives of Warsaw are records of Russian Governor Administration in Warsaw, Warsaw Imperial University, Technical University of Warsaw, Russian Police in Warsaw and Russian Security Internal Police "Ochrana" in Warsaw. The most valuable historical materials for research of a social history of citizens of Warsaw include private property and notary records. Among them you can find last wills of famous people in the history of Poland, like for example Hugon Kołłątaj and Prince Józef Poniatowski. Over 2500 volumes of public register records containing information related to citizens of Warsaw and Masovia region are an excellent starting point for genealogical research. Also very valuable is the collection of Warsaw maps and plans from 1762 to present times, with very interesting plans of Warsaw by Lindley.

After World War II records of Commissary Mayor of Warsaw (1939-1944) were excavated from the ruins of the New City Hall. Amongst the most precious are also records of the capital City Reconstruction Office, which document the reconstruction of Warsaw after the World War II.

The Divisions of the State Archives in Warsaw preserve very valuable archival materials for regional and local history research.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

online finding aids and databases, see:

Opening Times

Monday - Wednesday 9.00 AM - 4.00 PM, Thursday - Friday 10.00 AM - 6.30 PM

Conditions of Access

The holdings of the State Archives in Warsaw can be accessed in the reading room (rules and regulations) all weekdays (except Saturday and Sunday). The access to the holdings is regulated by Instruction No. 4 of the Head Office of State Archives in Poland (NDAP) dated May 18, 2000 and regarding the organization of access to archival records in state archives. Records may be used by private persons, companies or by their authorized representatives. Users have free access to finding aids and may also order copies (Xerox, microfilm or in digital form). Personal access to holdings in the reading room is possible after filling in the "User's Questionnaire".

The State Archives provide searching services for legal or administration purposes, issuing authenticated copies of records, extracts, excerpts and certificates based on documents from the Archive. The services are provided at the justified request of customers or when the law requires so. The State Archives provide searching services for genealogical purposes as well as searches for property documents held in the Archive. Genealogical and property record searches are paid according to the list of prices. Prices of research services and copies are enumerated in the pricelist. The filled in questionnaires for research should be sent to the Archives or their proper Divisions. Questionnaires for research information for compensation and retirement purposes are free of charge.

To consult and download forms which will help you apply for services, please visit


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