Maria Juczewska was the 2018-2019 Research Fellow in Polish Studies and a graduate in Statecraft and International Affairs at The Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. She researched and wrote a report entitled “Witold Pilecki: The Unsung Hero of Polish WWII Intelligence,” and subsequently adapted it into three curricular units with primary resource activities for the middle school and high school students. The draft monograph on the life of Witold Pilecki and an educational module is currently under final review by Mrs. Juczewska and will become available for online reading by the end of the year.
Mrs. Juczewska chose to tell the story of Witold Pilecki as her primary focus of her fellowship program to shed light on the manipulative and brutal nature of the communist regime. Mrs. Juczewska’s monograph was accompanied by three educational components to be adapted to structured lesson plans for middle and high school students. The components consist of:
1) The description of Witold Pilecki’s character to explain the complexity of the systematic effort deriving from the long tradition of Christian values in Poland to protect the Jewish population in the country.
2) The heroic, voluntary achievements of Witold Pilecki risking his life to gather critical intelligence about the Auschwitz concentration camp and build underground Polish resistance.
3) The detailed explanation of the Soviet-designed show trials of opposition leaders such as Witold Pilecki under false accusations to show the horrors of the totalitarian regime.
In addition to the monograph and educational module, Mrs. Juczewska presented a lecture on the life and legacy of Witold Pilecki to VOC staff. There is an ongoing discussion between Mrs. Juczewska and VOC’s Director of Fellowship Programs Milda Mataciunaite-Boyce and Director of Academic Programs Ken Pope about potential ways to incorporate her research into Foundations’ educational programming and continue collaboration as a Polish Studies Program Alumni and Mentor to the incoming classes of Fellows.