Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation announces Polish studies program



The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of our Polish Studies Program in partnership with the Polish National Foundation. The Program will support two ten-month residential research fellowships and related publications and events, as well as the convening of a Polish Studies Conference in Washington, DC. Topics of research will include the history of communism and anticommunism in Poland, post-communist transition, and the legacy of communism in the region.

“The twentieth and twenty-first century history of Poland, can be seen as a microcosm of Western history: it is the story of freedom’s suppression by the imperial forces of Nazism and communism and liberty’s eventual rebirth,” says Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “Understanding Polish history can help us to understand how these competing totalitarian movements sought to suppress the free individual and how free government can be reestablished in their wake, as well as how liberty must be defended against the ideas and forces of tyranny.”

“We are honored to partner with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and proud to support the Foundation's mission,” said Maciej Swirski, vice-president of the Polish National Foundation. “We hope that the creation of the Polish Studies Program at VOC, which coincides with the one-hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining independence, may serve as an inspiration to other nations that experienced the brutality of communist regimes. VOC presents all of us with a unique opportunity to rescue the identities of communism’s 100 million victims from the memory void, and to plant the flags of all forty nations that suffered under the yoke of communism to weave our individual stories into one coherent historical account. We can do it one victim and one nation at a time. We cannot change the past, but we can uphold the truth and help the Free World learn from our history—we can do it as scholars, as witnesses, as citizens. That is where we see the greatest value of the VOC Polish Studies Program.”

To read more about VOC's other country studies programs, click here. For more information on applying for the position of research fellowships, please click here or contact Director of Academic Programs, Dr. Murray Bessette, at or 202-629-9500.