family research information
MILITARY SERVICE RECORD
If a member of your family participated in the Polish Forces that fought with the Allies in WW2, then your first step is to obtain their full service records. The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) hold the records for most of the members of the Polish Forces that fought in the west.
The following instructions were provided by the MOD on November 7, 2023. They will only respond to requests that follow these instructions. Other older instructions, email addresses, etc., are to be considered redundant.
Link to government approved form: Get a copy of military records of service
On the online form please select the British equivalent if your relative served in the British Armed Forces under British command. Be sure to have read the guidance on "What you will get" and How to apply".
You do not have to provide a death certificate, however, without one information may be withheld unless the person died in service or was born more than 116 years ago.
Send your completed application form to:
APC POLISH ENQUIRIES
Building 1, RAF Northolt
West End Road
UK HA4 6NG
DETAILS YOU NEED TO PROVIDE:
- The name of your relative (including all variants)
- Their date of birth
- Military unit (if known)
- Proof of kinship (i.e. birth certificates leading back to the one that named your relative).
- Death certificate of your relative
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE:
Polish Enquiries are working through a significant backlog of applicatio9ns and are experiencing delays of up to 9 months in processing requests.
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE:
"Zeszyt Ewidencyjny" is a small booklet giving some details on what commanding office they were under, their health grade, thumbprint, and some details of what battles they were in, etc. The booklet is written in Polish.
"Karta Ewidencyjna" is a 2-pge document providing similar information to the above, but in more detail.
There are a lot of military abbreviations in the 2 documents. When properly decoded they will tell you where the person was, what unit they were with, and if your research these dates, places and units, it will tell you what your relative did.
Army Profile Record: A one-sided document with the person's name, date of birth, parish, town they lived in, height, weight, and a few other details. It also included a military photo of the person.
Once you have received your relative's records and had them translated, you should researrch the places mentioned, as well as the unit, the battles, etc. A great deal of information is available online, and will help you fill in the blanks in your relative's history.
If your family member served in the Polish Armed Forces prior to 1939, you should write to:
Central Military Archives
ul. Czerwonych Beretów 124
If your family member served in the Polish Army in France 1939-1940 and who subsequently did not serve under British Operational Command, you should write to:
Centre des archives du personnel militaire
Place de Verdul
64023 Pau cedex
Tél : 05 59 40 46 92
If your family member was a POW following the Polish 1939 Campaign, you should write to:
Central Museum of POWs in Łambinowice
ul. Minorytów 3
Information to include:
* Your relative's name (including any variant spellings), date of birth, military unit (if known)
* Proof of kinship i.e all birth certificates back to the one that includes your relative
HOOVER INSTITUTION ARCHIVES
Houses the Wladyslaw Anders archives and Polish wartime archives. The collection includes over 18,000 original personal accounts and questionnaires of former prisoners and deportees - invaluable documents as they were filled in right after deportation, while the details were still fresh in peoples’ minds.
Contact: Irena Czernichowska Email: email@example.com
Phone: (650) 723-3563
When requesting documents from the Hoover Institute, provide as much information as you can. Even if nothing was written by your relative, they still may have valuable information that was written by someone else; all eye-witness accounts are cross referenced.
Memorial Society in Russia
Memorial assists victims of the Soviet Gulag, conducts research into the history of political repression and publicizes the findings in books, articles, exhibitions, museums, and websites of its member organizations. The website uncludes a database of over a million victims of Soviet repression, however, the search function is only available in Russian. The . Web address is: https://www.memo.ru/en-us
To seek family records of arrested or deported Poles in the Memorial database, send a letter to:
Polish Committee of the Memorial Society
Malyi Karetnyi Pereulok 12
To obtain a certificate from th former USSR archives, you must send an original signed letter. Include as much of the following info as possible ...
Surname, name, and father's name of the arrested or deported person, the year and place of birth (for all members of the deported family, with indication of the family relationship)
Where they lived prior to arrest or deportation
Time of arrest or deportation
Kind of repression (arrest, sentence, imprisonment in penal labour camp, or deportation without any sentence)
The regions where they stayed in camps or in exile in the former USSR (especially the last plsace)
The time and place of release or death
The relationship of the person making the request to the arrested or deported person
International Tracing Service
The International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany, assists victims of Nazi persecutions and their families by documenting their fate through the archives they manage. Contact them to find information about your family members who were Prisoners of War or were slave labourers in Germany during WW2. Web: http://www.its-arolsen.org/en/
International Center on Nazi Persecution
Große Allee 5-9
34454 Bad Arolsen
Deutschland / Germany
T +49 5691 629-0
F +49 5691 629-501
Siberian Exile Cross
The Siberian Exile Cross is awarded by the Polish President to those who were forcibly taken to Siberia by the Soviets. According to the law that established this award, the person must have been alive in January 2004, at the time that the law was passed. Anyone who died before this date is not eligible.
The application must be approved by a Polish veterans' organization, or other Polish organization that is acceptable. (Check with your local Polish Consulate for a list of acceptable organizations.) Once approved, you then forward the application to your local Polish Consulate and they will send it on to Poland for processing,
Once processed in Poland, the cross and accompanying certificate is sent to your local Polish Consul who will make arrangements to present it. It can take some time to be processed, so do not expect a speedy turnaround.
Application for the Siberian Exile Cross:
Here is a translation of the application
that explains the different parts of the form:
Here is an example of a completed application:
Here is a blank application for you to fill out:
Application forms must be filled out in Polish, and must be either typed or handwritten in BLOCK letters. Cursive writing will not be accepted.
Attach as much information and proof as possible. Examples of this include:
Copy of a release document from Siberia
Copy of a document from the Hoover Institute Archives (see research info above)
Copy of a listing on the Index of the Repressed
A screen shot of the page of an archival list that includes the person's name:
Any of the military lists found in the Archival Lists section of this website