Warsaw Academy

A Month-long Study Abroad Program
June 15 - July 6, 2019
Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Tour Overview

Warsaw Academy, a three-week study-abroad opportunity for college students, is one of the newest educational travel offerings from The National WWII Museum. This unique and interactive program brings students face-to-face with the reality of the Jewish ghettos, the Holocaust, and the brutality of the Eastern Front by bringing them to the heart of Poland where these atrocities took place.

Warsaw Academy is led by expert historian and Museum Presidential Counselor Alexandra Richie, DPhil, author of Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin and the award-winning Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising. Dr. Richie, a resident of Warsaw, Poland, has been intimately involved in the creation of Warsaw Academy and has designed an itinerary that blends classroom instruction and discussions with site visits throughout the program.

Warsaw Academy is geared toward students interested in Holocaust Studies, Museum Studies, Military History, and Eastern European Culture.

The Academy begins in Berlin, where participants visit the sites where Nazism overtook Germany's political and social life. At the Reichstag, students learn of the pivotal fire that solidified Adolf Hitler’s grasp on the country; at the Olympic Stadium, the pageantry and symbolism of the 1936 Games will be explored; and at the House of the Wannsee Conference, students will stand in the very place where the "Final Solution" was planned.


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The program then turns to Poland, a country stuck between two brutal dictators with expansionist policies. In slightly more than a month's time, life in Poland took a dark turn. On September 1, 1939, the Germans fired the first shots of World War II in Europe near Danzig, and 16 days later, Soviet forces invaded from the east. By October 6, 1939, German and Soviet forces had divided Poland into two occupation zones. Polish forces regrouped in France and Great Britain, and resistance movements formed inside Poland.

The excursions in Poland examine the harsh conditions under occupation and create an emotional tie to the course material. Warsaw's museums on Jewish history and the Warsaw Uprising provide personal accounts that give voices to history's facts and figures. On a trip to Gdańsk, the new Museum of the Second World War will place Polish history in the international context of the war. Finally, students will walk the grounds of Auschwitz, one of the most infamous places in history, while learning the stories of heroism and sacrifice made against the greatest of odds, and reminding the world to "never forget."

Warsaw Academy

Course Offerings

Between Hitler and Stalin

Study the history of World War II from the vantage point of Poland and Central Europe, which were particularly ravaged during the fighting. Discuss the rise and fall of Hitler’s Germany as seen from the German and Polish perspectives, and learn about the role played by Stalin and the USSR. Lectures and talks cover the entire period from 1933 to 1945, and students visit many of the most important and poignant places relating to World War II in Central Europe.

*These courses are offered exclusively to Warsaw Academy participants through Collegium Civitas.

Reflections of a Tumultuous Century: Polish Politics in the 20th Century

This course offers a rich, entertaining, multi-disciplinary, and comprehensive insight into the history, culture, politics, and modern life of Central Europe. Study the region's important place in historical European conflicts, its major contributions to modern science and culture, and its deep Jewish cultural heritage. The course concludes with a look at Poland's post-1989 economic success, its role in EU migration, ecological issues, and other current events.

*These courses are offered exclusively to Warsaw Academy participants through Collegium Civitas.

Warsaw Academy

What You'll Learn

  • Study the Holocaust and Poland in the 20th century under world-renowned historian Alexandra Richie, DPhil
  • Earn six credit hours from Collegium Civitas (Palace of Culture), a private university in Warsaw
  • Meet veterans of the Warsaw Uprising
  • Take advantage of internship opportunities at POLIN Museum, Warsaw Uprising Museum, and Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies
  • Enjoy included lodging in central Warsaw
  • Experience excursions to Berlin, Kraków, and Gdańsk
Warsaw Academy

Exclusive Experiences

Berlin, Germany

In Berlin, experience the places that symbolize the rise and fall of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Start at the state-of-the-art Olympic Village where the 1936 Games showcased Hitler's Germany to the world. The first-ever torch relay and Leni Riefenstahl's documentary showed Germany to be a nation on the rise. At the Reichstag, visit the place where the infamous fire solidified Hitler's grasp on Germany's government. Finally, at the German-Russian Museum in Karlshorst, enter the room where Germany's unconditional surrender was officially ratified, closing the door on 12 years of Nazi rule.

Auschwitz, Poland

There is no way to understand the postwar world without a close inspection of the conflict between the ideals of mankind and the remains of Auschwitz. More than 1.1 million people lost their lives within the camp that began as an army barracks seized by German occupiers in 1940. Populated with Polish political prisoners, the Nazis expanded the camp, imprisoned Jews from all over Europe, and sent them to their deaths. The Martyrdom Museum at Auschwitz is a ghastly reminder of the inhumanity of which humans are capable.

Auschwitz, Poland

Kraków, Poland

Kraków was included on UNESCO’s first World Heritage list in 1978. Since the Tatar raids in the 13th century, the Old Town has remained mostly intact, making it the only large Polish city to escape the destruction of World War II. Visit Wawel Castle, the seat of Polish kings, and the Gothic Wawel Cathedral, where Polish kings were crowned and buried for centuries. During the war, Hans Frank, Governor General of the occupied Polish territories, installed himself in the Wawel Castle and called himself the "King of Poland," surrounding himself with stolen art, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, and wielding his terrifying power over the population.

Krakow, Poland

GdaŃsk, Poland

Poland’s maritime city on the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk was first mentioned in historical documents in 997. In its thousands of years of existence, this venerable port city has changed hands six times—the prize in a long game of tug-of-war between Germany and Poland. Nearby is Westerplatte, where Germans fired the first shots of what became World War II. On September 1, 1939, a German battleship paying a “courtesy call” on Danzig began firing shells at the Polish garrison here. Visit the Museum of the Second World War, the only WWII museum in the world dedicated to putting the war into an international context, commemorating the losses of all nations that suffered under German occupation.

Warsaw Academy

Expert Educators

Alexandra Richie, DPhil

Decorated historian Alexandra Richie, DPhil, instructs the program courses and escorts the educational excursions. Her most recent work, Warsaw 1944, became the #1 best-selling book in Poland and won the Newsweek Teresa Torańska Prize for Best Nonfiction 2014, as well as the Kazimierz Moczarski Prize for Best History Book in Poland 2015. Her first book, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, was named one of the top 10 books of the year by Publisher’s Weekly. Dr. Richie wrote her doctorate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and later returned as a Fellow of Wolfson College, where she taught history and international relations.

Dr. Richie worked for the Boston Consulting Group in London, restructuring former communist industries across Central and Eastern Europe, and is currently Professor of History at the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw. She also serves as Director of the Department of International Relations, specializing in defense and security studies. Dr. Richie has contributed to many articles, documentaries, radio and television programs, and is passionate about educating students on the rich history of the region.

Dr. Richie is a Presidential Counselor at The National WWII Museum. She lives in Warsaw with her husband, Władysław Bartoszewski, and their two daughters.

Warsaw Academy


Single Occupancy Apartment - $7,145

Double Occupancy Apartment - $5,495

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