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.
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."
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Single Occupancy Apartment - $6,745
Double Occupancy Apartment - $4,995