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1.  Poland. Ambasada (Soviet Union), 1941-1944



Reports, correspondence, accounts, lists, testimonies, questionnaires, certificates, petitions, card files, maps, circulars, graphs, protocols, and clippings, relating to World War II, the Soviet occupation of Poland, the Polish-Soviet military and diplomatic agreements of 1941, the re-establishment of the Polish embassy in Moscow, Polish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, deportations of Polish citizens to the Soviet Union, labor camps and settlements, relief work by the Polish social welfare department delegations among the deportees, the Polish armed forces formed in the Soviet Union, evacuation of Polish citizens to the Middle East, the Katyn massacre of Polish officers, and the breakdown of Polish-Soviet relations in 1943. Includes material on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet government, 1928-1929.



Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations were severed with the Soviet occupation of Eastern Poland on September 17, 1939. After the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, however, the Soviet government re-established diplomatic relations with the Polish government, then in exile in London. An agreement was signed on July 30, 1941, followed by a military accord on August 14. The Poles were allowed to re-establish an Embassy in Moscow, to form an army on Soviet territory for the common struggle against Germany, and to set up a network of Polish citizens deported to the USSR in 1939-1941.

Friction soon developed in several areas, leading to an eventual break in diplomatic relations. Of particular concern to the Polish government were the Polish deportees, many of whom were forced to accept Soviet rather than Polish citizenship. The activities of the Polish social welfare workers awoke the suspicions of the Soviet authorities, who conducted a series of arrests in June and July of 1942. Finally, the question of the fate of between 8,300 and 8,400 Polish officers who had been taken prisoner by the Soviet forces in 1939 and who were supposed to be released from the prison camps at Kozel'sk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov became a source of Polish-Soviet discord. The discovery by the Germans of mass graves of between 4,443 and 4,800 Polish officers at Katyn on April 13, 1943, seemed to confirm Polish suspicions. The Soviet authorities responded by accusing the Polish government of collaboration with the Germans. On April 25, 1943, the Soviet government broke diplomatic relations with the Polish government, and the mission of the Polish Embassy was officially terminated.

The Polish ambassador in Moscow from 1941 to July 5, 1942 was Stanislaw Kot. After the general evacuation, when the Embassy was moved to Kuibyshev, the post was assumed by Tadeusz Romer. He remained there until July 25, 1943, although his official status had been revoked in April of that year. The Romer papers are located at the Public Archives of Canada, and a microfilm copy has been deposited at the Hoover Institution.

A major part of the activity of the Polish Embassy was the organization of a network of social welfare "delegations" administered by "hommes de confiance" appointed by the Social Welfare Department. The Embassy repre-sentatives were responsible for the physical well-being and in some cases the religious and educational care of the more than one million Polish citizens deported by the Soviet authorities to labor camps and settlements in 1939-1941. A mass southward evacuation of these deportees was effected in 1943, and many made their way to Britain via Iran. A large number were interviewed in Tehran in 1943 regarding their experiences in the USSR. The interviews themselves are a part of the General Wladyslaw Anders Collection at the Hoover Institution.


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