The collections are founded on the results of three nationwide competitions organized by KARTA between 1990 and 1995. KARTA began in January 1982 as an illegal publication during Poland���s period of martial law. After 1989, it evolved into a non-governmental archival repository that set itself the goal of preserving memories of events and people that were not likely to be represented in state and regional archives. The archive numbers 365 files, with nearly twenty-nine thousand pages, and is primarily composed of individual memoirs, diaries, and tape recordings; it also includes reports, publications, thematic collections, maps, and drawings. The materials focus primarily on the period from 1956 to 1989 and help illuminate several key moments in Polish opposition history. The materials are particularly valuable in examining the political and social history of the Communist era in Poland before the imposition of martial law���everyday life as well as the rise of anti-Communist protest through both underground activity and open movements such as Solidarity. The Polish opposition that culminated in Solidarity was the strongest and most effective in Eastern Europe; its history is therefore crucial to understanding the eventual retreat from Communism and the emergence of an autonomous civil society in the region.