The lecture of Gary Powers Jr. on the Cold War and the U-2 incident

Upon the invitation of Prof. Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, Deputy President of the IPN, the Institute will be hosting Gary Powers Jr. the son of a US pilot from the Cold War period. On November 11, Gary Powers will take part in national ceremonies related to the Polish National Independence Day. He will also visit Warsaw's "Łączka", a place of secret burials of soldiers murdered by public security organs in the years 1945-1956, located at the wall of the Military Cemetery in Powązki. During his stay Gary Powers will also discuss further cooperation with the IPN connected with aerial photographs taken by his father during spy flight missions over Poland and other Eastern Bloc countries at the turn of the 50s and 60s. The photographic materials could prove very useful for the IPN’s Office of Search and Identification led by Prof. Krzysztof Szwagrzyk.

On the occasion of the annual celebrations of the National Independence Day in Poland the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) invites you to a lecture by Gary Powers Jr. on the Cold War and the U-2 incident to be held on12 November (Sunday) 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the Janusz Kurtyka Educational Centre “History Point”, 21/25 Marszałkowska Str. in Warsaw.

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with the participation of Prof. Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, Deputy President of the IPN, Prof. Sławomir Cenckiewicz, Director of  the Military Historical Office and Rainer Hunger. Moderator:  Dr Rafał Leśkiewicz (IPN).

Francis Gary Powers (1929-1977), a CIA pilot, shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission in Soviet Union airspace during the Cold War, on 1 May 1960. After being arrested, he was accused of espionage and then imprisoned for almost two years in a Soviet prison. Finally released in 1962, in exchange for Colonel Rudolf Abel, a KGB spy captured in the United States at the end of the 1950s on the former border bridge connecting West Berlin with, then Eastern German, Potsdam. This event resulted in a crisis in relations between the US and the USSR and was portrayed in Steven Spielberg's film Bridge of Spies.

Gary Powers Jr., born on 5 June 1965, in Burbank, California, he is the son of Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia. Recently, he consulted for a Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies about James Donovan who brokered the 1962 spy exchange between Rudolph Abel and U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum founded in 1996 to honour Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study he works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting, and preservation. The Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” for 2002. He lectures internationally and appears regularly on the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels, author of the book Letters from a Soviet Prison.


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