question about requesting records from the Polish archives and Polish privacy laws #poland
I was searching szukajwarchiwach.
The archive index for this record said: Dawid FASZCZAK for confirmation of the death of Józef Miedzianagore Call number 12/927/0/2/1/417 Dates 1948 - 1948 State Archives State Archives in Katowice Team Court of the Town in Dąbrowa Górnicza
Józef Miedzianagora was a toddler, and both he and his parents died in the Holocaust. He was their only child. He was my second cousin twice removed (and David Faszczak was his grandfather).
I'm not 100% certain of Polish privacy laws, but I have read that there's a 100-year-ban releasing many records except to direct family (parents, siblings, and children). However, I have requested Holocaust-era records from the Radom archive and got them without an issue. So is this a correct interpretation of Polish privacy laws by the archive? Are Holocaust-era records really closed for 100 years if the subject didn't have children to request the record?--
I've been battling with this for months but it's not a lost cause. Yes, there is a 100 year rule as you describe it and you will have a hard time getting around it. It seems very unjust regarding holocaust victims and I'm sure the Polish authorities know this. I can offer you two rays of hope. First, it appears that for death records, the rule is 80 years. I believe that this is correct and I'm currently testing it out. I don't yet know the outcome. More usefully, you should contact Jewish Records Index. They seem to have got around this problem and have been extraordinarily helpful to me. Like all these organisations, they will want a donation, but in return they do an excellent job. For my part they answered a question that I had not bothered asking because I thought it intractable and also corrected me on some genealogy. It was worth every penny.
Ellen Barnett Cleary
Could you please tell us how to find the Jewish Records index?
Ellen Barnett Cleary
San Francisco CA
Let me try to clarify things for you. There are privacy periods for vital records. The period is 100 years for births and 80 years for marriages and deaths. Other records may also come under the privacy protection of Polish laws, but these laws do not apply to all records in the archive.
When you mention Jewish Records index, you are referring to Jewish Records Indexing - Poland https://www.jri-poland.org/index.htm. JRI-Poland adheres to the privacy terms that are applicable in Poland. If you find any index entries that are within the privacy period noted above, they are from outside Poland or the privacy laws do not apply. If you have a question about any results from a search of the JRI-Poland database, send your inquiry to questions@....
The search of the JRI-Poland online database is completely free and links to images of those records are provided when available. There are now over 5 million record indices online and most of them are indexed by professionals in Poland. JRI-Poland volunteers raise the funds from interested researchers to pay for the indexing and, when fully funded, those record indices are soon placed online. If you are interested in finding out if there are more records available for your town, send an email to yourtown@jri-poland,org, where you substitute Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, etc. for yourtown.
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the topic of obtaining access to vital records
in Poland. But to start with, I would like to throw some additional light on jri-poland.org -
mentioned by Roger Lampert. (Thanks for your kind words, Roger.)
To start with, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit
organization with its own administration, volunteers and fundraising. As a way to extend
our reach, researchers are able to search the JRI-Poland.org database with 6.2 million
records through JewishGen. Go directly to JRI-Poland with this link: https://jri-poland.org/
The importance of sharing record data is the reason why it is possible to search all the
records of the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland as well as
collections from POLIN, The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Jewish Historical
Institute, Warsaw, and The Jewish Distribution Agency and others.
Access to records in Civil Records Offices in Poland
A new civil records law was introduced in Poland on March 1, 2015, which reduces the
time period for which marriage and death records may become publicly available from
100 to 80 years after the event. (Access to births remains unchanged at 100 years
from the year of registration).
Subject to case by case negotiations and arrangements with managers of individual
Civil Records Office (USC) and others who may have a say in the matter, this change
has made it possible for JRI-Poland to immediately arrange access and/or scan, and
extract marriage and death records up to and including 1939 and birth records through
1919 for a number of towns in Poland. In addition, we have been allowed to create a
basic finding aid in some cases for post-1919 birth records.
Note, however, the final decision on sharing records from Civil Records Offices (Urząd
Stanu Cywilnego) rests with the manager and may be arbitrarily withheld.
To use your time more efficiently, we recommend/urge that you ask JRI-Poland first about
the status of records for your town. Write to questions@... to see if we have
the data that can help you.
Stanley Diamond, M.S.M.
Executive Director, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, Inc.
Read the JRI-Poland newsletter: