The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 21, Number 3
Sep 1997

Polish Archives & Libraries Inundated

In mid-July, the International Council on Archives (ICA) launched a worldwide appeal for assistance on behalf of the archives in Poland that were hit by flooding. The original message of the Director General of the State Archives of Poland is reprinted below, in slightly condensed form.

The biggest flood in our country's history is ravaging Southern and Western Poland. It has devastated archives in Wroclaw, Kamieniec, Zabkowski, Nysa, Raciborz and the archive building in Opole. Some of these records constitute a common heritage of Poland and Germany. Documents dating from the 16th Century have been destroyed or damaged.

The National Archives is organizing the emergency response for the whole country. We have already sent personnel into the affected areas; we are identifying the areas of greatest need and places where documents can be given emergency treatment. We are giving advice on how to deal with the damaged archives.

Our rescue action consists of drying flooded material where possible, and freezing where immediate drying is not possible. We are using commercial freezing and vacuum drying facilities, and have ordered additional equipment from abroad. This work is enormously expensive and our resources are limited.

We are desperately in need of equipment including freezing units, fans, and plastic crates to move wet records. We also urgently need materials: plastic sheeting, absorbent paper, file covers and folders, and archive storage boxes, together with protective clothing for our staff, who are working in difficult and often dangerous conditions.

We will be grateful for any kind of help. We have created a special bank account, to which donations can be sent:

Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A - Grupa Pekao S.A
III Oddzial w Warszawie
Nr 12401040 - 27030822 - 3000-457872
Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Panstwowych
"Archiwa Polskie - powódz"
(This means "Polish Archives - Flood")
Prof. Daria Nalecz
Director of the State Archives of Poland

For further information, contact the ICA Secretariat in Paris. The text of the appeal is available on the ICA Web site at E-mail address is

[Polish libraries, too, were damaged by flooding. Their appeal, like the appeal from the archives, has been forwarded to a number of interested groups on the Internet and can be consulted on a web page: It has been edited and condensed for publication.

[It is dated July 21, and is addressed to "Dear Librarians Worldwide."]

The flood in Southern and Western Poland has caused severe damage in our libraries. Those libraries urgently need consultation on how to deal with damaged collections; they also need equipment, hardware and buildings, which means also material and financial help.

The National Library in Poland-Warsaw was declared to participate in the organization of aid for those institutions. A central databank has been created here, in order to collect, process, manage and transfer all information on damage of any kind, and in particular libraries' needs to/from libraries and donors. The contact person is Mrs. Wanda Tyminska (email:, tel. +48-22 608-2298, fax +48-22 608-2644).

The National Library has also created a special team to prepare instructions for recovery efforts, and to prepare reports, recommendations and proposals for all relevant authorities and institutions. The contact person is Dr. Barbara Drewniewska-Idziak (email:, tel. +48-22 608-2951, fax +48-22 608-2644).

The coordinator of all aid activities based at the National Library is Mr. Jan Wolosz, deputy director of the National Library in Poland-Warsaw (email:, tel. +48-22 251-596, fax +48-22 259-157).

For all those who wish to support Polish libraries with financial donations we have created a special sub-account of the Foundation of the National Library:

Bank PeKaO S.A., VIII O/W Warszawa
No. 12401112-30001590-2700-401112-002
"Pomoc dla bibliotek - powodz."

Any other help would be more than welcome. Please contact the above-mentioned persons directly.

Ewa Krysiak
National Library

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