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11th Annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium in honor of Lady Blanka Rosenstiel

Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 5:00pm - 5:00pm

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11th Annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium
in honor of Lady Blanka Rosenstiel

by the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies and the Center for Intermarium Studies

Premieres via Facebook
Saturday, April 17th, 2021
5:00 PM

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Iron Felix: The Early Days of Feliks Dzierżyński (1877-1926)


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About the lecture

Feliks Dzierzynski was a Polish Catholic nobleman, a social democrat, and a monster. He committed national apostasy to advance his international utopian ideas. Having embraced a socialist revolution, he followed the logical path to death and mayhem. His destiny led him to establish and lead Soviet Russia’s secret police, the dreaded Cheka and its avatars. However, the roots of his murderous pathologies reach his teen years when he abandoned the Catholic faith and the cause of Poland’s independence in favor of extreme leftism. He increasingly alienated himself from his background, rejected his inheritance, and transformed himself, first, into an internationalist and, then, into a Soviet Russian chauvinist. Our story focuses on the first stage of the monster’s transformation. Rejecting all that was decent, Dzierzynski embarked on a journey of no return to Communist utopia.

About the speaker

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz holds The Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies at The Institute of World Politics and leads IWP’s Center for Intermarium Studies. At IWP, he also serves as a Professor of History and teaches courses on Geography and Strategy, Contemporary Politics and Diplomacy, Russian Politics and Foreign Policy, and Mass Murder Prevention in Failed and Failing States. He is the author of Intermarium: The Land Between the Black and Baltic Seas and numerous other books and articles. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and has previously taught at the University of Virginia and Loyola Marymount University.

Religious Freedom as the Cornerstone of the Western World


About the lecture

Today’s crisis in Europe and the Western world is, above all, a religious crisis. We live nowadays in times of unusually fierce religious intensification. It holds not only to Islam; instead, to various contemporary ideologies and social movements, in which religious or quasi-religious characters can be seen easily in their missionary zeal.

In Europe and also America, a religious war takes place – a war of life and death. It is not a conflict between religious and non-religious people, but a clash of Christianity – or rather, what remains of it – and Neo-paganism. Rivalry with Islam is here of secondary significance.

A question arises concerning the proper shape of the political order: is it at all possible for individuals and communities, differing in religion – and if so, then how – to live together in peace and harmony within the framework of one political organism?

The proper answer was brought to the world by Christianity: the common life of different communities will be possible if we reject the program of forceful conversion, guaranteeing everybody the right to religious freedom instead. Here, religious freedom is understood as freedom to practice one’s religion, openly express one’s most profound religious beliefs, and take action in the public space, motivated by these beliefs. Still, an opposite interpretation of the idea has been widespread – the idea of freedom from religion, behind which hides a program for the expulsion of all religious signs and symbols referring to the transcendent dimension of human existence from public space. Which of the two visions of organizing public life wins? The future shape of the Western world depends on the response to this question.

About the speaker

Mr. Zbigniew Stawrowski (born 1958 in Szczecin, Poland) is a political philosopher, professor at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsawand the director of the Tischner Institute in Cracow. He is the author of Państwo i prawo w filozofii Hegla [The State and its Rights in the Philosophy of Hegel] (1994), Prawo naturalne a ład polityczny [Natural Law and Political Order] (2006), Niemoralna demokracja [Immoral Democracy] (2008), Solidarność znaczy więź [Solidarity means a Bond] (2010), and Wokół idei wspólnoty, [Concerning the Idea of Community] (2012).

485 Days at Majdanek, Surviving a German Concentration Camp


About the Lecture:

Jerzy Kwiatkowski survived 485 days in the Majdanek concentration camp. Months after World War II ended, Jerzy began writing his reminiscence of the horrors he had witnessed. Over 50 years since the first Polish edition was released, an English translation of the gripping memoir has been published by the Hoover Institution Press. This new edition serves as the basis for a discussion of Jerzy Kwiatkowski’s early life, his camp experience, and his efforts to leave a written testament for his fellow prisoners who never left the gates of Majdanek.

About the speaker

Mr. Nicholas Siekierski is a Ph.D. candidate at the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. He is writing his dissertation on Herbert Hoover and the American Relief Administration in Poland after the First World War. He is also a translator.

“The Pygmy Among the Giants”? – Polish Eastern Policy in the Eyes of the British Political Elite (1919–1923)

About the lecture

The Treaty of Versailles established the new order in Western Europe, but its clauses did not bring peace to independent Poland. The young state was struggling with external threats. First of all, from Soviet Russia, the Ukrainian national self-determination was endangering the Polish state’s security; in 1919, the Polish-Lithuanian antagonism sprang to life. In reality, its political, social, and military situation was anything but “stable.” Those conditions made the Polish-British inter-state diplomatic relation the essential factor in Polish foreign policy.

This discussion attempts to explain the evolution of the British political elite’s perception of Polish Eastern policy. The speaker will introduce the British attitude towards Poland since the Peace Conference in Paris, which commenced its proceedings from 18th January 1919 until 15th March 1923, when Britain recognized Polish Eastern borders. The talk seeks to answer the following questions: what kind of factors—a geopolitical theory or a strategic necessity—determined British policy towards Polish Eastern policy? Moreover, what factors influenced the British approach towards Poland? Finally, according to the British officials, what role did the Eastern border’s recognition play in the Anglo-Polish reciprocal relationship? What was the importance of this fact in the perception of Poland’s role as one of the factors of stability in East-Central Europe?

About the speaker

Dr. Jolanta Mysiakowska carried out her graduate work at the University of Warsaw (2005). She has a doctorate in modern history from the Polish Academy of Sciences (2010). In 2015, she won a research grant from the Polonia Aid Foundation Trust. In 2020, she won a research grant from Lanckorońskis’ Foundation. Currently, she works with the Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw, Poland. She is also editor-in-chief of Glaukopis—a scholarly periodical produced in cooperation with The Institute of World Politics (Washington, D.C., USA).

She is a historian of 20th century Poland, with a particular interest in developing independent Poland after the First World War, its political and domestic situation, and its inter-state diplomatic relationship with Great Britain. She also has research interests in political ideology from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century—Member of British International Study Association and Britain and the World association.

Much of her recent research is focused on the perception of independent Poland among the British political and intellectual elite (1919–1926).

Boleslaw Piasecki’s Game for Life


About the lecture

Bolesław Piasecki is considered one of the most controversial Polish politicians of the 20th century. A few years ago, Dr. Wojciech J. Muszyński presented a critical review of one of Piasecki’s newer biographies at the Kościuszko Chair symposium at IWP. As Dr. Muszyński writes a biography of this politician, he will share his findings in this discussion. He will focus on one of the least known episodes in Piasecki’s biography – his eight-month stay in a communist prison at the turn of 1944-1945 and the meeting with Stalin’s governor in Poland’s occupied territories, NKVD General Iwan Sierow. This event, both mysterious and sensational, is considered the beginning of Piasecki’s agent involvement in cooperation with the Soviets and the foundation of his later position in communist Poland. Dr. Muszyński will try to verify this view and what these talks could have looked like, and whether Piasecki’s last activities’ agent-based nature is possible.

About the speaker

Dr. Wojciech J. Muszyński is a historian and a researcher at the Institute of National Remembrance (Warsaw, Poland). His research focuses on the history of political and ideological movements in the Second Polish Republic, Polish-Jewish relations, and military history. He is a Member of the Team to Assess Requests to Recognize Opposition Activity during the People’s Republic of Poland at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland. He is the author or co-author of many monographs, including Białe Legiony 1914–1918. Od Legionu Puławskiego do I Korpusu Polskiego (2018); Białe Legiony przeciwko bolszewikom. Polskie formacje wojskowe w Rosji 1918–1920 (2019), Toreadorzy Hitlera. Hiszpańscy ochotnicy w Wehrmachcie i Waffen-SS 1941–1945 (2019). He is also the co-author of the 2018 Award-Winning History Book on the history of the National Military Union, Przeciwko PAX Sovietica (2018).

Beyond Bravery: Poland in World War II

About the lecture

Poland is the “forgotten” Ally of World War II. The first of the Allies to fight Hitler, Poland was the only Ally invaded and occupied by two enemies—but it never surrendered, continuing the fight to the end.

Inside the country, Poland ran the largest non-communist resistance organization in occupied Europe, providing critical intelligence to the Allies. At the same time, outside the country, it fielded the fourth-largest Allied military force in the European Theater of the war—and for the most desperate year of the war, from June 1940, when France surrendered, to June 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Poland was Britain’s largest Ally.

Join us for this engaging multimedia overview of Poland’s role in World War II, richly illustrated with photographs and short films.

About the speaker

Ms. Terry Tegnazian is president of Aquila Polonica Publishing, an award-winning independent publisher based in Los Angeles, which specializes in publishing the Polish World War II experience in English. The company is a member of both the Association of American Publishers and the Independent Book Publishers Association. All its books to date have won one or more awards. Its books have garnered favorable reviews from major media such as  The New York Times, the Wall Street JournalThe Atlantic, The New Republic and Publishers Weekly. They have been chosen as Selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club, History Book Club, and Military Book Club; audio rights have been acquired by and Brilliance. Translation rights for various titles have been acquired by foreign publishers in a number of countries.

Ms. Tegnazian is a graduate of Brown University (A.B. magna cum laude, Applied Mathematics) and Yale Law School. She practiced law in Los Angeles for twelve years, specializing in complex transactions of motion picture financing, both U.S. and international, before founding Aquila Polonica. She has written about Poland in World War II for The Wall Street Journal Europe and the Warsaw Business Journal, she has been interviewed on national television, and she has presented numerous live programs in a wide range of venues, including museums and libraries, university courses, and Polish Consulates and Embassies. She has been honored with many awards for her work, including the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit by order of the Polish president.

The Art of Provocation


About the lecture

Revolutionary history abounds with ruse, deception, disinformation, manipulation, diversion, and a variety of devious mechanisms in the struggle by political visionaries, from gnostics to secret societies to anarchists to Marxists and others, to impose their utopian schemas on the unsuspecting.  A technique encompassing that genre of mayhem that stands out and has been raised to the level of art is provocation (provokatsiya in the Russian).  Provocation was a mainstay of the Tsarist counterintelligence service, the Okhrana, and then perfected up to the strategic level by the Soviet security services from the Cheka, through the KGB, and now to the FSB, SVR, the GRU of the Russian Federation.  And, of course, it prospers in other counterintelligence-state cultures as well, such as Islam and China.

Simply put, provocation is a key element of political warfare and is a characteristic of the counterintelligence-state. Provocation connotes operational counterintelligence techniques that create conditions to instigate real or imagined opponents — especially notional ones — into some action that will further the state’s objectives at the expense of the opponent(s).  The idea here is to instigate something that otherwise would not occur, control the opponent, and ultimately put him out of action – or, better yet, keep controlling him long-term for some other political or operational purpose. This may be at the tactical level (a double agent operation aimed at discrediting an enemy intelligence service) or at the strategic level (the Trust and WiN operations focused on both domestic enemies and foreign intelligence services simultaneously).

This presentation will focus on foundational examples of provocation up through recent instances where the art of provocation produced grand scale political, military and strategic outcomes beneficial to Marxist movements and regimes, and state-related terrorist structures.  It will also briefly examine how the art of provocation has entered into the ethos of western security/intelligence services as well.

About the speaker:

Dr. Jack Dziak is a consultant in the fields of intelligence, counterintelligence, counter-deception, and national security affairs. He has served over five decades as a company president and as a senior intelligence officer and senior executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the Defense Intelligence Agency, with long experience in counterintelligence, hostile deception, counter deception, strategic intelligence, weapons proliferation intelligence, and intelligence education. He received his Ph.D. in Russian history from Georgetown University, is a graduate of the National War College, and is a recipient of numerous defense and intelligence awards and citations. He was the co-developer and co-director of the master’s degree program in Strategic Intelligence at the Defense Intelligence School, the original predecessor to the current National Intelligence University. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of World Politics, and has taught at the National War College, National Intelligence University, Georgetown University, and The George Washington University; and lectures on intelligence, military affairs, and security issues throughout the US and abroad. Dr. Dziak is the author of the award-winning Chekisty: A History of the KGB, numerous other books, articles, and monographs, including The Military Relationship Between China and Russia, and Soviet Perceptions of Military Power. He currently is preparing a book on foreign counterintelligence systems.

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