Hoover Institution on War, Revolution And Peace

History

The private university of Stanford in California is one of the largest and best known institutions of higher education in the USA, with an annual student roll of over 14,000. One of those students was Herbert Hoover, later president of the United States of America in the years 1929-1932. As a recent alumnus of Stanford (in 1919) he founded the think-tank devoted to matters of war and peace that was to lay the foundations of the present-day Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, one of the world’s leading academic research institutions with archival and library collections in this field. An overview of the institution’s collections is given in the now rather outdated guide by Charles G. Palm and Dale Reed , which is nevertheless to date the only publication of its kind; the Polish collections have been profiled by Władysław Stępniak , and his publication is the basis for the information in this very brief overview. Today, much of this information is also published on the Hoover Institution website, including inventories of the collections where such have been compiled – all the basic information is accessible and up to date online. Most of the Poland-related materials are gathered in the “East Europe” section; the collection “Judaica” – part 3: The Holocaust is also important for our subject area. Detailed inventories of three other large collections have also been published, compiled by Mirosław Filipiak and Z.L. Stańczyk . The core of the Polish collections is composed of the three largest deposits, now the property of the Hoover Institution Archives (HIA): those of Jan Ciechanowski (Polish ambassador in Washington, D.C.), Gen. Władysław Anders, and Minister Aleksander Zawisza, who decided to take this step following the withdrawal of recognition of the Polish Government-in-Exile by the USA and Great Britain in 1945; they were seeking a safe place in which to store these valuable archival materials, on matters including relations with the USSR. The private status of the Hoover Institution’s collections and its geographic location were the primary arguments in favour of their decision. The publication of the extremely detailed archive searches by Stępniak and Filipiak facilitates the identification of the most important materials relating to the Jews and their vicissitudes during World War II. The key record groups have been microfilmed (in all, around a million frames) and were passed on to the AAN. Scans of the microfilms (unfortunately of mediocre quality) are now accessible on the website of the State Archives in Poland (http://szukajwarchiwach.pl). The archival materials in the HIA do not constitute the complete body of files of a given institution; they are merely part of it, though in some cases the most important part. More extensive research work is still to be done on the archival resources of the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London and the AAN.

Archival and Other Holdings

According to A. Skibińska, Guide to the Sources on the Holocaust in Occupied Poland, archival holdings contain the following documents concerning Jews: PRELIMINARY INVENTORY OF RADA NARODOWA (National Council of Poland). RECORDS, 1940-1945: Minutes of meetings of Komisja Specjalna do Zbadania Sposobu Traktowania Żydów w Wojsku Polskim (Special Commission for Investigation of the Treatment of Jews in the Polish Army, Box 8). MINISTERSTWO SPRAW WEWNĘTRZNYCH (Ministry of Internal Affairs of Poland) ISSUANCES: Materials from the Social Department: situational reports regarding the German occupation 1940-1942 and political and nationality issues 1941-1943 (Box 1), report by the Government Delegate for QI 1942 (Box 3). MINISTERSTWO INFORMACJI I DOKUMENTACJI (Ministry of Information and Documentation of Poland) RECORDS, 1939-1945 : Reports on persecution of Jews by the German occupiers of Poland. Komitet Organizacyjny dla spraw Reprezentacji Żydostwa Polskiego (Organizational Committee for Affairs of the Representation of Polish Jewry, Box 72), national minorities: Belarusians, Lithuanians, Jews – reports, testimonies and studies, including items from Oddział II Sztabu Głównego (Section II of the Headquarters, Box 88), depositions of Polish citizens of Jewish origin, the “Protokoły palestyńskie” (Palestinian protocols), no. 27-251 , lists of Jewish activists in the USSR, the memoirs of Rabbi J. Landau of Leżajsk: Moja trzyipółletnia wędrówka z Leżajska do Palestyny (My three-and-a-half-year odyssey from Leżajsk to Palestine), the case of H. Ehrlich and W. Alter (Box 197), memoirs and diaries of deportees (Boxes 198-201), materials from the Consulate-General of the Republic of Poland in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (Box 202), and a collection of materials relating to Polish-Jewish relations (Boxes 213-214). POLSKIE RZĄDOWE CENTRUM INFORMACYJNE W NOWYM JORKU (Polish Government Information Center in New York): Jewish press, including the Jewish Journal from 1942-1944 (Boxes 2-4), American press, including Jewish press 1942-1945 (Boxes 11-35), press cuttings from Jewish dailies (Boxes 62, 70). MINISTERSTWO PRAC KONGRESOWYCH (Ministry of Preparatory Work Concerning the Peace Conference): compiled by J. Wagner, Sprawa żydowska w Polsce na tle międzynarodowym, London 1943, 57 pp. (Box 14). MINISTERSTWO SPRAW ZAGRANICZNYCH (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland) RECORDS,1919-1947 : materials on Polish national minorities abroad. There is a considerable quantity of materials connected with desertion of Jews from the Polish army, antisemitism in army ranks, and work to save Jews in Poland (Boxes 610-617). AMBASADA (Embassy of Poland). GREAT BRITAIN RECORDS, 1918-1945 : documents and materials relating to Jews who were Polish citizens and Jewish organizations, in particular issues relating to emigration, the press, and the Holocaust in the Polish lands (Box 58, folders 2-8 and Box 62, folders 1-2), Polish Jews and Jewish organizations in Great Britain 1934 (Box 96, folder 10), Polish Jews in Great Britain and Palestine 1935-1941 (Box 97). AMBASADA (Embassy of Poland) SOVIET UNION RECORDS, 1941-1944: diplomatic correspondence regarding minority issues (Box 15), Affairs of Polish Jewish citizens in the USSR (Boxes 16 and 20). AMBASADA (Embassy of Poland) UNITED STATES RECORDS (1918-1956) : a collection of materials on Polish Jews in other countries, diplomatic reports on anti-Semitism, press and bulletins from 1937 (Box 63), materials of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People in Europe (Box 64), materials regarding emigration of Jews, their situation in Germany before the war, information from the press, the American Jewish Congress (Box 65), the situation of the Jews in Poland 1920-1945 and protection of Polish Jewish fugitives (Box 66), the situation of the Jews in the United States of America 1934-1942 (Box 67). PORTUGAL. LISBON. LEGATION: materials from the World Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations regarding the fates of Jews in territories occupied by Germany and of Polish citizens in the USSR (Box 8). UNITED STATES. NEW YORK. CONSULATE GENERAL: Organization of aid for Polish citizens of Jewish descent, correspondence with the MSZ, 1943 (Box 4). Polish Armed Forces (PSZ) in the USSR, the Near and Middle East: Jews in the PSZ October 1941 – March 1942 (Box 8), THE WŁADYSŁAW ANDERS PAPERS : questionnaires and accounts of deported Poles. The collection is divided into “Statements, Depositions” (Boxes 35-45 and 65-68) and “Reports” (46-64); they are easily navigated with the aid of a name card file for all those interviewed (Boxes 1-35). One of the questionnaires, compiled by M. Buchwajca, Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Question (Box 68), concerned the fate of the Polish Jews in the USSR (it contains 33 detailed questions); others are: Struktura polityczna społeczeństwa żydowskiego Palestyny, Dzieje posła żydowskiego miasta Lwowa, Emila Sommersteina (Box 69), T. Lipkowska, Współpraca polsko-żydowska na terenie Palestyny, Zagadnienie dezercji żołnierzy Żydów z Armii Polskiej, Rola Żydów niemieckich w Palestynie i ich stosunek do Polski (Box 70), J. Ben-Arje, Rosja a kwestia żydowska, M. Buchwajc, Żydzi polscy pod władzą sowiecką (Box 72), and a study on issues including Jewish settlement in Palestine and the political life of the Jews. THE MICHAŁ GLAZER PAPERS: a collection of materials on the situation of the Jews in Europe and their work towards creating a state of their own, 1937-1939 (1 box). THE JAN KARSKI PAPERS: in part original documents, some copies, press materials concerning Karski’s mission during the war, manuscripts of his own works and Polish studies and publications from the period of the war, the report (75 pages including a key to cryptonyms) that Karski submitted in London in 1942, and a letter of recommendation for deputy prime minister Mikołajczyk (in all 8 boxes; the report is in Box 1).

Opening Times

The Institute's archival holdings are available in the workroom open Monday - Friday 8.30 – 16.30

Sources

  • ClaimsCon'06/YV/Alina Skibińska, Guide to the Sources on the Holocaust in Occupied Poland/online search