Creator’s ref. no.:
IP (Institute’s) ref. no.:
Fonds title: United Nations War Crimes Commission
Fonds title in Polish: Komisja ds. Zbrodni Wojennych Narodów Zjednoczonych
Inclusive dates: 1946–1948
Document language(s): English, French
Number of files:
Archive location: Wiener Library, Russell Square, London
Information on the fonds:
The United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) operated between 1943 and 1948 to identify, classify and assist national governments in prosecuting war criminals from Europe and East Asia. Working in parallel with the Nuremberg Tribunal and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, it assisted in an unprecedented number of over 30,000 cases, despite resistance from Allied politicians who, for various reasons, preferred to forget the crimes committed by the Axis powers.
In the course of its work, the Commission collected well-documented, internationally verified cases not only against generals and heads of state, but also against individual soldiers and troops, and also for lower-level crimes. The UNWCC set new standards by prosecuting suspects of a wide range of crimes, including sexual violence, torture (including waterboarding), large-scale massacres, which are now classified as genocide and crimes against humanity.
The material is kept in microfilm rolls
Rolls 1–26 (our ref. no. IP/Arch/1/1/1 – IP/Arch/1/1/26) contain documents on:
- Belgium, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Great Britain, Yugoslavia, the USA versus Germany;
- Ethiopia, France, Greece, Great Britain, Yugoslavia versus Italy;
- Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia versus Hungary;
- Greece, Yugoslavia versus Albania;
- Greece, Yugoslavia versus Bulgaria;
- Great Britain versus Romania;
- Australia, France, Great Britain, the USA versus Japan.
Rolls 27–29 (IP/Arch/1/1/27 – IP/Arch/1/1/29):
- lists of suspected war criminals
Rolls 30–31 (IP/Arch/1/1/30 – IP/Arch/1/1/31):
- retracted accusations
Roll 32 (IP/Arch/1/1/32):
- Index – a list of accused war criminals and the UNWCC’s declaration of their status
UNWCC operational documents:
- Rolls 33–41 (IP/Arch/1/1/33 – IP/Arch/1/1/41) contain, among others, notes from meetings, legal opinions, Nazi documentation (e.g. German police handbook), courtroom instructions, publications on war crimes, report on Dachau, correspondence with delegations in states with which the UNWCC was concerned.
- Rolls 37–40 (IP/Arch/1/1/37 – IP/Arch/1/1/40) contain, among others, lists of concentration camp staff in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenburg Mauthausen, Mauthausen-Gusen, Natzweiler, Oranienberg-Sachsenhausen, Ravensbrück, Papenburg-Esterwegen, Gross-Rosen, Neungamme, Stutthof, an alphabetical list of war criminals.
- Rolls 41–48 (IP/Arch/1/1/41 – IP/Arch/1/1/48): documents from CROWCASS (Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects).
- Rolls 48–50 (IP/Arch/1/1/48 – IP/Arch/1/1/50): documents on South-East Asia, mainly Japanese war criminals and their trials.
- Rolls 50–115 (IP/Arch/1/1/50 – IP/Arch/1/1/115): reports from the trials of war criminals.
- Rolls 116–120 (IP/Arch/1/1/116 – IP/Arch/1/1/120): transcriptions from the Yamashita trial.
- Rolls 118–170 (IP/Arch/1/1/118 – IP/Arch/1/1/170): fragments of transcription from the trials before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
- Roll 171 (IP/Arch/1/1/171): various documents.
- Rolls NDX1-NDX9 (IP/Arch/1/1/NDX01 – IP/Arch/1/1/NDX09): card index of suspected war criminals.
Ever since it was established, the Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor has been collecting and sharing documents that present the multiple historical facets of the last century. Many of them were previously split up, lost, or forgotten. Some were held in archives on other continents. To facilitate research, we have created an innovative digital archive that enables easy access to the source material. We are striving to gather as many archives as possible in one place. As a result, it takes little more than a few clicks to learn about the history of Poland and its citizens in the 20th century.
The Institute’s website contains a description of the collections available in the reading room as well as the necessary information to plan a visit. The documents themselves are only available in the Institute’s reading room, a public space where material is available free of charge to researchers and anyone interested in the topics collected there. The reading room also offers a friendly environment for quiet work.
The materials are obtained from institutions, public archives, both domestic and international social organizations, as well as from private individuals. The collections are constantly being expanded. A full-text search engine that searches both the content of the documents and their metadata allows the user to reach the desired source with ease. Another way to navigate the accumulated resources is to search according to the archival institutions from which they originate and which contain hierarchically arranged fonds and files.
Most of the archival materials are in open access on computers in the reading room. Some of our collections, e.g. from the Bundesarchiv, are subject to the restrictions on availability resulting from agreements between the Institute and the institutions which transfer them. An appropriate declaration must be signed upon arrival at the reading room in order to gain immediate access to these documents.
Before your visit, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the scope and structure of our archival, library and audio-visual resources, as well as with the regulations for visiting and using the collections.
All those wishing to access our collections are invited to the Pilecki Institute at ul. Foksal 17 in Warsaw. The reading room is open from 9–15, Monday to Friday. An appointment must be made in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (+48) 22 182 24 75.