Papers of Conservative Thinker Edward Rozek Now Available

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Edward Rozek Papers, Box 74, Folder 13, Hoover Institution Archives

Edward Rozek Papers, Box 74, Folder 13, Hoover Institution Archives
Edward Rozek Papers, Box 74, Folder 13, Hoover Institution Archives

The Hoover Archives is pleased to announce the opening of the Edward Rozek papers that document the life and work of this Polish-born US political scientist and conservative thinker.

Edward Rozek was a professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder, from 1956 until his retirement in 1999.  For almost his entire tenure at Colorado, Rozek also served as the director of the Institute for the Study of Comparative Politics and Ideologies (ISCPI). Originally named the Institute on Democracy and Communism, and sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Education against Communism, the ISCPI was a three-week intensive study of communism and democracy.  Each year Rozek invited prominent guest speakers to the institute, including Walter Judd (the famous member of Congress and outspoken anticommunist who supported Chiang Kai-Shek), Sidney Hook (philosopher and former communist turned vocal anticommunist), Edward Teller (so-called father of the hydrogen bomb), Jay Lovestone, and Bertram Wolfe.  All the lectures were recorded and preserved by Rozek, who died in 2009. Those audio recordings, totaling more than one thousand audiocassette tapes and reels, are the heart of the Edward Rozek papers at Hoover; they have never until now been available to the public.

Rozek himself had a remarkable personal history. He was born in Poland in 1918; as a young man he joined the Polish army and was stationed in Krakow when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. During the fighting he was injured by shrapnel and hospitalized briefly but managed to escape before the Red Army arrived. He fled Poland on foot, traveling at night through the Carpathian Mountains, making it all the way to Hungary before being captured and imprisoned for several months by Nazis soldiers. With the help of a Hungarian doctor who snuck him a wire cutter, Rozek escaped once again; with tremendous luck he fled by train from Hungary to what was then Yugoslavia, Italy, and then France, where he joined the Polish forces stationed in Brittany. Soon after he arrived, however, France was invaded by the Germans. Rozek escaped yet again, this time to England, and joined the Polish Tenth Armored Brigade as a tank commander and was involved in the decisive conflict of the Battle of Normandy in 1944. Following the battle, the tank he was commanding tripped a land mine, causing him serious injuries and temporary blindness. After several surgeries and months of recovery in England, Rozek regained his eyesight, but the experience would shape the rest of his life.

As an officer, the British government offered Rozek a one-way ticket to anywhere in the world. After much consideration, he selected the United States, arriving on the Queen Mary in 1948 with only fifty dollars in his pocket. Working as a dairy farmhand and gas station attendant, he saved enough money ($300) to pay for tuition, room, and board at Harvard, where he would earn his BA, MA, and his PhD in 1956. After graduating, Rozek accepted a position at the University of Colorado, where he would remain for his entire academic career.

The Rozek papers at Hoover include his unpublished memoirs, correspondence with key individuals within the conservative movement, and the records and voluminous audio recordings of the ISCPI. Together, these materials form a major new addition to Hoover’s North American collection.

In a 1987 letter, William F. Buckley, a friend of Rozek’s and a frequent correspondent, observed that “if 5 percent of America were as patriotic as you [Rozek], who acquired your citizenship late, we would have nothing to fear.” (Edward Rozek papers, Hoover Institution Archives, box 14, folder 4).

For further information, contact North America collections curator Danielle Scott at drscott1 [at] stanford.edu.