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IWP professor interviewed on Polish radio

On Thursday, 26 May 2011, IWP professor history and current holder of the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, has been interviewed on Poland’s Radio “Wnet.”

The two topics discussed were current US foreign policy and the history of Polish-Jewish relations.

Dr. Chodakiewicz commented on President Obama’s latest visit to Europe. The trip included Poland, although the media in the United States placed greater emphasis on his visit to the UK and Ireland.  Dr. Chodakiewicz pointed out that, at the beginning of his presidency, Obama strove to reverse his predecessor’s policy of a “special relationship” with the UK and closer ties with what Donald Rumsfeld dubbed as the “New Europe.” Obama preferred to cultivate Brussels and the Berlin-Moscow axis instead. Given the sterility of this policy, it is possible that Washington may seek to revert to Bush’s approach toward Europe.  Yet, it should not come as a surprise if the Poles, for instance, demonstrate considerably less enthusiasm this time around.  After all, many felt betrayed by Obama’s initial change of course, including his decision to refrain from installing the Missile Shield in Poland, announced on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, launched in alliance with the Nazis.

Prof. Chodakiewicz adds that relations may be further strained if President Obama applies pressure on the intensely problematic issue of Jewish property restitution.  Will the President succumb to the temptation to use restitution as a damage-control tool to salvage his image among Jewish-American voters following his statement regarding Israel’s need to return to 1967 borders?

Last but not least, Dr. Chodakiewicz spoke about his latest book – Hearts of Gold or a Golden Harvest? – co-authored along with Dr. Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński from Poland’s Institute of National Memory.  This Polish-language publication emphasizes the individualistic aspect of Polish-Jewish relations during and directly following the Second World War and clarifies that neither heroism nor collaboration were the social norm. The book therefore eschews political correctness, collectivistic stereotypes, and shrill sensationalism (to purchase, please click here). The English-language version is forthcoming.

To listen to the entire broadcast in Polish, please click here.