Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Born (1962-07-15) July 15, 1962 (age 57)
Warsaw, Poland
OccupationHistorian, opinions writer
GenreWorld War II history

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (born July 15, 1962) is a Polish-American historian specializing in Central European history of the 19th and 20th centuries.[1] He teaches at the Patrick Henry College and at the Institute of World Politics. He has been described as conservative[2] and nationalistic,[3][2][4] and his attitude towards minorities have been widely criticized.[5][6][7][8]

Academic career[edit]

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was born in Warsaw, Poland. He earned a B.A. degree from the San Francisco State University in 1988, a M.Phil. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. with distinction from Columbia University in 2001. His Ph.D. thesis was entitled: Accommodation and Resistance: A Polish County Kraśnik during the Second World War and its Aftermath, 1939-1947. Between 2001 and 2003 Chodakiewicz was an assistant professor at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville as the holder of the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies of the Miller Center of Public Affairs. In 2003, Chodakiewicz was appointed Research Professor of History and in 2004 Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, where he teaches and conducts research on East Central Europe and Russia.[9] His areas of expertise include History, Democracy Building, Communism, American Foreign Policy and International Relations. Since 2008, he has also held the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies at IWP. Chodakiewicz has also served as Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Patrick Henry College since 2008.[10]

In 2003, Chodakiewicz received the Józef Mackiewicz Literary Prize in Warsaw,[11] for his two-volume book of history entitled Ejszyszki.[12] According to Chodakiewicz his work refutes Yaffa Eliach's allegations of a 1944 post-liberation pogrom in Eišiškės against Jews by the Polish Home Army, in which Eliach said she survived beneath the body of her mother and baby brother who were shot multiple times after being discovered hiding in a closet, and as promoted in the American media and her book.[13][14][15][16][17] Per Chodakiewicz Jewish bystanders were killed accidentally during an "anti-Soviet assault by the underground", and not in a pogrom. However, per Chodakiewicz "unfortunately, and quite typically, unlike the charges, the refutation received no publicity in the American media".[18][19] Chodakiewicz's publication was reviewed positively in the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, whose editor Adam Michnik had previously called Eliach's account an "insult" to Poland.[20][21]

In April 2005, Chodakiewicz was appointed by President George W. Bush for a 5-year term to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Controversy erupted towards the end of his term over Chodakiewicz's claims in several publications that Polish nationalists who murdered Jews after the Holocaust were not motivated by Antisemitism.[22] Chodakiewicz's appointment was criticized by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which said Chodakiewicz had published in far-right Polish publications.[7] In addition, the British anti-racism organization, Hope not Hate, has said Chodakiewicz is a frequent commentator for right-wing Polish media.[22][23]

Chodakiewicz is associated with the Polish National Foundation,[24] a "quasi-public organization funded by state-owned corporations to promote Poland's reputation abroad."[25] Within a period of two years, Chodakiewicz and his family received more than $250,000 from the foundation's funds.[26]

Reviews and critical assessment[edit]

Reviewing After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Conflict in the Wake of World War II (2003), Antony Polonsky wrote: "like the author's earlier book, Żydzi i Polacy 1918-1955... this volume is intended to correct 'anti-Polish stereotypes' (p. 347), and it does not rise above the clichés of old-fashioned nationalist apologetics." He criticizes Chodakiewicz for his simplistic view of the situation in post-war Poland, for ignoring the widespread antisemitism at the time and for equating Polish and Jewish "groups", despite the latter being utterly decimated during the Holocaust. He ends his critique noting that "what is most striking about this book is the lack of empathy with those caught up in these tragic events."[27]

Reviewing The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, and After (2005) on the Jedwabne pogrom, Peter Stachura in a very positive review described the book as meticulous and well researched.[28] In contrast, Joanna Michlic in her review writes that the book presents "intellectually and morally unacceptable interpretations", being part of a "ethno-nationalist historiography" trend that promotes "an image of Poland as only heroic, suffering, noble, and innocent".[3] Piotr Wróbel in his review, says that Chodakiewicz's aim, as stated in the introduction, is to show Jan T. Gross is wrong. Wróbel acknowledges that Chodakiewicz makes some good arguments, however they are "overshadowed by numerous flaws" and the book lacks any sense of proportion. According to Wróbel, the book has a "visible political agenda" and is "difficult to read, unoriginal, irritating, and unconvincing".[29]

Klaus-Peter Friedrich, reviewing After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Conflict in the Wake of World War II, criticizes Chodakiewicz's work as "selective and impressionistic", and "marred by many contradictions".[30] Friedrich notes that Chodakiewicz's manner of referring to fully assimilated Jews is similar to that used in radical right-wing media; he concludes that the book seems to be written with an aim rooted in the politics of commemoration.[30] Friedrich also reviewed Chodakiewicz's Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939–1947, a study of the Nazi and Soviet occupation in Janów Lubelski County in southeast Poland. He notes that as previous studies focused on large cities, Chodakiewicz's contribution is significant in terms of what is known of rural Poland. However, Friedrich criticizes Chodakiewicz's omission of prior research, in particular recent literature on collaboration.[30]

Reviewing Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (2012), Karl A. Roider Jr. describes the main theme of the book as a struggle between the democratic Polish model and the Russian totalitarian model over the Intermarium which per Chodakiewicz's includes the Baltic States, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. While attempting to appeal to an American audience, the book demands the reader know quite a bit about Eastern European history. Much of the book focuses on the post-1989 Intermarium, describing a struggle between patriots and post-communist Russophiles. The Russophiles being described as "in cahoots with Western deconstructionists, feminists, environmentalists, gay rights advocates, nihilists, and postmodernists who are entrenched in American and Western European universities". Roider's review is relatively negative, as he states that "there are conspiracies everywhere in this book, but the author offers no names, no institutions, no objectives, and no strategies" other than undermining the Intermarium's return to the pre-1772 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Chodakiewicz calls for an alliance between the Eastern European countries to contain Russia, however according to Roider such a call is likely to fall on deaf ears as the United States' attention is focused elsewhere.[31] Stachura's review of the book, which he calls "impressively ambitious, panoramic examination of a substantial part of Central and Eastern Europe"", is more positive.[32] Silviu Miloiu's review of the book was also favorable; in his conclusion Miliou's noted that "On the whole, the book is one of the most competent and well-written accounts of the Intermarium that I have read. It is based on an impressive range of sources. It sheds new light on historical and present-day processes".[33]

Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold?, a 2012 collection of essays co-edited by Chodakiewicz, and a polemic with Gross' book Golden Harvest, was heavily criticized by Danusha Goska for anything from not using a spellchecker to "cherry picking" historical anecdotes, as well as for repeatedly attacking scholars on the other side of the debate.[34] David Engel noted that the book "reaffirms the conventional Polish wisdom and impugns the academic integrity of prominent scholars (not only Gross) who have questioned it."[35]

Chodakiewicz wrote several books in response to works by Jan T. Gross. His approach to the Holocaust was criticized by Joanna Michlic as an attempt to erase the "dark past" by showing only a "good past".[36] Other critics have criticized Chodakiewicz for his reluctance to accept Polish responsibility for the Kielce pogrom.[37] Critics take particular issue with Chodakiewicz's argument that Jewish-born communist partisans' and functionaries' killing of Poles during the Soviet occupation "contextualizes", if not justifies, Polish violence against Jews. Laurence Weinbaum compares Chodakiewicz's writing to pseudo-scholarly screeds and says that Chodakiewicz believes that scholars of antisemitism in Poland are advancing an "anti-Western" and "anti-American" agenda.[38]

In his review of Intermarium, Dovid Katz writes that Chodakiewicz "is a forceful advocate of a Republican Party-type platform, with ample specific references to the Reagan years... [he] is socially conservative—that is to say pro-religion, anti-secularist, anti-gay, anti-left, and anti-liberal. [In his writings] there is an implicit call for the disenfranchisement of the Russian-speaking minorities in [Eastern Europe and the Baltic states]... [He] is also somewhat fixated with the purported dangers of “homosexual frolic” and “so-called ‘gay pride’ parades” (both p. 253), “‘gay liberation’” (p. 378), “radical lifestyles” (p. 421), “gender, queer and other guises” (p. 468), “sexual politics (including feminism and gay rights)” (p. 528)... Turning to Jewish issues, it is no secret that Chodakiewicz comes to the table with a controversial record that has included disguising Polish nationalism and anti-Jewish sentiment on Poland-related issues as objective historical research. Notorious episodes include his vitriolic attacks on Jan Gross’s pioneering scholarship and the omniscient search for Jews among the evil Communists." Katz writes that Chodakiewicz "winds up praising the Ukrainian Nazi groups that actually helped perpetrate the Holocaust". He contrasts Chodakiewicz’s work with that of Western scholars like Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands, 2012) and Alexander Prusin (The Lands Between: Conflict in the East European Borderlands, 1870–1992, 2010)." He refers to the book's final chapter as a "hatchet job against Jewish partisans... [that] resorts to a number of abuses of academic structure to mask the genre of nationalist polemic."[2]

Joanna Michlic characterizes Chodakiewicz as one of "the main representatives of the post-1989 historiography characterized by prejudicial views towards Jews and other minorities... These historians belong to the school of (ethno)nationalist history writing in which the themes of martyrdom and victimhood of ethnic Poles vis-a-vis other groups play a key role in shaping their arguments and interpretation", with Chodakiewicz being the most extreme of the lot.[6]

Jan T. Gross was quoted as saying that "[Chodakiewicz] is an ideologist of the radical right, I don't have any doubts that he's anti-Semitic."[7][22][39] While Polish-Canadian historian Piotr Wróbel said that "he would never use a phrase or adjective that would clearly identify him as an anti-Semite", but "There is no doubt whatsoever that he doesn't like the Jews.".[7] Chodakiewicz rejected the allegations as "baseless", and his term on the council ended in 2010.[22]

Andrzej Żbikowski writes that Chodakiewicz, along with Jan Żaryn, leads the "nationalist/national democratic" "camp" of Polish historians, affiliated with Fronda and Glaukopis - "a publication that has arisen mainly to rehabilitate unconditionally the wartime activities of the [nationalist] Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (NSZ)." Chodakiewicz's writing, according to Żbikowski, is characterized by selective usage of examples, justification of Poles' negative attitudes towards Jews during the war, and a lack of empathy with Jewish victims.[8]

Political and sexuality-related views[edit]

In July 2008, Chodakiewicz wrote that Barack Obama was once a Muslim, a radical, and associate of communists.[7][40] In 2014, Chodakiewicz spoke at a rally of the Ruch Narodowy party, saying "We want a Catholic Poland, not a Bolshevik one, not multicultural or gay!".[22]

In July 2017, Chodakiewicz helped draft US President Donald Trump's speech delivered at Warsaw Uprising Monument, and traveled with the Presidential delegation.[22][23][41]

In 2019 Chodakiewicz released the book About the Civilization of Death: How to stop the anti-culture of totalitarian minorities, stating that: "I saw with my own eyes how LGBT, gender, and feminism emerged from the underground and was gradually embraced in American politics: introducing a new version of Marxism that I call Marxism-Lesbianism."[42] In July 2019, during a book tour in Poland,[43][42][5][44] Chodakiewicz gave a talk at the Institute of National Remembrance's Janusz Kurtyka IPN Educational Center in Warsaw.[42] During the talk, which was moderated by Najwyższy Czas! editor Tomasz Sommer, Chodakiewicz made severely homophobic remarks. For example, he described the urban legend of "gerbilling" as factual.[43][5]



  • 1996 [1995]: Ciemnogród? O Prawicy i Lewicy [Hicksville? On the Right and Left] Ronin Publishers, ISBN 83-86445-00-9 (in Polish).
  • 1997: Zagrabiona pamięć: Wojna w Hiszpanii, 1936-39 [Expropriated Memory: War in Spain], wyd. Fronda, ISBN 83-907210-2-4 (in Polish).
  • 1997-1999: Co-editor: Tajne Oblicze: Dokumenty GL-AL i PPR, 1942-1945 [Secret Face: Documents of the Communist underground], 3 vols. Burchard Edition, ISBN 83-87654-03-5 (in Polish).
  • 1994, 1999: Narodowe Siły Zbrojne: „Ząb" przeciw dwu wrogom [National Armed Forces: „Ząb" against two enemies], wyd. WAMA, 2nd. ed. Fronda, ISBN 83-911097-1-2 (in Polish).
  • 2000: Żydzi i Polacy 1918-1955: Współistnienie, Zagłada, Komunizm [Jews and Poles 1918-1955: Coexistence, Holocaust, Communism], wyd. Fronda, ISBN 83-912541-8-6 (in Polish).
  • 2002: Editor: Ejszyszki. Kulisy zajść w Ejszyszkach: Epilog stosunków polsko-żydowskich na Kresach, 1944-45: Wspomnienia-dokumenty-publicystyka [Ejszyszki: The Background to events in Ejszyszki: The Epilogue of Polish-Jewish relations in the Borderlands], wyd. Fronda, ISBN 83-911063-3-0 (in Polish).
  • 2003: Co-editor: Spanish Carlism and Polish Nationalism: The Borderlands of Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Leopolis Press, ISBN 0-9679960-5-8.
  • 2003: After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Relations in the Wake of World War II, East European Monographs, ISBN 0-88033-511-4.
  • 2003: Co-editor: Poland's Transformation: A Work in Progress, Leopolis Press, ISBN 0-9679960-2-3
  • 2004: Co-editor: Ronald Reagan: Moja wizja Ameryki [My vision of America], Wydawnictwo Arwil, ISBN 83-919221-5-4 (in Polish).
  • 2004: Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939-1947, Lexington Books, ISBN 0-7391-0484-5.
  • 2005: The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, After, Columbia University Press and East European Monographs, ISBN 0-88033-554-8.
  • 2010: Co-editor, with Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński, Żeby Polska była polska: Antologia publicystyki konspiracyjnej podziemia narodowego 1939 – 1950 [So That Poland Remains Polish: An Anthology of the Polish Nationalist Underground Press] (Warsaw: IPN, 2010), ISBN 9788376292120.
  • 2011: Co-editor, with Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński, Złote serca czy złote żniwa. Studia nad wojennymi losami Polaków i Żydów [Hearts of Gold or a Golden Harvest? Studies on the Wartime Fate of Poles and Jews] (Warsaw: The Facto, 2011), ISBN 9788361808053.
  • 2012: Co-editor, with Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski and Pawel Styrna, Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? Studies on the Fate of Wartime Poles and Jews (Washington, DC: Leopolis Press), ISBN 0-9824888-1-5.
  • 2012: Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers), ISBN 978-1412847742.
  • 2019: About the Civilization of Death: How to stop the anti-culture of totalitarian minorities (Warsaw, 3S Media), ISBN 978-83-619-3599-5.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marek Jan Chodakiewicz biography at the Institute of World Politics. Archived 2011-05-22 at the Wayback Machine Washington, DC
  2. ^ a b c Katz, Dovid (2013). "Review of Intermarium". Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs. 7 (2): 125–193. doi:10.1080/23739770.2013.11446559. ISSN 2373-9770.
  3. ^ a b Inversion of the Historical Truth about Jedwabne, Joanna Michlic, American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies
  4. ^ Weinbaum, Laurence (2008-05-23). "Whoever Controls the Past". Haaretz. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  5. ^ a b c [1], translation: [2], Wykład pod auspicjami IPN. Chodakiewicz opowiadał o "chomiku w odbytnicy",, August 3rd, 2019
  6. ^ a b Michlic, Joanna (2007). "The Soviet Occupation of Poland, 1939-41, and the Stereotype of the Anti-Polish and Pro-Soviet Jew". Jewish Social Studies. 13 (3): 135–176. JSTOR 4467778.
  7. ^ a b c d e Historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz with Controversial Views Serves on Holocaust Museum Board, SPLC, 29 November 2009
  8. ^ a b Żbikowski, Andrzej (2018). "The Dispute over the Status of a Witness to the Holocaust: Some Observations on How Research into the Destruction of the Polish Jews and into Polish–Jewish Relations during the Years of Nazi Occupation Has Changed since 1989". In Antony Polonsky, Hanna Węgrzynek (eds.) (eds.). New directions in the history of the Jews in the Polish lands. Jews of Poland. Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press. ISBN 978-83-949149-0-5.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  9. ^ The Institute of World Politics Faculty. Archived 2015-02-27 at the Wayback Machine IWP Graduate School of National Security and International Affairs, Washington, DC
  10. ^ Patrick Henry College. "Marek J. Chodakiewicz, Ph.D.". Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  11. ^ PAP (November 11, 2003). "Jozef Mackiewicz Literary Prize".
  12. ^ Literary Award Józef Mackiewicz. Only the truth is interesting, Polska Times, 8 Nov 2017
  13. ^ The Pogrom at Eishyshok, Op Ed, New York Times, Yaffa Eliach, 6 Aug 1996
  14. ^ There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok, 1999, Yaffa Eliach
  15. ^ "Shtetl". Frontline. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  16. ^ Life Beyond the Holocaust: Memories and Realities, Mira Ryczke Kimmelman, page xxiv
  17. ^ Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory, Marianne Hirsch, page 256
  18. ^ Poland in America's Crooked Mirror: An Installment in Culture Wars, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Feb 2008
  19. ^ The Last Rising in the Eastern Borderlands: The Ejszyszki Epilogue in its Historical Context, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, 2003
  20. ^ Ejszyszki, Chodakiewicz, Marek Jan Paweł Wroński 4 January 2004 Gazeta Wyborcza
  21. ^ Polish paper: fanaticism in New York Times, UPI, 8 Aug 1996
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Did a Polish Far Right Activist Help Donald Trump Write His Speech in Warsaw?, Newsweek, 6 July 2017
  23. ^ a b "Trump's Visit to Poland Ignites Controversy Over Far Right Links", Hope not Hate, 5 July 2017
  24. ^ "Polish public promotion scheme backfires". Politico. 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  25. ^ Feder, J. Lester; Krasnowolski, Marcin (2018-03-03). "The First People Have Just Been Accused Of Violating Poland's New Holocaust Law". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  26. ^ Stankiewicz, Andrzej (2019-09-18). "Opowieści o wydatkach Polskiej Fundacji Narodowej w USA część 2, czyli rodzina na swoim". Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  27. ^ Polonsky, Antony (June 2004). "Reviews of Books:After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Conflict in the Wake of World War II Marek Jan Chodakiewicz". The American Historical Review. 109 (3): 1000–1001. doi:10.1086/530716. ISSN 0002-8762. JSTOR 10.1086/530716.
  28. ^ Stachura, Peter D. "The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, and After‐By Marek Jan Chodakiewicz." History 92.306 (2007): 276-277.
  29. ^ Wrobel, Piotr. "The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, and After." Sarmatian Review 26.3 (2006): 1238-1241.
  30. ^ a b c Friedrich, Klaus-Peter (2007-03-01). "Reviews of Jewish Life in Cracow, 1918–1939, Sean Martin (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004); After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Conflict in the Wake of World War II, Jan Chodakiewicz Marek (Boulder: Social Science Monographs [distributed by Columbia University Press], 2003); Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939–1947, Jan Chodakiewicz Marek (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2004), 497 pp.; The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland, Polonsky Antony and Michlic Joanna B., eds. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), xiv + 489 pp.; Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland, Blobaum Robert, ed. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 348 pp". Holocaust and Genocide Studies. 21 (1): 135–146. doi:10.1093/hgs/dcm014. ISSN 8756-6583.
  31. ^ Roider, Karl A. "Intermarium: The Land Between The Black and Baltic Seas." Sarmatian Review 33.3 (2013): 1776-1778.
  32. ^ Stachura, Peter D. (2013). "Review of Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas, Chodakiewicz, Marek Jan". The Slavonic and East European Review. 91 (3): 662–664. doi:10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.91.3.0662.
  33. ^ Miloiu, Silviu (2014-08-27). "Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas–Silviu Miloiu". Journal of Baltic Studies. 45 (4): 545–547. doi:10.1080/01629778.2014.954759. ISSN 0162-9778.
  34. ^ Goska, Danusha. "Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? Studies on the Fate of Wartime Poles and Jews". Polin. The American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  35. ^ Engel, David (2013). "Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. By Jan Tomasz Gross with Irena Grudzihska Gross. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. xv, 135 pp. Notes. Index. Photograph. $16.95, hard bound". Slavic Review. 72 (1): 124–126. doi:10.5612/slavicreview.72.1.0124. ISSN 0037-6779.
  36. ^ The Holocaust in the Twenty-First Century: Contesting/Contested Memories, David M. Seymour, Mercedes Camino, p. 143.
  37. ^ Kaminski, L. Żaryn, J. (2006). Reflections on the Kielce pogrom. Inst. of nat. remembrance-Commiss. for the prosecution of crimes against the Polish nation. p129-131
  38. ^ Weinbaum, Laurence, "Amnesia and Antisemitism in the 'Second Jagiellonian Age', in Robert S. Wistrich, ed., Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism, and Delegitimizing Israel, University of Nebraska Press, 2016, pp. 222-23.
  39. ^ Anti-Semitism Book Could Land Historian in Jail, Spiegel, 18 Jan 2018
  40. ^ Obama's Mirroring, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Salon24
  41. ^ Donald Trump’s Visit to Poland Further Emboldens Far-Right Elements, SPLC, 17 July 2017
  42. ^ a b c [3]
  43. ^ a b [4]
  44. ^ [5]
  45. ^ "Jozef Mackiewicz Literary Prize". Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  46. ^ "Postanowienie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 3 maja 2007 r. o nadaniu orderów". Retrieved 2018-11-20.

External links[edit]