Collections of the Jozef Pilsudski in London


The archives of the Joseph Pilsudski Institute in London contain over 200 different collections of documents. These are mainly the personal materials of important politicians and activists operating in the interwar period as well as representatives of post war Polish immigrants in Great Britain. We have a large collection called the Archive of the Belvedere Collection (part of which consists of the archive of the Commander-in-Chief), containing materials from 1918 to 1922 which is made up of microfilms and negatives which provide an important visual source for research on the Polish-Bolshevik war and the first years of Polish Independence.

The archives have grown over the years since the Institute first opened in London in 1947. It’s initial collections were made up of documents brought from Poland before the Second World War and concern chiefly the fight for freedom, the history of the Polish Legions and the years of independence in the 1920s and 30s. Many of these documents are related to Joseph Pilsudski and now form the large collection dedicated to him. This section of the archives is a collection of materials donated by many Poles living in Great Britain over the years. They include not only personal documents but also historical accounts, photographs and correspondence.

Description and digitalisation works

Most of the collections have been analysed and catalogued according to Polish and international archive guidelines. The catalogues have been entered onto the SEZAM and IZA databases and are available on the NDAP website, registered under number 709 “Instytut Józefa Piłsudskiego w Londynie”.

The most important Collections

Photographic Archive

This collection, which is constantly expanding thanks to generous donations, is currently made up of around ten thousand photographs, documenting mainly the Polish Legions and the interwar period. There are also several albums documenting the Second World War, including the movements of the 2 Korpus and the battle at Monte Cassino. Other collections include photographs of Polish immigrants in London, in particular events at the Institute and the Polish Social and Cultural Centre (POSK).