The Central Archives of Modern Records (AAN) was created through a decree issued by chief of state Józef Piłsudski on 7 February 1919. It is one of the three most important archives in Poland. The AAN quickly became one of the largest archives, which, in 1939, was in possession of 35 kilometers of records of central state institutions. Unfortunately, 97% of the records gathered were destroyed, burned during World War II, under German occupation.
Currently, the archive is in possession of 25 kilometres of records, collected in almost 2,400 archival collections of records of central state institutions, social, political records and records from the period of Polish independence. These include records of such important central institutions as the Civil Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries from the interwar period. The most valuable records include documents of the Polish Underground State from the period of World War II - the Office of the Government Delegate and Home and the Headquarters of the Polish Home Army (AK), documents of underground institutions and underground military which were active under German and soviet occupation during World War II and which were the largest in Europe. Records of political parties are located at the AAN as well.
The archives is also in possession of numerous records of social institutions, such as trade unions and associations. The heritage of the most significant personages in the history of Poland is of special significance at the AAN. The Archive of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, an outstanding musician and politician, and the records of Marshall Józef Piłsudski are particularly important. The Archives is also in possession of a huge collection of photographs, audio materials and a cartographic collection. It is also preparing to begin collecting electronic documentation.
The entire collection is systematically preserved, catalogued and made available to researchers. Two study rooms are provided for that purpose, including one for microfilm and photographic collections and, in the future, electronic documents. The Archives boasts a well-stocked library, with the possibility of making photocopies and electronic scans.
The AAN is also a research institution. The results of the research conducted here are published in the AAN's own publications, for example in the yearbook "Teki Archiwalne".