Michael B. Ryan (1940-2020)

The anti-communist cause lost a dedicated champion with the passing of 80-year-old Michael B. Ryan, former chairman of the National Captive Nations Committee and vice chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Michael first learned about the victims and crimes of communism as a student of Professor Lev Dobriansky at Georgetown University, author of the famous 1959 Congressional Resolution that designated the third week of July as National Captive Nations Week.  He and Professor Dobriansky, a co-founder of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, forged a close friendship and collaborated on many anti-communist activities.

Every July, Michael Ryan proudly walked in the captive nations parade up Fifth Avenue in New York City and attended the special memorial mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He was present at the July 1976 Statue of Liberty Rally and attended the historic dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial by President George W. Bush in June 2007 in Washington, D.C.

Michael earned his juris doctorate at Fordham Law School and practiced law in New Jersey where he was active in the Republican Party. He participated in many successful campaigns at the local, county, state and federal level.  His proudest moment came when his daughter Michelle was elected to the Harrington Park Council.  Michael was the long-time parliamentarian of the Bergen County Republican Organization—few people challenged his rulings always delivered in a rich resonant baritone.

A sought-after public speaker, Michael Ryan always reminded audiences of the 100 million victims of communism and urged them to join the crusade for the freedom and independence of all the captive nations and peoples. He will be sorely missed by anti-communists everywhere especially in his home state of New Jersey.