World War II: Witnesses and Memory – Liberators and Liberated - Instytut Pileckiego



28.01.2021 (Thu) 18:00

World War II: Witnesses and Memory – Liberators and Liberated

We invite you to a new series of international webinars organized by the Pilecki Institute of Warsaw, Poland and and the National World War II Museum of New Orleans, USA.

The series entitled “World War II: Witnesses and Memory” will cover: “Liberators and Liberated,” “Witnessing the Outbreak,” and “Memory Wars.”   

The series will launch on January 28th, the day after the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, with the first program, “Liberators and Liberated.” Chaired by John Cornell from the Pilecki Institute, the panel will include the National WWII Museum’s Senior Historian, Robert Citino, PhD, President and CEO Emeritus of The National WWII Museum, Gordon “Nick” Mueller, PhD and Wojciech Kozłowski, PhD, the Director of the Pilecki Institute.

Join us for an engaging roundtable discussion regarding the experiences of those who did the liberating and those who were liberated in Europe, 1945, and how institutions and scholars preserve and teach this history.

The conference will be held on the zoom platform and live on FB. Simultaneous interpretation in Polish will be provided. To register for the event, please follow the link:  

6.00 pm Warsaw, Poland

11.00 am Central U.S.

The war in Europe broke out in 1939 in Nazi-Germany’s violent attempt to build a continental empire that would install a new European order. This order rested upon racial ideologies that prescribed domination to the German nation and condemned other nations to slavery. The destruction of Polish state carved an area of anarchy and lawlessness wherein Nazi-German genocidal policies could particularly thrive.

German war-effort was fueled with slave labor of millions of people filling gaps in German economy as the war tide shifted and military draft intensified exponentially to replace losses on the Eastern front. The sense of enslavement, humiliation and powerlessness was overwhelming in Nazi-controlled Europe, especially in the East and among those hundreds of thousands imprisoned in all forms of labor, concentration and death camps.

Liberation came too late for many of them. For others, who survived long enough to see their oppressors flee, it arrived along the advance of the Allied or Soviet troops. On Jan 27, 1945 the Red Army units entered Auschwitz, which will later become a symbol of the Holocaust and German wartime atrocities. In the west, American and British forces would encounter smaller and larger camps, and their soldiers would confront first-hand with the horrifying reality of Nazi-devised enslavement. Liberators met liberated and for diverse reasons these moments profoundly affected members of either groups.

This encounter – of a soldier of a victorious army with a victim of totalitarian brutality – becomes a point of departure for a fascinating exchange about how different experiences and memories of war can be and what it means for us today.

The panelists:
?Wojciech Kozłowski, PhD, is the director of the Pilecki Institute, a research institution based in Warsaw, and the chief editor of its scholarly journal "Totalitarian and 20th Century Studies". He holds Ph.D. in medieval studies from Central European University and M.A. in history from the University of Warsaw. He was a fellow at the New Europe College and a visiting scholar at the Department of History at Harvard.

?Robert Citino, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian. Dr. Citino is an award-winning military historian and scholar who has published ten books including "The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943", "Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942", and "The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich" and numerous articles covering World War II and 20th century military history. He speaks widely and contributes regularly to general readership magazines such as "World War II". Dr. Citino enjoys close ties with the U.S. military establishment, and taught one year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and two years at the U.S. Army War College.

?Gordon “Nick” Mueller. PhD, is President and CEO Emeritus of The National WWII Museum. Dr. Mueller assisted historian Stephen Ambrose in founding the institution, initially known as The National D-Day Museum, and led the organization as Chairman of the Board from 1998 through its fundraising and construction to the Grand Opening on June 6, 2000. His appointment as full-time President and CEO has allowed him to shape the Museum’s development, image and outreach. He has played a lead role in raising more than $280 million for a $400 million expansion on three blocks of downtown New Orleans. Mueller assumed the President and CEO Emeritus position in July 2017 as Executive Vice President and COO Stephen Watson became the Museum’s chief executive. Before stepping into his second career in the museum world, Dr. Mueller enjoyed a 33-year career as Professor of European History at the University of New Orleans. During his tenure there he also served as Dean, Vice Chancellor and founding President of the Research and Technology Park. He is known as founder of UNO’s Metropolitan College, its regional campuses, Business-Higher Education Council, and the university’s International Study Programs, sending over 10,000 students to 10 countries for study abroad since 1973. He also served in leadership positions with national higher education associations and is a member of the University Continuing Education Hall of Fame. His passions include travel, snow skiing and sailing. Dr. Mueller earned his Bachelor’s degree at Stetson University, an MA and PhD at the University of North Carolina, and has done postgraduate work at Yale, Harvard, and several European Universities.

?John Cornell, PhD, received his Bachelors in Music from the University of California, Berkeley, and continued his studies in Modern European History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his PhD there in 1997, specializing in modern French musical culture. He moved to Warsaw in 2008, and has been working with the Pilecki Institute since 2016, aiding with programs such as their database of post-war testimonies "Chronicles of Terror" and directing their workshop series "English in Academia". As an adjunct with the Institute's Center for the Study of Totalitarianisms, his current research projects concern relations between the Polish Government-in-Exile and the British Government during the Second World War, and the work of the Polish Government with the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

ABOUT THE National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.
A Private, 501(c)3 Institution designated by Congress as the official WWII museum of the United States, The National WWII Museum is located in downtown New Orleans on a six-acre campus, where five soaring pavilions house historical exhibits, on-site restoration work, a period dinner theater, its own hotel and restaurants.
New Orleans is home to the LCVP, or Higgins boat, the landing craft that brought US soldiers to shore in every major amphibious assault of World War II. Andrew Jackson Higgins and the 30,000 Louisiana workers of Higgins Industries designed, built and tested 20,000 Higgins boats in southeastern Louisiana during the war. Dwight Eisenhower once claimed that Higgins was "the man who won the war for us."
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The Pilecki Institute is a modern scholarly institution engaged in a broad range of research, exhibitional, educational and cultural initiatives. “Called by the Name”, the Virtus et Fraternitas Medal, the Berlin exhibition devoted to Witold Pilecki, and the “Chronicles of Terror” are only some of its undertakings. Each of these projects, however, encourages a deeper reflection on the impact which the long-term criminal presence of German and Soviet totalitarianism had on Polish society and the Polish state. The mission of the Pilecki Institute also includes the organization of activities and events outside the borders of Poland, and therefore on 16 September 2018 we officially opened our branch in Berlin. This gives us the opportunity of developing cooperation with German institutions of culture and science, and improving the quality of archival research.

See also