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UNHCR External Fonds

© UNHCR / H.J. Davies

UNHCR began operations only in 1951. A predecessor organization, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) operated primarily between 1946 and 1951. Its records were placed in the Archives nationales de France in Paris when the IRO closed (Fonds AJ 43). There are only few individual case records. More information may be found by addressing the Archives nationales, 60 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 75141 Paris, FRANCE.

From mid-World War II through 1946, European refugee issues were addressed by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) . The retention of individual case files was limited. An inquiry may be addressed to the Archives and Records Centre, United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA.

The UNHCR External Fonds contain a few records of these predecessor organizations, in addition to the records of the Liquidator of the Nansen International Office for Refugees (1931-1939). These records date back as early as 1921 and provide insight into the transition from IRO to UNHCR as well as some of the early concerns faced by the international community with regard to European refugees in the interwar and post-WWII periods.

In addition to these collections, the External Fonds contain the personal papers of several key figures in the history of UNHCR. A list of External Fonds with links to finding aids is available.




Archives nationales

Visit the website of the National Archives of France (external link).

United Nations Archive

United Nations Archives and Records Management website (external link).