Author Archives: IWP

Dr. Chodakiewicz speaks about property restitution in Poland

On Thursday, October 8, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz – the current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies – delivered a lecture entitled “Property Restitution: The Case of Poland After the Nazis and Communists.”

During his talk, Dr. Chodakiewicz dispelled many misconceptions about the restitution of property – Jewish property in particular – in Poland and explained the key role of the two totalitarian invaders that destroyed Poland during the Second World War and confiscated both Jewish and Christian property.

Marek Chodakiewicz discusses Poland’s anti-communist insurgency, 1944-1963

During this year’s annual Gen. Walter Jajko Kosciuszko Chair Military Lecture, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz discussed the various ways in which the underground anti-communist insurgency in Poland fought against Communist forces in the wake of the Second World War, and in later years against the Nazi Germans and Soviet Communists.

Dr. Chodakiewicz highlighted the response strategy used by the Communist Party, most notably the anti-insurgent communist deception and propaganda, an example of which was Andrzej Wajda’s anti-Home-Army film calledAshes and Diamonds (1958). The film was screened after the professor’s talk.

To give historical context to the movie and reveal the true intentions behind the production of the film, which was commissioned by the Communist Party as a propaganda tool, Dr. Chodakiewicz discussed several means of propaganda used by the party. Using the words of Joseph Stalin, “The writer is the engineer of the human soul,” Dr. Chodakiewicz revealed the power of art and film and its ability to manipulate the human soul and mind when used accordingly.

This event was sponsored by the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies, and took place on September 25, 2015.

The Rising Tide of Third World Refugees and the Plight of NATO’s Southeastern Flank

by Marek Chodakiewicz
from the website of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research

The Hungarians and others argue that for economic and cultural reasons they simply cannot accommodate the new comers. The Magyars refuse to succumb to the social engineering schemes of Brussels and prefer their country just the way it is. We should watch the European debate very carefully because it also concerns our own problems on America’s southern border. It is not Nazism to wish to protect the nation’s frontier and to uphold its cultural essence. Patriots defend their countries from all enemies: foreign and domestic.

Hungary and most other Balkan countries are both NATO and EU members. An unprecedented influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa has put a serious strain on the relationship between the military alliance and the political union. On the one hand, defense considerations necessitate internal and external stability among NATO’s participants. On the other hand, political realities require following the EU’s ideological diktat by the member states. This puts the alliance on a serious collision course with the union.

Brussels’ standing political policy is de facto open borders reflecting Europe’s dominant liberal ideology: multiculturalism. During the summer of 2015 multiculturalism encouraged a wave of migrants from the south. Desperate refugees search for a better life. Their home countries are usually dysfunctional and, at worst, like Syria, torn asunder by war. Until recently, the bulk of them came in a trickle and then spurts via Spain and Italy. The Spaniards and Italians felt overwhelmed by thousands and then tens on thousands. Now, hundreds of thousands are pouring into Europe.

Almost all refuse to stay in the south of the EU. They push north. A general impression is that these refugees have been welfare shopping. A few weeks ago a contingent of them refused to disembark from a ferry in Denmark, which has slashed its welcome benefits by half. When compelled to leave the vessel, they proceeded by foot, bicycle, train, and taxi to Sweden, which has maintained its generous subsidies. For similar reasons, they tend to spurn France in favor of England. London is viewed as more bountiful than Paris. Some travelers are detained by the authorities, including in the infamous “Jungle” camp of Calais. The situation is so dire that the bureaucrats even consider establishing filtration, or intermediate camps for prospective migrants in Niger. That may perhaps attract some sub-Saharan African asylum seekers but others are not fooled. They want their feet planted firmly on EU territory.

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Dr. Chodakiewicz lectures throughout Europe

Zrobione przy użyciu Lumia Selfie

Zrobione przy użyciu Lumia Selfie

At the end of August, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz returned from a lecture circuit in Europe, which has become an annual Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies tradition. The lecture series was dubbed “The Thoughts of a Free Pole” to emphasize the importance of liberty – i.e. active initiative vs. slavish passivity – in the struggle to overcome communist and post-communist pathologies.

During his three-week tour, Dr. Chodakiewicz spoke in many cities in Poland, including: Warsaw, Łódź (where he discussed post-communist “transformation”), Wrocław, Bełchatów, and Łomża. The holder of the Kościuszko Chair also delivered lectures in London (UK) and Dublin (Ireland), where he discussed the history of Polish-Jewish relations in Poland in 1918 – 1955.

For an additional video of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s lecture in Warsaw, please click here.

To watch an interview with Dr. Chodakiewicz about nuclear weapons and the Intermarium, please click here.

Zrobione przy użyciu Lumia Selfie

Zrobione przy użyciu Lumia Selfie

Poland’s role in the European refugee crisis

In his “Eastern Europe’s Crisis of Shame” (September 13, Princeton’s sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross chastised Eastern European nations, Poland in particular, for failing to address the current Middle Eastern refugee crisis properly. According to him, Poland has rejected the migrants. To provide a moral dimension and a historical context to contemporary developments, Gross opined that “the Poles… actually killed more Jews than Germans during the war.” Neither his historical musings nor his understanding of the current crisis square with the facts.

A New York newspaper has asked Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz to comment:

Jan Tomasz Gross writes nonsense. However, he does regurgitate a thesis that has enjoyed a long currency among a few Jewish ethnonationalist historians. For example, Reuben Ainsztein stated some years ago that “during the [Warsaw 1944] uprising Polish fascists killed most likely more Jews than Germans.” (See his Jewish Resistance in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, London 1974).

Let’s see.  During the Warsaw Rising the Germans and their allies lost about 10,000 casualties. Thus, according to Ainsztein, the Polish Home Army (AK) must have killed over 10,000 Jews. Gross’s methodology is similarly unsound as it is based upon a spurious estimate that the Polish peasants killed allegedly 200,000 Jews during the war.

Further, such shoddy “scholarship” co-exists hand in glove with poor command of current affairs in Europe. Gross claims that Poland and other Eastern and Central European countries have refused to take refugees and, thus, “have revealed themselves to be intolerant, illiberal, xenophobic, and incapable of remembering the spirit of solidarity that carried them to freedom a quarter-century ago.” This is untrue. The Poles have welcomed refugees. According to the New York Times (30 May 2015), there are at least 400,000 Ukrainian war fugitives in Poland. Additional hundreds of thousands of migrants rotate through Poland for seasonal work to return home afterwards. What does the rest of Europe do for them?

As far as the Middle Eastern and African refugees are concerned,

  1. According to the Dublin Regulation (no. 604/2013), the first EU country to accept a migrant is responsible for his processing, maintenance, and settlement. Since most of them cross into Greece, Athens should take care of them.
  2. It is true that other nations should accept the refugees, in particular wealthy Arab states, including Saudi Arabia. They can afford it, and they should help their co-religionists in the first place.
  3. One could also suggest that Israel take them for humanitarian and logistical reasons. The Jewish state abuts Syria and has a long history of aid to foreign people in times of crisis (e.g., in Haiti). Perhaps a moral argument can be made that history dictates that Israel should render assistance to those in need since the Jewish people often had to count on others for help.

Moral blackmail with alleged Polish mass murders on the Jewish people is as morally flawed as endeavors to force Israel to settle Syrian refugees with a vicious propaganda campaign comparing Israeli policy toward the Palestinians to the Nazi measures against the Jews.

The case of J.T. Gross shows the frightful collapse of scholarly standards in the humanities and social sciences at a formerly prime institution of learning. Shame on Princeton.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

Refugee Crisis

Refugee crisis 2

refugee crisis 3

Prof. Paul Goble on the Intermarium and Poland’s new president

In his recent “Window on Eurasia” blog post, Prof. Paul Goble, emphasized the importance of the first foreign trip made by Poland’s newly-elected center-right president, Andrzej Duda, to the Baltic nation of Estonia.

According to Prof. Goble, this signals a return to Poland’s traditional neo-Jagiellonian foreign policy aiming to integrate the nations of Central and Eastern Europe (the Intermarium) into a geopolitical bloc that could constitute the counterweight to Russian and German power in the region. He has also mentioned Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz’s trail-blazing monograph, Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012).

By Going to Tallinn on August 23, Poland’s Duda Begins Forming Intermarium
-Paul Goble

By going to Tallinn rather than Berlin on his first foreign trip and by doing so on August 23rd, the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that led to the occupation of Poland and the Baltic countries, Polish President Andrzej Duda has taken a major step toward the formation of an alliance of the countries in between Germany and Russia.

To continue reading this article please visit Prof. Goble’s blog.

Foreign policy of Polish President Andrzej Duda echoes lessons from Kosciuszko Chair conference

by Timothy Krol

On August 6th, 2015, the government of Poland swore in its new President Andrzej Duda, who firmly beat the former President Bronislaw Komorowski in this year’s election. Mr. Duda, who faces a considerable challenge in regards to foreign policy as he takes office, is working to implement policy ideas that were shared at IWP’s Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium this past April.

In his inaugural address to the Congress of Poland, President Duda spoke mainly about a major foreign relations problem for Poland: the current conflict in Eastern Ukraine, where Russian intervention is worrying for Poland due to its history of often being a victim of Russian aggression. To counter this threat, Mr. Duda outlined his “four pillars” of defense for Poland, which include the expansion of defense capabilities, further modernization of the armed forces, cooperation with NATO, and deeper defense integration within the European Union.

These plans echo the suggestions made by experts on the region at the recent Kosciuszko Chair conference, which was entitled “Between Russia and NATO: Security Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe,” and took place on April 25.

During this event, Dr. Sebastian Gorka called for greater NATO involvement on the eastern flank of NATO countries, and noted that the flexing of NATO muscle in the east is a way to show Russia that the organization is serious about its “attack on one is an attack on all” policy. Moreover, President Duda’s new policy includes a key element that, as Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz noted at the conference, has been neglected by the countries of Central Europe throughout the history of the region: greater defense cooperation against a common enemy. Dr. Chodakiewicz pointed out that in the Interbellum period of the early 20th century, the countries of Central Europe focused their defense policies on small regional squabbles rather than the looming threat of Soviet Russia. Uniting these nations, which are now part of the European Union, is an integral part of Europe’s defense against any possible Russian aggression.

Mr. Duda seems not to be repeating the mistakes of his predecessors by making deeper partnerships with EU and NATO countries a core component of his new foreign policy. It seems that Mr. Duda has taken these suggestion to heart and is focused on making both Poland as well as NATO a more secure, and unified front against foreign aggression.


About Poland and the Poles

Zdzisław (Richard) Zakrzewski (1919 – 2013) was a Polish-American optical engineer, philanthropist, banker, a veteran of Poland’s defensive struggle in September 1939 and the Battle of Narvik, and a social and political activist – a true polymath and hero. Mr. Zakrzewski was also a great friend of The Institute of World Politics and a generous supporter of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies. We are thus making available a PDF of his book, O Polsce i Polakach [About Poland and the Poles] (Warsaw: Ronin, 1996), in which Mr. Zakrzewski reflected on the past, present, and future of his homeland and the meaning of “Polishness” in an increasingly dynamic and constantly evolving world.

For short biographies of Mr. Zakrzewski please see Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz’s “In Memoriam” article and an English-language Wikipedia entry dedicated to him.

Please click here to download his book: O Polsce i Polakach – Zakrzewski

Paul Coyer discusses Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church

On June 9, Dr. Paul Coyer, a Forbes foreign policy columnist, delivered an Intermarium Series lecture at The Institute of World Politics entitled “Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church.” The lecture, which was sponsored by IWP’s Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, focused on a recent article by the speaker, entitled “(Un)Holy Alliance: Vladimir Putin, The Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Exceptionalism.”

Dr. Coyer began by noting that it can be easy to sympathize with the Russian Orthodox Church, which claims to preserve tradition and uphold moral values. He then described the complexities and various dimensions of the Church’s involvement with the Russian state.

Orthodoxy is not viewed by Russians in the same way that religion is widely viewed in the West. For example, Dr. Coyer noted, 30 percent of respondents in Russia who self-identified as Orthodox simultaneously also identified as atheists. Dr. Coyer explained that Orthodoxy in post-Soviet Russia is a matter of culture and identity, not necessarily the belief in a Supreme Being.

In addition, the speaker described Vladimir Putin’s attempts to increase the strength of the Russian Orthodox Church, with over 20,000 churches being built from 2000 onwards. He argued that this resurgence in the Church’s strength added to Russian exceptionalism and nationalism. Russia has an advantage in its citizens’ mindsets, in that they are more fiercely dedicated to their homeland. By contrast, a 2015 Pew Research Center poll found that Europeans overwhelmingly would not be willing to fight for their countries.

Dr. Coyer maintained that, even without Putin, the conflict between Russia and the West will not fade away. One of the reasons is that culture, including that of Russian Orthodoxy, is at stake. He asserted that a serious confrontation of the West with Russia is increasingly likely.

Dr. Coyer covers international affairs, with a focus on Eurasia, in his Forbes column. He has spent time in academia, having graduate degrees from Yale University and the London School of Economics. His PhD, from the LSE, was on Sino-American relations and diplomatic history. From 2007-2013, he was a visiting scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and he served as a visiting lecturer on Chinese foreign policy and Sino-American relations at the University of Florence, Italy, in 2011 and 2012. He has lived and worked in several locations around the world, including Shanghai, where he did macro-economic research on China’s development and edited a book on the Shanghai stock exchange that was jointly published by JPMorgan and the South China Morning Post, and in Hong Kong, where he did a brief stint in banking for Deutsche Bank.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s letter to The New York Times on Poland’s presidential election

On Sunday, May 24, the second round of the presidential elections in Poland saw the victory of Andrzej Duda, the candidate of the largest opposition party (Law and Justice, or “PiS”) in the country, over the liberal post-communist incumbent, Bronisław Komorowski. This political shift in the Central European nation prompted The New York Times – which has a long record of biased and skewed coverage of events in Poland – to mislabel Mr. Duda’s party as “right-wing,” thereby implicitly accusing Law and Justice of extremism. To correct this distortion, Dr. Chodakiewicz wrote a letter to the daily’s editors. Since the paper chose not to publish his comments, we are posting the text of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s letter below.


To call Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) “right-wing” is a stretch (as you did in your coverage of the recent presidential elections). It is a statist party, combining many traditions. Its leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, himself is a pragmatic who sprang from the progressive, left-wing milieu of Warsaw’s radical intelligentsia with cosmopolitan Odessa roots. In addition to its mild anti-Communism, PiS has evolved to combine a strong “social justice” message, an appeal to patriotism, a pledge to strengthen the nation’s defense, a record of lower taxes, opposition to “unbridled capitalism,” and an avowed social and cultural conservatism. In many ways, PiS reflects the legacy of Solidarity’s grass roots, but not some of its globalist elites. The closest domestic analogy would be American blue collar trade unionism in the 1980s under Lane Kirkland, I guess, or “Reagan Democrats.”