Fonds A-2017-02 - Polish Women's War Relief Committee fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Polish Women's War Relief Committee fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Reference code

CA OPMA A-2017-02

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1934-1949 (Creation)
    Polish Women's War Relief Committee, 1939-1949

Physical description area

Physical description

0.4 m of textual records.

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Administrative history

The Polish Women’s War Relief Committee (a.k.a. Polish Women’s Relief Committee, Komitet Polek Niesienia Pomocy Ojczyźnie) was formed by Zwiazek Polek [“Polish Women’s Association”] in Winnipeg on October 20, 1939. It was certified by the Polish National Relief and Defence Committee in Canada Fund and authorized to solicit and make collections on its behalf on December 5th, 1939. The Committee collected, sewed, organized, prepared, and shipped shipments of material goods (including clothing, foodstuffs, and cigarettes) and financial aid to displaced or war-devastated Poles during and following the Second World War. Between the years of 1939 and 1947, the Committee helped hundreds of destitute Polish families and individuals, many of whom were displaced across Europe and had suffered the complete loss of their material goods and property, and many of whom had also lost family members in the War. The Committee also organized shipments of cigarettes and other foodstuffs or necessary material items for war-injured Polish soldiers convalescing in England, and in many cases, organized shipments of goods to their families still in Poland. Finally, the Committee aided hundreds of Polish war orphans through shipments of food and clothing. The Committee’s aid was guided by letters of appeal it received from Poles during and after the War. Awareness of its services was often spread by word of mouth in Poland, as evidenced by the letters in this collection.

The Committee was headquartered at various locations over its primary operating years. The majority of the committee’s activity was centred in the home of its President, Katarzyna Rybak (which was the medical office of her husband, Dr. Frank Rybak), located at 359 Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg. The Committee also received correspondence at 848 Main Street, and at 618 Stella Avenue.

By 1947, most of the operations and activities of the Committee had wound down, and the final records were created in 1949. It is currently unknown whether the Committee officially shuttered or ceased to exist after its main operational functions were complete.

Custodial history

The records were created and kept by members of the Polish Women's War Relief Committee. They were eventually transferred and kept by Janina Lorenc, who transferred them to Ogniwo Polish Museum Archives ca. 2000. It is currently unknown how Janina Lorenc came to have the records.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence (including letters of appeal from Poles seeking material aid and correspondence related to the organization and shipment of outgoing goods), receipts showcasing the types of items purchased for shipment abroad, and organizational records such as notes and ledgers tracking the Committee’s activities. The fonds also includes receipts and some financial records of the Polish Women’s Federation a.k.a. Związek Polek in Winnipeg from 1934 to 1939, a photograph, and a small number of personal records of the Rybak Family.

Notes area

Physical condition

The collection consists of textual documents that have deteriorated with time and handling. Almost all items in the collection have been transferred to protective sleeves for protection in handling.

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were transferred to Ogniwo Polish Museum Archives by Janina Lorenc ca. 2000.


The correspondence records have been arranged by date.

Language of material

  • Polish
  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

The originals are held at Ogniwo Polish Museum Archives.

Availability of other formats

The fonds have been digitized. Digital formats are available by contacting Ogniwo Polish Museum via email.

Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Users must abide by relevant copyright legislation.

Finding aids

A finding aid is available.

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No further accruals are expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

The collection was processed and described in December 2017. The finding aid was finalized in March 2018 and uploaded in March 2020.

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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