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Nation-State Formation in Belarus in 1918-1920s

State Archives of Brest Region

Description of holdings

Amount of holdings: 1 795 fonds, 1 100 236 items

Chronological scope: from 1919 to the present

Geographical coverage:

  • Districts of Baranovichi, Luninets, Pinsk and Pruzhany in Minsk Gubernia (Province); records from 1919-1920
  • Polesie Voivodeship (Province) and Baranovichi District of Novogrudok Voivodeship in Poland (when Western Belarus was part of Poland in 1921-1939); records from 1919-1939.
    In addition, there are separate records concerning the voivodeships of Bialystok, Vilno and Novogrudok in Poland (areas presently included in Grodno Region and partly in the regions of Vitebsk and Minsk in the Republic of Belarus), and the voivodeships of Warsaw, Volyn (Volhynia), Kielce, Krakow, Lvov (Lviv) and Lublin in Poland (areas presently not included in the Republic of Belarus), 1919-1939
  • The abolished districts of Vysokoe and Domachevo in Brest Region
  • The town of Brest and the districts of Brest, Zhabinka, Kamenets and Malorita in Brest Region (from 1939)


Of the most informative and sizeable archives of the Polish period (1919-1939) is the fonds of the Polesie Voivodeship Board. It contains information relating to the national policy of the Polish government in Western Belarus. Other records are concerned with the population structure and territorial-administrative division of the Polesie voivodeship, the protection of the frontier, the state of education, culture, public health and town-planning, the social and economic state of the region's population, the state of agriculture in the region, the people's struggle against national and social oppression & the activities of various political parties, trade unions & educational and other public organizations.

Considerable in number are the fonds of the Brest and Pinsk town boards, the Pinsk okrug commissariat, the Pinsk western and eastern boards.

The fonds of the Brest School District Board of Trustees holds information concerning the network of educational establishments, the state of secondary and professional education, the condition of national schools, the construction of school buildings, and the composition of students and teaching staff in the school district which covered the Polesie voivodeship and partially the Novogrudok and Bialystok voivodeships in 1921-1939.

The Archive holds the fonds of the Bereza Kartuska prison camp, which was created by the Polish government in 1934 in the Polesie voivodeship to keep in detention, without any decision of the courts, people suspected of common crimes. The biggest part are the case files of people who were imprisoned because of their membership in the revolutionary organizations and opposition parties.

The fonds of the Polesie Orthodox Ecclesiastical Consistory, the Pinsk Roman-Catholic Curia, and the fonds of the Judaic religious communities are of considerable interest.

The documents for 1939-1941, which remain small in number, indicate the first measures carried out by the Soviet power in the social and economic reconstruction of Western Belarus. They describe the formation of the provisional administration boards in the reunited regions; organization of the elections to the People's Assembly of Western Belarus and to the local government; nationalization of private enterprises and big houses; the first steps in the creation of state industry; reconstruction of the Dnieper-Bug Canal, and more.

The documents of the Brest Region Executive Committee throw light on the process of socialist transformations in the region from 1939 to 1941; nationalization of industrial enterprises; collectivization of agriculture; restoration of the region's economy in the postwar period; the development of public education, health, culture and social welfare.

The postwar socio-economic and cultural development of the region is also described in local authority documents and in the archives of the various industrial and agricultural enterprises, including the cultural, educational, building, health and other organizations.

The fonds of the Brest Town Executive Committee gives information on the history of the town's economy; the town's infrastructure and restoration after the war; the construction of administrative, industrial and dwelling houses, and more.

The fonds of the party regional committees in Brest, Baranovichi and Pinsk, as well as the fonds of the town and district party committees, and other party organizations contain information about the Communist Party leadership and control over all spheres of economic and socio-cultural life in the region. They depict the political and economic situation in the region, collectivization of agriculture, personnel policy, ideological activities of the party, and more.

Nazi Occupation policy (1941-1944) is depicted in the documents of the Brest, Baranovichi and Pinsk okrug commissariats, as well as in the documents of the town, district and volost boards and various economic organizations. The records of the Brest and Pinsk town councils, 1941-1944, reveal Nazi Occupation policy in Belarus & Nazi crimes against the local population, including the genocide against the Jews. The archives of the Brest Town Council hold the records concerning the creation of a ghetto in the town, the Jewish passports and passes in and out of the ghetto, and also the statistics on Brest's Jewish population, etc.

The fonds of the Brest Regional Commission for Assistance to the State Extraordinary Commission for Investigation of Nazi Crime contains information on Nazi crimes during the Occupation (1941-1944) in the region, holds lists of the region's residents who were killed by the Nazis, lists of those deported to Germany, documents on the damage attributable to the Occupation, and more.

The Archive holds papers of the active participants of the October Revolution of 1917, the Russian Civil War (1918-21), the national liberation movement in Western Belarus, and the Second World War; participants of the Brest underground resistance; records on the history of the Brest region; personnel records, and more.

29 March 2019
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