Getting Your Polish Relatives Records From Archiwum IPN
About Archiwum IPN
Archiwum IPN (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej) is the Polish name for "The Institute Of National Remembrance". It is a commission for the prosecution of crimes against the Polish nation and was founded in 1998.
What Records Do They Hold?
Their prime task is to collect, catalogue and manage Nazi and Communist paperwork that covers crimes against Polish citizens from 1917 to 1990. This includes the records of Polish persons who were deported to the USSR (many of whom, following the evacuation to the Middle East from USSR, later went to the UK, New Zealand, Africa and many other places).
So there is a MASSIVE chance they will be able to access a lot of information on your Polish relative.
How To Contact Archiwum IPN
From personal experience I can say that you will not have any success using the following email address that is listed on their website: firstname.lastname@example.org .
I tried (with success!) a second time on this email address archiwumIPN@ipn.gov.pl and recommend you use this one.
The Application Process
I have not been able to identify a particular format to send the emails to them in. Adapting the format used for RAF Northalt would be a good start. To this I personally added a copy of the text from the Memorial website of my grandfathers arrest charge. Certainly, give all possible details in a concise manner!
How Long Will It Take?
I sent my email request in on 1 March 2019 and on the 25th March 2019 (24 days later) I was emailed (without any email cover) a PDF letter containing the details I had requested. I was lucky my anti-spam filter didn't kick in and delete the "blank" email!
What Will I Receive?
If the letter I received is any guide, here is what you might receive:
- Confirmation of NKVD arrest (date, reference card number, case number etc)
- Reason for arrest
- Place where the arrest documents are archived (exciting possibilities?!?)
- Refernce to KARTA and Index (Indeks) of The Repressed
- Reference to listing on MEMORIAL
- Details of the Gulag they were in (Truly useful info!)
- Details of another office n Russia where you can apply for more records
Your letter may well be different but there is certainly a wealth of info to be gotten from IPN. For me, discovering the name of the Gulag where my grandfather went was a major find!