Polish State Archives and Jewish Records Indexing - Poland sign
agreement providing expanded access to Jewish records in Poland
Bethesda, Maryland and Warsaw, Poland, February 15, 2013 / Today the Polish State Archives (PSA) and Jewish
Records Indexing - Poland (JRI-Poland) entered into a new multi-year agreement to expand access to Jewish records.
PSA General Director, Professor Władysław Stępniak observed: "The signing of this agreement will open a new
phase in the cooperation between JRI-Poland and State Archives in Poland. I am convinced that the results of our mutual
efforts will be helpful for many people interested in centuries-old Polish-Jewish relations, shared history and family
JRI-Poland’s searchable online database of records from more than 550 towns is the starting point in Jewish family
history research in Poland. The database of records going back to the late 18th century belies the misleading notion
that Jewish records of Poland were destroyed in World War II.
The agreement will enable JRI-Poland to rapidly expand its current online database of indices to five million records,
the largest database of Jewish vital records online. Indices to more than one million additional records are expected to
become available within a year and will dovetail with the opening in Warsaw of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
In a statement reflecting the strong significance of these records and their importance to family historians around
the world, the PSA announced that they are beginning a massive effort to digitize all vital records in their more than 30
Regional Archives. These will be available — free — on their National Digital Archives and Regional Archive websites.
JRI-Poland will serve the research community and PSA by linking its search results to the PSA’s digital images of the
Jewish records. As a result of the massive indexing undertaken by JRI-Poland since 1995, the indices to Jewish records will
form the bulk of all digital image linking on the PSA website. Thus, for the first time a non-profit organization will be
linking its search results to vital record images provided by a European archives.
In addition, JRI-Poland and the PSA will institute a new Order Processing System to vastly simplify the process of
obtaining copies of archival records. JRI-Poland will have the administrative responsibility for processing orders for
records from branches of the Polish State Archives. Researchers will be able to place orders by clicking on record index
entries of interest in the JRI-Poland search results and paying by credit card via the JRI-Poland website. The Order
Processing System will eventually be phased out as digitized records become available online.
The JRI-Poland database and volunteers have been instrumental in reuniting families separated by the Holocaust and
helping hidden children find their identities. JRI-Poland has been recognized by the medical and scientific communities
for the potential assistance to Ashkenazic families trying to trace medical histories, particularly those at increased
risk for hereditary conditions and diseases. As a result of statistical analyses indicating a high incidence of medical
and genetic abnormalities in individuals of Polish-Jewish descent, JRI - Poland serves as a finding aid for those who
may need answers to medical-related questions or require bone marrow or other transplants. Because of this, JRI-Poland
has received commendations from the Gift of Life Foundation and the National Marrow Donor Program.
Founded in 1995, JRI-Poland was an outgrowth of Executive Director and Montrealer Stanley Diamond's need for access
to Jewish vital records of the former Łomża Gubernia area of Poland for research into his family’s genetic history.
JRI-Poland is run by a global board, aided by hundreds of volunteers and serving thousands of researchers, funded by
groups and private genealogists around the world.
For further information, please contact:
Please visit: www.jri-poland.org and www.archiwa.gov.pl/en/news.html
The home of Jewish vital record indices of Poland on the Internet at www.JRI-POLAND.ORG
Judy Baston, USA • Jeffrey Cymbler, USA • Stanley Diamond, Canada • Howard Fink, USA • Alan Greenberg, Canada
Mark Halpern, USA • Peter Jassem, Canada • Roni Liebowitz, USA • Hadassah Lipsius, USA • Robinn Magid, USA
Wlodzimierz Rozenbaum, USA • Sheila Salo, USA • Susan Stone, USA • Michael Tobias, Scotland • Daniel Wagner, Israel