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Archival Appeal for Memoirs of Displaced Persons
PAHA appeals to the members of the exile generation, their families, and their organizations to deposit their existing records in Polonia archival and research institutions.

LET’S PRESERVE THE MEMORY

With the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939, the Polish nation faced an overwhelming experience of displacement and dislocation. As a consequence of war, close to six million Poles found themselves outside Poland’s borders; at the end of the war, nearly 500,000 of Poles remained in exile, scattered in many countries on all continents. About 140,000 Polish immigrants: political exiles, civilian refugees, displaced persons, former soldiers, slave laborers, and prisoners of concentration camps, had settled permanently in the United States.


Now that this war generation is passing, it becomes ever more urgent to tell their story, to preserve the record of their experience and make it available to the next generations. The Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) is a professional organization national in scope and in existence since 1943. Its goal is scholarly research and promotion of the study of the history and culture of Polish Americans. PAHA is concerned by the disappearance and dispersal of documentation on the history of the World War II and postwar wave of Polish immigration to the United States. Recognizing the contribution of postwar Polish Diaspora to Polish-American history, PAHA appeals to the members of the exile generation, their families, and their organizations to deposit their existing records in Polonia archival and research institutions.


The materials of special interest include, but are not limited to: personal documents, letters, photographs and film reels, diaries, testimonies; newspapers and books published during the exile; records of organizations, appropriate artifacts, and artwork. PAHA is particularly interested in preservation of personal memoirs, autobiographies, novel and short stories (unpublished as well as self-published), which describe the wartime and postwar immigrant experience in the United States. Further information on the addresses and locations of archives interested in these materials can be found on PAHA web page at www.polishamericanstudies.org. Information on the Polish American Memoirs Project is also on the web page under “Projects.” Donations of historical materials may be tax deductible.


The Polish-American scholarly community is committed to the goal of preservation and continual study of Polish-American history. In cooperation with the Immigration Research Center at the University of Minnesota and Connecticut Polish American Archives at Central Connecticut State University, PAHA plans on establishing a special collection of memoirs and other first-hand accounts, which are an important and rich historical source for scholarly research. Those interested in depositing their memoirs for this purpose may contact:

Immigration History Research Center
University of Minnesota
311 Anderson Library
222-21st Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0439
phone: 612-625-4800
web site: www.umn.edu/ihrc


Ms. Ewa Wolynska
Special Collections Librarian and Archivist
Connecticut Polish American Archives
Central Connecticut State University
Elihu Burrit Library
1615 Stanley St.
New Britain, CT 06050
phone: 860-832-2085;
web site: wilson.ccsu.edu/lib/archives/polish


Let’s make sure that the postwar Diaspora’s immigrant experience is represented in the scholarly research.
LET’S PRESERVE THE MEMORY.