Death of Waldemar J. Dziak, the historical leader of North Korean Studies in Poland

Waldemar J. Dziak (1952-2019), professor of Political Sciences, specialized on North Korean and Chinese issues passed away on the 21 October 2019. His wife, his daugthers, and other family members and friends were at his side. Waldemar J. Dziak contributed highly to the field of North Korean studies through his writing and teaching. He was considered as the most prominent researcher on North Korean studies in Poland.

Born in Warsaw on the 7 January 1952, Waldemar J. Dziak obtained a degree in political studies at the University of Warsaw. In his 30s, he was able to travel several to North Korea, where among others, he met Hwang Jang Yop, the founder of the Juche ideology. In 1990, at the University of Warsaw, Waldemar J. Dziak defended his Phd. thesis related to the political ascension of Kim Il Sung. Then, he started to work at the Institute of Political Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1991.

I have known Professor Waldemar J. Dziak since 2002, later he became my PhD. Supervisor. He was, by far, the best professor on North Korean studies all around Central Europe being the first European citizen who published a biography of Kim Jong Il (Kim Jong Il, 2004), which made him non grata in North Korea. This biography was even translated in Korean, for a personnal reading for Kim Jong Il. His publications were also carefully studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Waldemar J. Dziak used to a specialist in North Korean policy, including several books related to Kim il Sung (Kim Ir Sen. Dzieło i polityczne wizje, 2001) and the North Korean leadership (Korea Północna u źródeł rodzinnej sukcesji władzy, 2009). He’s also the author of a chronological book of the life of Kim Jong Un (Kim Dzong Un. Kronika życia i walki, 2013). He’s the author of eleven books devoted to North Korean studies including a two volumes encyclopedy on Chinese-North Korean relations (cowritten with Jerzy Bayer, Korea i Chiny, 2006) and also eleven other books focused on China, Stalinism, and his latest Kurdistan (Niepodległy Kurdystan. Wyzwania dla stabilizacji regionu i swiata, cowritten with Małgorzata Rudź, 2019).


Waldemar J. Dziak was a lecturer at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, probably the most appreciated by the community of students of this University within the last ten years. Waldemar J. Dziak was also regularly broadcasted in Polish Medias. 

Extremely appreciated by his students, He will leave an eternal mark in our minds.

Waldemar J.Dziak was buried in Warsaw on the 25 October 2019.

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Nicolas Levi

Analyst on North Korean issues

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