Explore touching stories of Polish citizens victims and witnesses of totalitarian crimes

Historical contexts


In “Chronicles of Terror” we publish the accounts of people who suffered immense hardship at the hands of the German and Soviet totalitarian regimes during the Second World War. These materials reflect the personal experiences of victims of totalitarian crimes, and also of their families and loved ones. The Pilecki Institute aims to show the fates of individuals – which are described in the testimonies available on our portal – in a broader context of the history of totalitarianisms, their victims, perpetrators, and the atrocities they committed. This perspective takes into account historical background, circumstances, and realities of the time period, thus facilitating a clearer understanding of complex events and leading to a more comprehensive discourse on totalitarianisms. These texts will aid the readers in following and interpreting the events described by witnesses.

Historical contexts published in “Chronicles of Terror” are brief academic texts intended for the general public and written by authors with expert knowledge of various subject matters. Each text includes a short bibliography listing the most crucial books, articles or websites pertaining to the relevant subject. The texts are also linked to selected testimonies concerning the events explained in the contexts.

You can access the contexts in two ways:

1) from the main menu, by clicking the “Historical contexts” tab to see the complete list of the contexts published in “Chronicles of Terror”. The contexts are sorted by themes, e.g. Warsaw Uprising or deportations of Polish citizens to the Soviet Union.

2) from individual testimonies, by clicking “learn more” or “explore the historical context” tags located next to the metadata in order to access relevant contexts.