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The Vilna Chief of Police

Title: The Vilna Chief of Police
Inclusive Dates: 1831-1918
ID: RG 56
expand icon Arrangement
The collection is arranged chronologically and is comprised of 72 folders. Materials are in Russian, with a small number of documents in Polish, German, Hebrew and Yiddish.
expand icon Abstract

The Records of the Vilna Chief of Police (Vilenskii Politseimeister) are a fragment of the original archives of the Office of the Vilna Chief of Police (Kantseliariia Vilenskogo Polizeimesitera). In the Russian Empire, the Politseimeister headed a city police, from 1862 called the Municipal Police Department (Politseiskoie Gorodskoie Upravleniie). The Vilna Politseimeister office was organized sometime after 1795, following the annexation of Vilna to the Russian Empire. Investigations into all criminal as well as political matters within the city limits were within the purview of the Politseimeister. The office was abolished in 1917.

The collection is of a fragmentary nature, and consists of miscellaneous materials that pertain to the role and activities of the Vilna Chief of Police in the everyday life of the city and province of Vilna, and to the relationship between the Vilna Chief of Police and other police, military and civil organs in the Vilna province. Most of the documents in this collection, which covers the tsarist period from the 1830s to 1918, were assembled during the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century.

The records were donated sometime before 1939 to the S. Ansky Jewish Ethnographic Historical Society by Jacob Hirszowski, a Vilna bookseller and member of the Ansky Society board. Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, the records were looted by the Nazis and sent to Germany in 1942 for the NSDAP Institut zur Erforschung der Judenfrage in Frankfurt am Main. In 1947, after the end of the war, the records were sent to the YIVO Archives in New York City.

Another part of the original archives of the Vilna Chief of Police is in the custody of the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilna.

expand icon Administrative Information
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Collection Material Type: Official Records
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