Oral History Archive
The Oral History Archive holds the largest collection of eyewitness accounts in Poland. It includes over 3 000 audio and videotaped interviews, all of them digitised, catalogued and available to access in the Multimedia Reading Room of the History Meeting House or online at audiohistoria.pl
The first relations were recorded in 1987, when the Eastern Archive, initiated by the then underground KARTA Centre, created a program of recording testimonies of former inhabitants of the Eastern Borderlines, Polish citizens repressed by Soviet authorities. Twenty years later the HMH joined the 'Oral History' program carried out by the KARTA Centre; The HMH not only manages the Oral History Archive and participates in recording relations but is actively promoting the use of this collection.
The holdings cover a wide range of relations about the twentieth century: the inter-war period, the second world war, Nazism, Stalinism, the People's Republic of Poland. The archive is being supplemented by relations recorded within all programs carried out by the Oral History Department of the KARTA Centre and within programs managed by the HMH. The Archive welcomes offers of suitable oral relations recorded (also on analogue sound storage media) by researchers or journalists.
Multimedia Reading Room
Free public access to the collections is granted in the Multimedia Reading Room in the HMH. The three work-stations in the Reading Room enable access to complete relations (the catalogue includes summaries which allow for precise search within the collection) as well as to scanned photographs and other documents from family archives which supplement some of the relations.
Archive catalogue and audiohistoria.pl internet resources
All information about our collection is gathered in one catalogue, accessible both in the Reading Room and online at audiohistoria.pl The internet resources also include selected excerpts of several hundred relations with accompanying pictures. Additionally, the web-page contains presentations prepared within thematic projects carried out by the Oral History Department of the KARTA Centre, such as 'Survivors of Mauthausen' (outcomes of this program include a book and exhibition presented in the HMH in 2010), 'Fates of forced labourers', 'Forgotten Nazi concentrations camps', 'Poles in the East', 'Polish-German memory. Biographies of former and present inhabitants of the Krzyż Wielkopolski commune' (another outcome of the project is a booklet 'From Kreuz to Krzyż: fates of German and Polish inhabitants of the city in the 20th century'), or within smaller projects concerning the history of twentieth century Warsaw which accompanied exhibitions shown in the HMH.
Oral History Archive and Education
The Oral History Archive cooperates closely with the Education Department, organising meetings with eyewitnesses, workshops for youth and teachers presenting the methodology of oral history, seminars for sociology and history students. Oral history enlivens modern history; it offers individual insight into the events, based on personal experiences of witnesses and on face-to-face encounters with them; thus it excites imagination as no other sources do.
All those interested in our collection are invited to visits the web-page audiohistoria.pl or the Reading Room in the History Meeting House. Those who would like to share their experiences and those who know individuals interested in recording their relations please contact the Oral History Archive: 48 22 255 05 40, firstname.lastname@example.org(History Meeting House) or the Oral History Department 48 22 848 07 12, email@example.com(KARTA Centre).
Dominik Czapigo, Mateusz Czapigo, Piotr Filipkowski, Maciej Kamiński, Katarzyna Madoń-Mitzner, Maciej Melon, Jarosław Pałka, Alina Szamruchiewicz, Magda Szymańska-Szwąder, Anna Wylegała.
Reading Room opening times (please contact the Archive prior to your visit)
Monday 10 AM – 4 PM
Wednesday 10 AM – 4 PM
Thursday 10 AM – 4 PM