Quinnipiac University’s Central European Institute will present an advanced screening of the PBS film, “Kosciuszko: A Man Before His Time,” on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences on the North Haven Campus.
The film was written and directed by Alex Storozynski, distinguished scholar and Polish chair of the Central European Institute. It is based on his book, “The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution.”
“This film has been years in the making and finally gives Kosciuszko the attention that he deserves,” Storozynski said. “I look forward to discussing this Polish hero with the film audience.”
The event, which is free and open to the public, will include a question and answer session with Storozynski.
“It is rare enough to find people who play a pivotal role in their own country’s freedom,” said Christopher Ball, director of the Central European Institute. “Kosciuszko was not only central to the history of freedom in Poland, but this friend of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson was also so important to the United States that we still have a statue to him at West Point.”
Kosciuszko was a Revolutionary War hero and champion of human rights. Kosciuszko gave his salary from the American Revolution to Jefferson and told him to buy slaves and free them. Kosciuszko fought for the rights of serfs, slaves, Jews, Native-Americans and women.
A military strategist, Kosciuszko’s plan won the Battle of Saratoga, which was the turning point of the war. He also built Fortress West Point, which Benedict Arnold tried to sell to the British in the most infamous act of treason in American history.
In 1791, when Poland passed the first democratic Constitution in Europe, Russian, Austrian and Prussian monarchs sent armies to crush this new democracy. Kosciuszko led an army against the invaders to fight for rights for peasants, burghers and Jews.
In his quest for liberty, Kosciuszko also worked with Washington, Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and the French Revolutionaries while struggling against the tyranny of Russia’s Catherine the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon called Kosciuszko “the hero of the North,” and Russian Czarina Catherine offered a reward for anyone who could capture him “dead or alive.” Jefferson called, Kosciuszko “as pure a son of liberty, as I have ever known.”
The film is narrated by Blair Underwood and the story is told through reenactments at West Point, Saratoga, Philadelphia and Poland, along with dramatic readings by screen actors such as Olek Krupa.
For more information, call Hanna Hejmowski at (203) 582-8737.