French Police Surveillance Dossiers of Interwar Period -Online Index #france #records

Jan Meisels Allen


The French Police Surveillance Dossiers of the Interwar Period- les Fonds de Moscou have an online index. This covers about 650,000 people on whom the French police were spying. The index was created in Russian as the collection has traveled many miles!


As written in the French Blog

(original url)

the Nazis collected a great many things, including artworks, books and archives, and sent them to Germany. “Among the archives so taken were the private papers of the French branch of the Rothschild family (

the library and archives of the Alliance Isréalite Universelle (, the Masonic archives and membership records of the Grand Orient de France,  and the police surveillance files of the Directorate for National Security in the Ministry of the Interior. All of these collections are called the "Fonds de Moscou", the "Moscow Collection". This is because one of the conquerors of the Nazis was the Soviet Union and, dutifully following the claim by a nineteenth century American Secretary of War that "to the victor belong the spoils", the Red Army stole from the Nazis what they had stolen from the French and took it all to Moscow, where (words not being minced) they were known as the "Trophy Archives". No one conquered the Soviet Union but itself; when it collapsed, word got out that archival treasures that France had thought lost forever were not so. It took some "discussion", but this is something at which the French are unparalleled, so the Russians bowed and the collections were returned, or mostly so.”


Types of records the police found suspect and worthy of surveillance included:

Jewish people, anarchists, political militants, foreign spies, foreigners who requested to be naturalized,  French who requested passports to travel and foreigners who requested permission to remain in France and more.,


The surveillance files part of the Fonds de Moscou are in the Archives nationales at Pierrefitte-sur-Seine



A research guide is available- at this time only in French. ) If you use Chrome as your browser it will translate it into English.) Other translation services may also be of assistance. The website warns that using the index is not easy.


There is also a microfilmed and digitized card index made by the Directorate of General Security, in French, of all of the two million names mentioned in the dossiers.

To find out how to request a dossier please read the French Genealogy blog post at:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee