Smolensk Oblast Party Archive, 1917-1938

Call Number: Film A1054, shelved in the microfilm cage in Lamont basement.

Finding Aid: Reel one of the 69 reel collection contains two finding aids. The first is a reel-by-reel, file-by-file description of documents. The second is a subject index compiled by Merle Fainsod. There are 536 files in the archive (dela) and most of these (527) are catalogued as WKP 1, 2, 3...527, with WKP deriving from the German transcription of the Russian for all-Union Communist Party (Vsesouiznaia kommunisticheskaia partiia).

History and Contents: In July 1941 the invading German army captured this archive. Officers sent 536 files totalling about 200,000 pages of documents back to Germany, where they were eventually seized by the US Army. To get some idea of the contents of the archive, it might be a good idea to look at Merle Fainsod's classic, Smolensk under Soviet Rule (Winchester, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1989, originally published by RAND corporation in 1958), which Fainsod based almost entirely on Smolensk documents. There are many different varieties of documents ranging from minutes of local party committee meetings, to Central Committee directives, to letters of complaint from ordinary Soviet subjects. There is documentation of party purges, State Farm financing, Komsomol activities, collectivization and many, many more topics. This is the only complete oblast level archive available at Harvard (although the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies now has materials from Volgograd, Nizhnyi Novgorod, and Saratov oblasts, as well as documents from several Ukrainian oblasts).

Size of Archive: 69 microfilm reels, 536 files.