Iron Felix: The Early Days of Feliks Dzierżyński (1877-1926)

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This lecture event is part of the 11th Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium in honor of Lady Blanka Rosenstiel sponsored by the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies and the Center for Intermarium studies. Lady Blanka Rosenstiel and the American Institute of Polish Culture (AIPC) established the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies at IWP in 2008. The Kościuszko Chair serves as a center for Polish Studies in the broadest sense, including learning, teaching, researching, and writing about Poland's culture, history, heritage, religion, government, economy, and successes in the arts, sciences, and letters, with special emphasis on the achievements of Polish civilization and its relation to other nations, particularly the United States. We remain grateful for Lady Blanka’s leadership in founding this Chair at IWP. About the lecture: Feliks Dzierzynski was a Polish Catholic nobleman, a social democrat, and a monster. He committed national apostasy to advance his international utopian ideas. Having embraced a socialist revolution, he followed the logical path to death and mayhem. His destiny led him to establish and lead Soviet Russia’s secret police, the dreaded Cheka and its avatars. However, the roots of his murderous pathologies reach his teen years when he abandoned the Catholic faith and the cause of Poland’s independence in favor of extreme leftism. He increasingly alienated himself from his background, rejected his inheritance, and transformed himself, first, into an internationalist and, then, into a Soviet Russian chauvinist. Our story focuses on the first stage of the monster’s transformation. Rejecting all that was decent, Dzierzynski embarked on a journey of no return to Communist utopia. About the speaker: Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz holds The Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies at The Institute of World Politics and leads IWP’s Center for Intermarium Studies. At IWP, he also serves as a Professor of History and teaches courses on Geography and Strategy, Contemporary Politics and Diplomacy, Russian Politics and Foreign Policy, and Mass Murder Prevention in Failed and Failing States. He is the author of Intermarium: The Land Between the Black and Baltic Seas and numerous other books and articles. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and has previously taught at the University of Virginia and Loyola Marymount University.

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