Scope and Content Note
Title: Poland. Konsulat Generalny (Lille, France) records,
Date (inclusive): 1926-1940
Collection number: 59029
Poland. Konsulat Generalny (Lille, France)
11 manuscript boxes
(4.4 linear feet)
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Correspondence, reports, dispatches, memoranda, financial records, passports and passport applications, and printed matter,
relating to Franco-Polish relations, Polish citizens and consular affairs in France, and conditions in Poland and France during
World War II. A digital copy of this entire collection is available at
Collection is open for research.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Poland. Konsulat Generalny (Lille, France) records, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Alternative Forms of Material Available
Also available on microfilm (13 reels).
Polish consulate general in Lille.
Scope and Content Note
History of the records:
The Consulate General in Lille opened in 1921, less than three years after Poland's proclamation of independence. It was located
in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, an area with a large concentration of Polish immigrants. That population kept growing with
the need of the local economy for unskilled labor and the inability of Poland, though it was experiencing its own industrial
revival in the early twenties, to absorb its surplus of labor. During the inter-war period, it is estimated that 600,000 Poles
immigrated to Northern France, 150,000 of whom from Germany's Rhein and Westphalia regions alone.
Neighboring countries such as Belgium, Denmark, and Germany had their own sizeable Polish colonies established since the turn
of the century, but it was the French government that was most willing to regulate issues arising from the employment of foreigners,
thanks in large measure to Poland's strong diplomatic presence in France. (The two countries signed a labor agreement in 1919.)
Indeed, before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Consulate was one of over thirty Polish posts established both in
France and in its colonies. This unusually high number reflected the special relations between the two countries and the importance
Poland attached to economic and political ties with Paris.
Initially, the work of the Consulate was limited almost exclusively to administrative and social matters, and its records
relate mostly to the policies of the Polish Foreign Ministry toward Polish communities abroad. That emphasis changed in the
second half of the 1930s, with the increase in international tensions, particularly with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil
War. Some of the politically active labor circles among Polish immigrants, especially the communists, showed sympathy for
the republican side. There was also evidence of increasing Soviet propaganda activity. Those issues were of great concern
to both the French and Polish sides, but there is very little in the collection on Franco-Polish relations.
After the German invasion of June 1940, the Consulate was evacuated and portions of the records were destroyed; what was left
went to England, and remains the only surviving record. The Consulate resumed operations after France's liberation in 1944,
but that period is not covered in these files.
These records were formerly part of the Polish Foreign Ministry collection, acquired by the Hoover Archives in 1959, and were
accessioned in the early 1990s as a separate collection. Its classification system is the same as that of the Ministry, established
in the 1930s and consisting of 900 index numbers, 200 of which were left blank, available to be used for additional topics,
which is in fact what happened during the war.
Except for the Polish legation to the Czechoslovak government in London, all other legations, embassies, and consulates used
that classification system, though of course not all of the 900 possible series are reflected in their records; those of the
Consulate General in Lille, for instance, cover only eighty or so of them. Each diplomatic post was assigned a number, in
this case series no. 593, entitled "Consulate General in Lille, France," which deals with the Consulate's budgetary and financial
For a complete listing of the numbers in that classification system, please consult the series list of the register to the
"Poland. Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych" records.
A microfilm copy of these materials has been deposited in the State Archives of Poland in Warsaw.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.
World War, 1939-1945--Poland.
World War, 1939-1945--France.
World War, 1939-1945.