How to request archive materials

A. Are you interested in a specific historical topic?

Dear researchers,

We recommend that you first familiarize yourselves with the guide to archive collections maintained by the Security Services Archive. The collections are organized according to origin and subject and categorized into fourteen basic sections. The guide offers a brief description of the collections, including the types of documents contained therein; in many cases you can also view thepreliminary inventory. The inventories include name, subject and location indexes to facilitate orientation. The guide also indicates in which of the Archive's departments the given collection is physically located. If you are interested in studying a specific archive signature, contact the following directly:

In your request, please indicate whether you want to study the materials in Prague or in Kanice near Brno. It is generally the case that in the research room in Kanice you can study materials from all Archive departments, in the Na Struze research room you can study materials from the Department of Archive Collections of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and materials from all departments in Kanice (that is, the departments of archive collections of the State Security Service [StB], the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Socialist Republic and the the Ministry of the Interior Armed Forces), and in the Siwiecova research room materials from all departments in Kanice, as well as the department of Counterintelligence Operative Dossiers and Investigation Files and the department of Foreign Intelligence and Military Counterintelligence Operative Dossiers. These departments administer most of the operative agenda of units of the Communist security services; individual dossiers or files can be ordered pursuant to the instructions following in part B.

If need be, if you do not find anything appropriate on your topic – consult your requests directly with the relevant department head of the Security Services Archive.

B. Are you interested in a concrete individual or in the operative agenda of the communist security services?

First look for your required information, based on the data at your disposal, in the search engines located in the Recorded entries and archive finding aids section of this Web site. Then request, via e-mail or other format, that they be made available or accessible to you (see below).

If you do not succeed, or do not wish to search for the required information yourself, please ask the relevant Archive work site to find out whether a dossier or file on the requested subject (subject of interest or person) is available, making note of the basic identification data (name of subject of interest, dossier, or in the case of persons, given name, surname, and date of birth), and send these:

  1. to the e-mail address
  2. in writing to the address: Security Services Archive, P.O. BOX 1430, 111 21, Prague 1
  3. by fax to: +420 222 718 944
  4. or submit them personally to the registry of the Security Services Archive, Siwiecova 2, Prague 3 – Žižkov.

In the case of a request to find a dossier or file, it will be determined from within the accessible record systems, or the additional archive finding aids taken over by the Security Services Archive from the ministries of the Interior, Defense and Justice, whether agent-operative dossiers of the former security services (State Security Service, Intelligence Service of the General Staff of the Czechoslovak People’s Army, Section of Interal Protection of the Corrective Education Corps of the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Socialist Republic), investigation files, personal files or other materials were maintained on the given person. Your request will be answered, and the archive materials will be prepared for viewing in the central research room, Na Struze research room, or Kanice research room.

We emphasize that the above-mentioned record systems do not contain references to all materials deposited in the Security Services Archive, but mainly those that fall within the so-called operative agenda (svazková agenda).

Investigation files of the former Public Security Service (Veřejná bezpečnost – VB) are not located in these record systems. If you are interested in these, it is necessary to contact directly the department of archive collections of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Socialist Republic, within which they are deposited.

Information on concrete individuals does not appear only in the dossiers. Valuable knowledge is also contained within the so-called file material of individual units of state security (work plans, evaluations of activities, reports on the elaboration of various issues, summary reports, etc.) These papers are not researchable in the Archive’s record systems. In this case, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the classification scheme of the Archive’s collections and directly contact the specific Archive department. Please bear in mind that in this case, the name and date of birth of a given individual will not suffice. Staff will need to know as much additional data as possible.

Most of the Archive’s materials are accessible pursuant to Act No. 499/2004 Coll. on archival science and record services. Before this law came into effect (that is, before January 1, 2005), the agent, operative and personnel files (personal files of MV servicemen) were accessible pursuant to Act No. 140/1996 Coll., amended by Act No. 107/2002 Coll., on the disclosure of documents created in the course of activities of the State Security Service. Materials accessible before January 1, 2005 pursuant to these laws can be made available to researchers only in digital form (on the computer), with the understanding that some data in them will be anonymized. Only those documents that are older than 30 years can be studied by the researcher without blacked-out sections.

We assume that many of your research queries will be combined – concerning both themes and concrete individuals. In this case the Security Services Archive staff will gladly advise you how best to proceed.