Overview

In partnership with the Polish National Foundation, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation established a Polish Studies program consisting of two 10-month, residential research fellowships to support publications and events aimed at understanding Polish history. The 20th and 21st century history of Poland can be seen as a microcosm of Western history: it is the story of freedom’s suppression by the forces of Nazism and Communism and liberty’s eventual rebirth. Understanding how these totalitarian systems oppressed the Polish people and how free government was reestablished in their wake better ensures our present and future endeavors to defend liberty against the ideas and forces of tyranny.

Publications

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Monika Jablonska as the 2022 VOC Senior Fellow in Polish Studies. Jablonska joins other VOC Scholars as part of our growing Polish Studies Program, created in…

Who was John Paul II? John Paul II is greatly remembered for his spiritual and political role in the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. The impact that his words and courage brought to Poland during his 1979…

Executive Summary The monograph Witold Pilecki – The Unsung Hero of Polish WWII Intelligence discusses the heroic life and achievements of a formidable Polish intelligence operator, Captain Witold Pilecki. He was the man who volunteered for Auschwitz to gather intelligence…

These articles were written by Monika Brzozowska-Pasieka, Ph.D., 2020-2021 VOC Senior Research Fellow in Poland Studies. The Secret Soviet Genocide of WWII In the spring of 1940, at least 21,787 Polish people (mostly the Polish intelligentsia and high-ranking Polish soldiers,…

On November 19, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation hosted its 2021 Polish Studies Conference, “The End(s) of Communism: Paths to De-Communization in the Former Eastern Bloc.” The event brought together scholars, international affairs experts, and supporters from across the globe to discuss the peaceful collapse…

Book summary: “This volume examines to what extent the positive atmosphere created by the Helsinki Accords contributed to the change in political circumstances seen in the countries of Central Europe under Soviet domination. It focuses in particular on-firstly-a consequent a…

Excerpt: This week marks two widely ignored, yet important, anniversaries. One hundred years ago, on Aug. 25, 1920, Vladimir Lenin’s invasion of Europe was defeated as the Battle of Warsaw came to a decisive end, a victory known in Poland as…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On this day, 81 years ago, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a pact of non-aggression. “The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and nearly two years of cooperation between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the world marks the 100th anniversary of the decisive Battle of Warsaw when the Polish people stopped Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik invasion of Europe. In a foreshadow of NATO, free governments in Europe—and even volunteer military units…

Comedy, according to Sigmund Freud, allows people to express forbidden thoughts. Under communism, this naturally transgressive genre faces an additional hurdle—communist jokes are only funny if everyone gets them. The comedic filmmakers of communist Poland, such as Marek Piwowski and…