All documents in the testimony database of the Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies originating from the archives of the Institute of National Remembrance (their originals are stored in the archive of the Institute of National Remembrance) are made publicly available in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 18 December 1998 on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation.
All documents from the archives of the Hoover Institution, based in the USA – the digital copies of which have been transferred in favor of the Center by the National Digital Archives pursuant to an agreement concluded by and between the National Digital Archives, the Central Archive of Modern Records, the Hoover Institution, and the Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies – are made publicly available in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 14 July 1983 on National Archival Resources and Archives.
The testimony database of the Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies provides access to the Second World War accounts of Polish citizens, who suffered immense hardship at the hands of the German and Soviet totalitarian regimes. The repository features, among others, depositions given by witnesses to crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the occupation of Poland in the years 1939–1945. These accounts were held by the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland and its legal successors. We also publish the testimonies of Poles who left the Soviet Union together with General Anders’ Army. These were collected from 1943 on by the Documentation Office of the Polish Army in the East.
The accounts record the harrowing experiences of Polish citizens – victims of the terror of two totalitarian regimes. Many contain graphic details, and therefore should be accessed by minors only under adult supervision.
Documents available in the repository should be interpreted using the methods and tools of historical research. The contents of the depositions were affected by the circumstances in which they were made, as well as by the differing intentions of interviewers and interviewees. Sometimes, human memory proved fallible, while not all proceedings in which witnesses were heard ended in convictions.
We welcome all comments and remarks regarding the material published in the repository. It is of the utmost importance for us to obtain detailed information about witnesses and the people and events mentioned in these testimonies, for only in this way will it be possible for us to ensure their accurate, factual description. All remarks should be sent to the following address: