5/2-5/3 Conference: Toward Freedom: Celebrating Central and Eastern European Independence

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the convening of Toward Freedom: Celebrating Central and Eastern European Independence, a conference generously supported by the Polish National Foundation.


The conference will explore the character of and differences in the political, social, economic, and cultural independence of Central and Eastern European countries during the interwar period, World War II, the Cold War, and post-1989 era.


This is a free event; however, registration is required to attend the keynote luncheon. Panel sessions are open to the public. You can register for either day or both, but must do so separately.




Featuring keynote remarks by:

  • Mark Kramer, director of the Cold War Studies program at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and consulting editor and translator of The Black Book of Communism.
  • Dr. Padraic Kenney, professor of history at Indiana University Bloomington, and author of 1989: Democratic Revolutions at the Cold War’s Endand The Burdens of Freedom: Eastern Europe Since 1989.

For more information or questions about registration please contact the director of academic programs, Dr. Murray Bessette, at murray.bessette@victimsofcommunism.org or the senior research fellow in Polish Studies, Professor Wlodzimierz Batog, at wlodzimierz.batog@victimsofcommunism.org.


Program Schedule

May 2, 2019

11:00-12:00PM—Registration Opens


12:00-1:30PM—Keynote Luncheon, “Political Imprisonment in Communist Poland: a comparative perspective”

  • Dr. Padraic Kenney


1:45-3:13PM—Communism, Anticommunism, and Postcommunism

  • Dr. Delia Popescu
  • Amb. Martin Palous
  • Dr. Jonathan Pidluzny


3:30-5:00PM—Raising the Iron Curtain: Civil Society, Resistance, and the Struggle for Freedom

  • Ms. Daniela Ionescu
  • Dr. Christian Philip Peterson
  • Dr. Jakub Tyszkiewicz


May 3, 2019

9:00-10:30AM—The Kuklinski Museum Discussion Series: 30 Years After the Fall of Communism in Europe

  • Dr. Charles Lipson will moderate a discussion with former Polish Defense Minister and dissident hero Antoni Macierewicz; retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Tom Cosentino; and Reagan biographer Steven Hayward


10:45-12:15PM-Everyday Life in an Unreal Reality: Communism in Poland

  • Dr. Dariusz Jarosz
  • Dr. Ewelina Szpak
  • Dr. Joanna Wojdon

12:30-2:00PM—Keynote Luncheon, “How the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe Disintegrated”

  • Mark Kramer


2:15-3:45PM—From Ideological Enforcement to Academic Freedom

  • Dr. Wlodzimierz Batog
  • Dr. Richard Farkas
  • Dr. Tomasz Kozlowski
  • Dr. A. James McAdams