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A dictionary of terms and detailed explanations regarding the functioning of state security organizations facilitates the interpretation of published data.

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a category of secret cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, MBP), Committee for Public Security (Komitet ds. Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, KdsBP), and Ministry of the Internal Affairs (Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych, MSW) used between 1945 and 1960, preceding the secret collaborator (tajny współpracownik, TW); a qualified and committed collaborator actively carrying out tasks ordered by Security Department (UB)/Security Service (SB). An agent had an personal dossier (corresponding to the personal dossier [teczka personalna] of a secret collaborator [tajny współpracownik]) and a service dossier [teczka służbowa / teczka pracy] (corresponding to the secret collaborator’s service dossier [see teczka pracy]). The category "agent" was maintained in the nomenclature of Department I of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (see agent Departamentu I MSW) after 1960.


a category of cooperation with Security Service (SB) foreign intelligence branch, with the highest degree of operative involvement and highest secrecy. As a rule, an agent of Department I of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs could not be a citizen of the Polish People's Republic (PRL); an exception was made for the PRL citizens residing permanently abroad. Once the recruitment was completed with operative examination (or transformed into preliminary material file – SMW), the registration category of the agent (who was still listed in the operative records of Department I of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs as "operative examination figurehead") was not changed in order to conceal the cooperation. In addition to the agent, categories of cooperation with SB intelligence included information contact and operative contact.


according to the instruction on handling archival files of the Security Service and the Citizens’ Militia of 1968, the term "administrative files" was used to denote all regulations and documents of the Security Service units produced in connection with their activities, which were not operative or personal files. In the "C" division, administrative files were given a reference consisting of the number on the inventory list (list of transferred files) and the archival unit's serial number on the list.


records containing documents related to the stay of foreigners in the Polish People's Republic (PRL) (and related to the issue of a visa for entry into the PRL) and documents of emigrants from the PRL who assumed the citizenship of another country. In numerous cases, the foreigner files contain previously produced passport records (see akta paszportowe) of a former citizen of the PRL who acquired citizenship of another country or was released from the citizenship of the PRL. Generally, these are files of political emigrants.


according to Instruction No. 0107/68 on handling archival files of the Security Service and the Citizens' Militia of 1968, the term "personal files" was used to describe "[...] the personal dossiers of officers of the Security Service and the Militia Service, civilian and contractual employees of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs and the MO stations and members of the Volunteer Reserve of the Citizens' Militia". According to Instruction No. 034/74 of 10 May 1974 on handling archival files in the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, personal files were recorded in separate file inventories (archival logs), kept separately for each file symbol (category), and given references consisting of the ordinal number of files in the inventory followed by the file symbol after the slash – dossiers of SB officers: No./V; dossiers of MO officers: No./VI; dossiers of civilian employees of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs: No. /VII; dossiers of professional soldiers of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs: No./VIII; dossiers of employees of the State Fire Service Headquarters: No./IX. Cf. (see: materiały osobowe, personal materials).


records containing personal documents relating to a Security Service (SB) officer, organised and divided into three parts. Part I contained documents related to the officer's admission to the service: application for admission, personal history, detailed personnel questionnaire and recommendations, if any. Part II contained documents produced as part of a special check to verify a person recruited into the service: enquiries to the relevant SB records and operative divisions regarding the officer and their family and information gathered. Part III contained documents relating to the service record, starting with a form in which the following data were entered separately: the officer's personal details, positions and functions held in sequence, pay grade and secondments, any disciplinary penalties and information on their expungement, awards, periods of leave. Apart from the form, Part III contained applications of an officer's superiors for transfer, change of position and/or promotion, applications of an officer related to their service, opinions of superiors, disciplinary documentation, orders concerning personal record of service, applications for decorations and awards, as well as the text of a pledge signed by an officer, documentation on health status, an officer's obligation to secrecy after leaving the service, pension documentation. As a rule, information about the operative work carried out by officers (i.a. agents and cases managed) was not included in their personal files. "Officer personal files" were kept by the Personnel Department of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs (concerning employees of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs) or the respective personnel divisions of the Security Service field units; after the termination of the officer's service, they were archived by a "C" division competent for the SB unit in which the officer completed service or Division IV of Bureau "C" of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs in the case of officers who completed service in units of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. Files were labelled with an archive number consisting of the serial number of the archive journal followed by the journal symbol after the slash: V (Security Service), VI (Citizens' Militia), VII (civilian employees of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs), VIII (soldiers of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs).