Did You Know...

While the United Nations was created in 1945 after the end of WWII, the documents in the UN Archives actually go back to the 1800s! The archives of early international legal and humanitarian organizations, such as the International Penal and Penitentiary Commission (1893-1958), pre-date the founding of the United Nations, but found a home with us to ensure their accessibility and preservation. 

Another organization that pre-dated the United Nations was the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. UNRRA was established by agreement of 44 nations on 9 November 1943; operations came to an end in the latter part of 1946, with the last staff appointment terminating 31 March 1949. The purpose of UNRRA was to "plan, co-ordinate, administer or arrange for the administration of measures for the relief of victims of war in any area under the control of any of the United Nations through the provision of food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities, medical and other essential services".

Because of the fragility of these records, and their importance to the historical record, the UN Archives has been working with the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, who is digitizing a portion of our UNRRA collection. These digitized files will be available to researchers not just in New York or Washington, DC, but around the world via our website. 

If you are interested in researching our UNRRA records in person, note that some boxes will be unavailable while they are being digitized. Please alert the reference team of your topic when you arrange for a research appointment so we can ensure that your visit is as productive as possible. 

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