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Register of the Poland Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa Departament III Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Poland Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa Departament III collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1925-1989
    Collection number: 92053
    Extent: 33 manuscript boxes (13.2 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Underground pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, bulletins, photographs, video tapes, and miscellany, collected by Polish internal security police. Includes some reports and bulletins issued by Polish security police.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language: Polish.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Poland Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa Departament III collection, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1992.


    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 http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . 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 Form Available

    Also available on microfilm (36 reels).

    Scope and Content Note

    The Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, Poland's security police, was created by the communist authorities in 1944 to deal with the anti-German and later also anti-Soviet underground operating in those parts of the country that had been "liberated" by the Red Army. It was known under different names but between the years 1956-1990, it operated under the name of Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (better known as SB). It was established in the Ministry of the Interior (Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnetrznych) and remained the most loyal supporter of the Polish United Workers Party. For decades, besides strengthening the position of the communist authorities, it directed its efforts against any signs of social opposition, relying on a network of secret agents and collaborators who were responsible for numerous provocations.
    The events of March 1968 (reflected in this collection) led the SB to operate on a larger scale than before, as the communists cleaned the party ranks of internal opponents. It also took more and more repressive measures against workers' revolts in 1970, 1976, and 1980-1981, when it radicalized its attitude toward the church and free labor unions. The SB fought against them unscrupulously, but unlike what happened in other East European communist countries, it accomplished less, as the magnitude of those movements made control impossible. In fact, it became more desperate, as exemplified by the murder of the priest Jerzy Popieluszko.
    Most of this collection consists of the publications issued by the underground and political opposition of the late 1970s and 1980s, which, not surprisingly, the SB monitored with particular interest. There are also materials analyzing opposition views on such issues as the economy, the attitude toward communist initiatives, as well as domestic and foreign politics. Additionally, there are documents that shed light on the circumstances that led to the Round Table Talks between the communists and the opposition, initiated as they were by the head of the secret services, General Kiszczak.
    The history of the SB in its formative years is described in the bulletins and monographs issued by the Ministry of the Interior, albeit in a distorted fashion - a perfect example of manipulation of the facts relating to the origins of communist control in Eastern Europe. The extreme brutality, for example, with which the population was treated in the 1940s and early 1950s, especially because of the involvement of the NKVD, had to be justified.
    The records of the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa do not contain personal files or correspondence. They consist of either duplicate copies of typescripts or mimeographs intended for internal distribution to various SB departments and local branches, or opposition underground publications that have since been in public circulation.
    The collection was acquired by the Hoover Institution in the early 1990s, and supplements other collections in the Archives, particularly those of Solidarity activists and the collection entitled "Polish Independent Publications, 1976-1990."

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.


    Internal security--Poland.
    Subversive activities--Poland.
    NSZZ "Solidarnosc" (Labor organization)
    Labor movement--Poland.
    Labor unions--Poland.
    Anti-communist movements--Poland.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Video tapes.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Poland. Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa. Departament III.