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Additional Records of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in the Lithuanian Central State Archives

Identifier: RG 8002

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains documents of YIVO work and activities: resolutions from conventions and conferences, protocols from Board and Executive Office meetings, work agenda, financial records, correspondence related to financial matters, work, culture, science and education matters, cashbook, accounts, bills, registry books of incoming correspondence, publications; documents collected by YIVO: commands of Red Army and soviet institutions in Vilnius and Bialystok, resolutions, announcements, appeals; notes about Jewish society and agricultural structure in Poland, documents of political parties and social organizations (statutes; circulars, protocols from Central Committee and Board meetings, work outlines, financial records, appeals, cards, announcements, invitations, publications), documents about Jewish pogroms in Ukraine, Jewish one-time publications (jednodniówka) and periodicals, literature collections, and clippings.


  • 1903-1941

Language of Materials

The collection is in Yiddish, Polish, Hebrew, Russian, English, Lithuanian, French, and Latvian.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available online without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish part or parts of the collection must be obtained from the YIVO Archives. For more information, contact:

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Historical Note

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research was founded in Wilno (Vilna), Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1925 as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, a center for scholarly research. YIVO began intensively collecting historical documents, artifacts, interviews on folk customs, books, and periodicals through a worldwide network of volunteer collectors and amateur ethnographers. During its time in Vilna it succeeded in amassing one of the world’s largest Jewish libraries and archives.

These collections were looted during World War II at the hands of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, a special detail of the Nazi Party’s Office of Foreign Affairs. The Einsatzstab Rosenberg shipped off anything thought to be of value to the Institut Zur Erforschung der Judenfrage (Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question) in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1947, YIVO, by then relocated to New York, was able, with the help of the U.S. Army, to recover many of the documents and books that the Nazis had shipped to Germany.

Other documents, including those represented in this collection, were hidden in Vilna during the war by the Jews who were forced by the Nazis to sort the materials. These men and women, known as the “Paper Brigade,” risked their lives to smuggle some of the documents to hiding places in the Vilna Ghetto. After the liberation of Vilna in July 1944, some of what they had hidden was recovered and transferred to the newly founded Vilnius Jewish Museum. The materials soon needed to be rescued once again. In June 1949, the Jewish Museum was liquidated by the Soviet authorities. A Lithuanian librarian, Antanas Ulpis, head of the Lithuanian Book Chamber located in the St. George church and monastery, rescued thousands of books and documents, hiding them in the basement of the Book Chamber. For over forty years it was believed that they had been destroyed. It was only in 1988 during the period of Glasnost that YIVO learned of their existence.

These materials are now held by the Lithuanian Central State Archives (LCVA) in Fond 287. In 1994, an agreement was signed permitting the documents in this collection to temporarily be transferred to New York, where they were cataloged by YIVO archivists and conserved by preservation experts. The materials were then transferred back to Lithuania.

In 2015, YIVO and the Lithuanian Central State Archives began a joint project to digitize the documents as part of what is now entitled the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections project. The original documents remain in the custody of the Lithuanian Central State Archives.


79 Folders


The materials in this collection constitute a semi-random sample of the pre-war archive that was transferred to the Central State Archives of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic following the liquidation of the Vilnius Jewish Museum in 1949. The collection includes records of YIVO work and activities, financial records, correspondence, and publications; documents about pogroms in Ukraine, and Red Army and Soviet activity in Vilna and Bialystok; and a significant amount of records of socialist, communist, and Zionist political parties, as well as associated newspapers and one-time publications.

Processing Information

There are no records of when the materials in this collection arrived at the Lithuanian Central State Archives (LCVA). In the accounting documents of the Central State Archive of the Lithuanian SSR, the collection of Yiddish Research Institute (YIVO) in Vilnius (Fond 287) was entered on November 14, 1949. There was 1 unspecified case in the collection. An inventory of the fond was first conducted in 1952, and supplemented in 1959 and 1968. This inventory included only 68 files, dating to 1904-1938.

In September of 1994, LCVA 173 boxes of documents from the Center of Bibliography and Book Science of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania in Vilnius. These materials were accessioned into Fond 287. LCVA and YIVO in New York entered into an agreement under which the materials received from the National Library of Lithuania would be sent to YIVO in New York for processing and photocopying, and then returned to Vilnius. YIVO systematized and described the documents. The documents were arranged into 2212 files, which were recorded in 33 inventories written in English. Materials were sent in 1994-1996, and in 1997-2001 the files and their outlines were returned in parts from the U.S. to LCVA.

In 2000 LCVA archivists reviewed the records for Fond 287 and found the existing inventory. The inventory was then revised by Š. Bereznickas; several undescribed folders were numbered and added to the inventory. YIVO in New York had created a new inventory 1 of F. 287. Hence, LCVA decided to change the designation of F. 287 inventory from 1 to 1a. The revised inventory listed 77 folders, dated 1903-1941. The previous inventory was appended to the collection.

In 2015, YIVO and the Lithuanian Central State Archives began a joint project to digitize the documents as part of what is now entitled the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections project. Fond 287/1a was scanned and described by archivists at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and delivered to YIVO. In 2020 YIVO archivists reviewed the digital images and made the following revisions: files were removed from folder 11 to form folder 11c; files were removed from folder 18 to form folder 18a; files were removed from folder 43 to form folder 43a. As a result, the digital arrangement presented in this finding aid consists of 79 folders. The digital images of Fond 287/1a are accessioned in the YIVO Archives as Record Group 8002.

Additional Records of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in the Lithuanian Central State Archives
Under Revision
Processed by LCVA and YIVO Staff
© 2020
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States