Monday, October 10, 2016

October Events - King Jagiello in Central Park and Latin America in Gdynia

Unveiling of King Jagiełło Statue in NY Central Park, October 29-30, 2016

On 29 – 30 October 2016, The King Jagiełło Monument Working Group is organizing The King Jagiełło Monument Unveiling Ceremony in Central Park and a Symposium entitled: “King Jagiełło in New York 1939-2016”, in Polish Consulate in New York. The King Jagiełło Monument Working Group was established by: Józef Piłsudski Institute, Polish American Congress – Long Island Division, Nowodworski Foundation, Association Polonia Technica, Consulate of the Republic of Poland in New York, St. Stanislaus B&M Parish in Manhattan, Prof. Krzysztof Wodiczko of Harvard University, and historian Krystyna Piórkowska.

The statue of King Jagiełło, was originally installed in the Polish Pavilion during the World’s Fair in 1939, and remains in New York City at the location in Central Park since 1945 till now. Currently, overall conservation work is performed, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-October. The Working Group promotes the legacy of King Władysław Jagiełło a symbol of Polish Victory for centuries by organizing symposium in Polish Consulate and monument unveiling ceremony in Central Park.  Their goal is to address this historic topic to the US Polonia and American historic community. The Symposium is scheduled on October 29th (Saturday) between 10:00 am and 5:30pm and will consist of four panels:  Stanisław Kazimierz Ostrowski and Polish Art Deco /  King Jagiełło and his Concept of a Unified Europe / Historical Sculptures in the Public Domain / Conservation work on the King Jagiełło Statue/ Polish Conservators in the World. All the proceedings will be in English. Registration is required.

On October 30, 2016 (Sunday) the unveiling ceremony of the King Władysław Jagiełło Monument is scheduled for Central Park, New York. The ceremony is planned as follows: Around 80 people will stay at the monument circle, at walkway and square in front of Turtle Pond. There will a banner informing about the event, together with another banner depicting the Battle of Grunwald as a backdrop for children’s performance. The schedule of the event: 1:00 pm – Welcome address, Consul of Republic of Poland and Jerzy Lesniak, President Nowodworski Fundation; 1:00 pm – A brief historical background and history of the monument and the history of King Jagiełło Swords – Wojciech Budzynski; 1:10 pm– Symbolic ceremony of King Jagiełło Monument unveiling; 1:20 pm – Speech by Marie R. Warsh, the Central Park Conservancy; 1:30 pm – Dedication of the Monument by Father Tadeusz Lizińczyk; 1:40 pm – “Battle of Grunwald” presentation by a school theater troupe (approx. 10 students) at the monument plinth, with choir; 2:30 pm – Placing flowers at the base of the monument and a Photo-op; 2:40 pm- Ballads sung with guitar at the monument.

   Poles and Polish Diaspora in Latin America, October 27-28, 2016   

The Emigration Museum in Gdynia presents a two-day international conference on Poles and Polish Diaspora in Latin America: Past and Present. The following papers will be presented. 
October 27: Opening Session with papers by 
  • Adam Walaszek (Emigration from Poland and Portugal: two cases. Are they different? 1500-1939); 
  • Andrzej Chodubski (Cultural and civilisation image of Poles in Latin America); 
  • Renata Siuda Ambroziak (The problem of leadership among the Brazilian Polish diaspora), and 
  • Rafał Raczyński (Latin American Polish diaspora at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia). 
The second session on historical aspects of Polish presence in Latin America includes papers by: 
  • Jerzy Mazurek (Polish colonial and settlement projects in Latin American countries in the interwar period); 
  • Thaís Janaina Wenczenovicz (History and historiography: interpretative views on the Polish immigration in the south of Brazil); 
  • Claudia Stefanetti Kojrowicz (When the Allies Closed the Doors, General Perón Accepted Two Thousand Italian-Polish Marriages in the Post-War Era); 
  • Teresa Sońta-Jaroszewicz (Wandering life of the refugees of Polish descent from Marseille to South America during World War II); 
  • Aleksandra Pajek (Brasil in the imagina-tion – hopes and fears of Polish refugees right before leaving Europe during World War II) and 
  • Karolina Baraniak (Polish diaspora in Chile). 
A session on the Polish community in the State of Parana, features papers by: 
  • Mariléia Gärtner and Luciane Trennephol da Costa (The presence of Slavic culture in the interior of Parana state in Brazil), 
  • Lenny A. Ureña Valerio (Creating a Polish nation from colonies: analysis of the settling colonialism and creating Polish colonies in Parana), 
  • Rodrigo Augusto (Sustainable territorial development with the cultural identity in the Parana state), 
  • Ancelmo Schörner (Polish immigration in Palmeiras (PR): the colony of Santa Barbara in the memories of Helena Orchanhenka), 
  • Nelsi Antonia Pabis (Education and culture: the Polish immigrants' schools in the south of Parana), 
  • Elisabeth Sylvia Janik (A story of success: Sebastian Woś Saporski and Polish immigration to Curitiba), and 
  • Sonia Eliane Niewiadomski (Today's panorama of the Polish-Brazilian community in the southern and central parts of Parana). 
The evening session is dedicated to Latin American Polish diaspora as a research area, with papers by: 
  • Maria Skoczek and  Bogumiła Lisocka-Jaegermann (Poles in Latin American research centres and universities),  
  • Krzysztof Smolana (About new sources in the history of the Latino American Polish Diaspora), 
  • Joanna Łuba with Dominik Czapigo ("Developing sources" – presentation of the documentation project by the KARTA Centre and the Ignacy Domeyko Polish Library in Argentina), 
  • Michalina Petelska (From Guatemala to Gdynia) .
On October 28th the morning session is dedicated to Poles' contribution to the social and cultural development of the Latin American countries, with papers by: 
  • Henryk Siewierski ("Doutor Magico": Piotr Ludwik Napoleon Czerniewicz and his position in the history of medicine and Brazilian culture); 
  • Katarzyna Krzywicka (Missionary activity of the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel in Latin America); 
  • Zdzisław Malczewski (Polish missionaries in Brazil); Aleksandra Pluta (Polish artists' contribution for the cultural life of Brazil and Chile); 
  • Rhuan Targino Zaleski Trindade (Polish scientist among settlers: Czesław Bieżanko and Poles in the south of Brazil); 
  • Beata Bereza (Ludwik Margules – triumph of the theatrical style); Justyna Łapaj (Polish diaspora and Poles in selected countries of Latin America).  
The second session of the day is dedicated to the literary aspects of Polish presence in Latin America, with papers by: 
  • Silvia Dapía (New subjectivity after World War II in The Marriage by Witold Gombrowicz);
  • Elżbieta Budakowska (Polish ethnic literature in Brazil in the sociological perspective); 
  • Anna Jamrozek-Sowa (Successful immigrants. Protagonists of Aleksandra Pluta's tales); 
  • Kalina Sobierajska (Female traveller, emigrant and cosmopolitan - the portrait of Maria Bochdan- iedenthal). 
The afternoon session is dedicated to the language and identity of the Polish communities, with papers by 
  • Władysław T. Miodunka (Polish language in the perspective of Polish-Spanish and Polish-Portuguese bilingualism); 
  • Izabela Stąpor (Szakier, fiżon i trokować – on the lexis of Polishsettlers in Parana); 
  • Anna Kaganiec-Kamieńska (Polish language and identity in Argentinian Polish diaspora), 
  • Karolina Bielenin-Lenczowska (Cultural heritage of Brazilians of Polish descent - linguistic and culinary practices); 
  • Katarzyna Rawska (In search of Argentinian Polish diaspora's national identity). 
The conference ends with an evening session on Jewish people from Polish territories in Latin America, including papers by: 
  • Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro (Accounts of Polish Jews who have survived the Holocaust); 
  • Alicja Głuszek (Polish Jews in Mexico - origin, memory and identity); 
  • Mariusz Kałczewiak (Jewish polacos. The meaning and function of Polish identity among the Polish Jews in Argentina, 1915-1939) and 
  • Magdalena Szkwarek ("You'll end up in Buenos Aires!"- Jews and prostitution. Another aspect of Jewish migration to Argentina at the turn of 19th and 20th century). 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Polish Americans Honored in Poland and by Poland

    Polish American Philanthropist Dr. Stanley Garstka 
Honored in Poland    

 Dean of the Faculty of History UG – Prof. Wiesław Długokęcki with 
Prof. Mieczysław Nurek presenting the medal and diploma bestowed upon Dr. Garstka.

On June 17, 2016 the Rector of the University of Gdańsk – Prof. Bernard Lammek officially bestowed BENE MERITO ET MERENTI silver medal to Dr. Stanisław (Stanley) Marian Garstka – the founder of the American Polish Research Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame.  Stanley Garstka, MD, initiated the exchange program between U of Gdansk and Notre Dame in 1999. For many years it was administered by the late Fr. Leonard Chrobot (1938-2014).

Stanley Garstka was born in Warsaw on Feb. 22, 1916. In 1935 he began medial studies which he did not complete because of the outbreak of the Second World War. Imprisoned for his underground activities in 1941, he experienced infamous Pawiak prison, and then concentration camps of: Auschwitz, Neuengamme, Dachau, where from he was transferred to Flossenbürg camp (paramedic), and from there to Leitmeritz (subcamp) where while a prisoner he worked as a MD. Upon liberation he migrated to the American zone and by 1947 he had completed his medical studies in Erlangen. Two years later, a married man, he emigrated to the United States.

Living in a modest house in Riverside (California) with his beloved wife of almost 60 years –  Dr. Martha Garstka (nee Alszibaja), Dr. Stanley Garstka opened a golden opportunity to the young and aspiring historians from three Polish universities. Since the signing of the mutual cooperation agreement with University of Gdańsk in 1999 envisioning exchanges occurring „annually in continuity and perpetuity” eleven “recent postgraduates, or junior faculty members at Institute of History UG” went to work and study at the Norte Dame. They were:  Jacek Rześniowiecki, Anna Muller, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Aleksander Michalak, Tytus Mikołajczak, Aleksandra Hallmann, Barbara Klassa, Przemysław Różański, Piotr Derengowski, Łukasz Cherek, Domika Hempel. Among them there are current PAHA members and officers.

The dedication attached to the medal bestowed on Dr. Garstka reads: “In recognition of exceptional contributions to the development of the study of history, in particular for the development of young scientists from the University of Gdańsk within the framework of mutual cooperation”. The initiative to recognize Dr. Garstka was first put forth by Prof. Mieczysław Nurek (Faculty of History UG). The University-awarded honor was bestowed posthumously a decade after Dr. Garstka’s passing (June 20, 2006). In the meantime, the exchange program with Gdansk was closed by the American partner in 2014 due to the lack of funds. The medal assures that its founder will not be forgotten.

Photo from

   The Polish Museum of America 
Awarded Poland’s Medal Gloria Artis   

On September 27, 2016, Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, awarded the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis to the Polish Museum of America (PMA). PMA President Richard Owsiany and Managing Director Małgorzata Kot will accept the award on behalf of the PMA. The ceremony took place at the office of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York.  Other recipients included Janusz Sporek, for his role in the promotion of Polish music.  Jarosław Sellin, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, announced this honor on September 15, during the 38th Annual Conference of the Polish Museums, Archives, and Libraries Abroad, held in London.

One of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in the United States, the Polish Museum of America (PMA) is dedicated to preserving the Polish American past for future generations. Founded in 1935 by an initiative of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and open since 1937, the PMA celebrates more than 80 years of service to the community.  The Museum showcases a unique permanent collection, highlights include: personal and professional mementos of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, inter-war paintings and sculptures; and art and artifacts from the Polish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

  The Pilsudski Institute Awarded 
Poland’s Medal Gloria Artis   

The Pilsudski Institute of America was awarded by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński, the  Gold Medal Gloria Artis for outstanding contribution to Polish culture. During this ceremony, held in the elegant salons of the Polish Consulate General in New York. the Gold Medal Goria Artis was also awarded to the Polish Museum in Chicago and a Bronze Medal Gloria Artis was presented to Janusz Sporek, a promoter of Polish music in New York.

On behalf of the Institute, the Gloria Artis was accepted by Dr. Iwona Korga, President and Dr. Magda Kapuścińska, former President and volunteer of the Institute for the last 40 years. Dr.  Korga said: "On behalf of the Pilsudski Institute of America, thank you very much for this great honor. I must admit, however, that the Institute deserved this medal. During our 73 years of activity, the Institute secured the material artefacts of Polish national heritage: one million documents, twenty thousand books, art gallery and historical memorabilia. [...] I accept this medal on behalf of employees and generations of volunteers that created our facility and generously donated their time, knowledge and financial support. "

Monday, September 12, 2016

Call for Papers for 3rd Congress of Polish History in Poland, October 2017 - Due September 30, 2016

The III Congress of International Researchers of Polish History will take place on October 11-14, 2017 in Kraków, Poland. This congress occurs every five years and is a cyclical meeting of academics from throughout the world who, in their research,address not only problems associated with Polish history but also within its culture, arts and sciences. This congress’s guiding theme is “The Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth: History – Memory – Legacy” („Dawna Rzeczpospolita: historia – pamięć – dziedzictwo”).

The organizers aim to gather in one place and at onetime those scholars interested in the phenomena of the Polish - Lithuanian Commonwealth what it was, how it was memorialized over subsequent decades as well as what consequences or manifestations from its existence are seen in the later histories of Poland, Lithuania and the remaining countries who once found themselves within its sphere of influence. During our conference, we hope to focus on the phenomena of the modern Polish state, in an attempt to answer several important questions: to what extent was the Polish - Lithuanian Commonwealth a unique state and to what degree was its history similar to the histories of neighboring, other European or world states? An important point for deliberations will be questions surrounding the legacy of the Polish -Lithuanian Commonwealth and its presence in the consciousness of national groups inhabiting its territory – Byelorussians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Germans,Russians, Ukrainians and Jews.

The organizers cordially invite and encourage you to take part in the deliberations of this upcoming congress. In response to this invitation, your desire to participate may be declared through sending an abstract of your proposed presentation. A detailed  list of conference panels  with proposed problems and issues is enclosed, with a request that they serve as a guide for your proposed presentation. The proposers are asked to choose the panel which best suits their research interests. Abstracts should be no longer than 1800 characters. The languages of the conference are English and Polish.

The organizers state: "We ask that those interested in participating please inform us by September 30, 2016, using the registration panel. Deadline for submitting abstracts is September 30, 2016. Received abstracts will be analyzed by panel moderators and those accepted will be notified by October 30, 2016. All presenters will be guaranteed lodging in Kraków and a modest reward of 500 PLN. There is no conference fee. We would also be very pleased to receive preliminary information regarding whether you would be interested in conference participation without a presentation. You will be informed in an additional notification about the formal registration date."

This Call for Proposals was submitted by Prof. Andrzej Chwalba, President, Organizing Comittee of the III Congress of International Researchers of Polish History and Prof. Krzysztof Zamorski,
President of the Organizing Bureau of the III Congress of International Researchers of Polish History


Secretary of State and Senator Anna Maria Anders to Give the Keynote Address at the Generations Remember 2016 Conference in Warsaw, on September 18, 2016

The 2016 edition of the Generations Remember conference in Warsaw, Poland, scheduled for September 17 through 19 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Soviet "amnesty" and release of exiled Poles will feature the keynote address by Senator Anna Maria Anders, Secretary of State, Pleniponentiary of the Prime Minster for International Dialogue and Chair of the General Wladyslaw Anders Foundation.  The address will take place during the conference opening rception lunch hosted by Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression.

Anna Maria Anders Costa is a Polish politician and Polish American activist, serving since 2016 as Secretary of State, representing the Prime Minister in internaitonal dialogue. As a senator ishe is a member of the Committee for Emigration Affair and Contact iwth Poles Abroad, dealing wiht care of the Polish daspora and Poles abroad, migration of Polish citizens, ties between Poladn and Poles and people of Polish descent residing abroad, initiating and coordinating cooperation among Polish diaspora communities and protecting the heritage of Polish history and culture abroad. Anna Maria is the daughter of Genral Wladyslaw Anders and Irena Anders. She was educate d at the University of Bristol in Britain where she graduated in Romance Philology. She also studied at Boston University where she earned an MBA in economics. She worked on the UN mission in the UNESCO Press Office in Paris. After the death of her mother, she became the chief executive of the General Wladyslaw Anders Foundation providing scholarships for students of Polish descent from countries of the former USSR, among other projects.

Other events of the Conference include  Generations Remember March on Saturday, September 17, and conference presentations on Monday, September 19. See:
For a copy of the conference program visit also the previous issue of the PAHA Blog.


Searching for Research Project Participants - Descendants of Immigrants from 1945-1952

Pepperdine University’s Culture and Trauma Research Lab is currently seeking participants who are descendants of European immigrants who emigrated post World War II for an important psychological study on generations. Participation involves the completion of an online survey which will take about 15-20 minutes. Participants may be eligible if: they are 18 years of age or older and if their parent or grandparent emigrated from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia (formerly known as Czechoslovakia), Austria, Hungary or Romania to the United States between 1945 -1952. This study will create a more robust understanding of the long-term impact of specific immigration factors. Participation in the study is voluntary and confidential. Participants will receive a $10.00 Amazon or Starbucks gift card for the completion of the survey.

If you have any questions or would like more information on the study, please feel free to contact our principal investigator, Melissa Duguay, at (818) 971-9877. You can also reach her at or contact Additionally, this study is being conducted under the auspices of Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Generations Remember 2016 - Kresy Siberia Conference in Warsaw, September 17-19, 2016

The Kresy Siberia Virtual Museum, in collaboration with the Association of Siberian Deportees, the History Meeting House,the Katyń Museum is holding the "Generations Remember 2016" conference in Warsaw, on September 17-19, 2016.  The registration deadline is September 9, 2016, and the program is reprinted below. The event is partly supported by the Office For War Veterans and Victims of Oppression of the Republic of Poland.

SATURDAY 17 September 2016 – National Day of Siberian deportees, Katyń Museum
09:30 – 10:30 Field Mass and ecumenical prayers: with military re-enactment, Katyń Museum, Warsaw Citadel
10:45 – 11:45 Concert: Police and Polish Army Bands, Katyń Museum
12:00 – 13:30 Katyń Museum tour
13:30 – 15:30 Free time: lunch on own arrangements to meet and mingle with other conference participants
15:30 – 16:30 Generations Remember March: Meet at Monte Cassino Monument, skwer Żołnierzy Tułaczy
17:00 – 18:30 Memorial ceremony: Monument to the Murdered and Perished in the East
18:30 – Free time: dinner on own arrangements to meet and mingle with other conference participants

SUNDAY 18 September 2016 – Group Activities Day
09:00 – 10:15 Sybirak Memorial Mass: Holy Cross Church (Św. Krzyża), Krakowskie Przedmieście 3
10:15 – 10:30 Bus to Imperia reception hall, Nowy Świat 6/12
10:30 – 11:00 Break (coffee/tea and refreshments)
11:00 – 11:30 Conference opening and welcome:
– Stefan Wiśniowski, President, Kresy-Siberia Foundation
– Mieczysław Pogodziński, National Executive, Association of Siberian Deportees
11:30 – 13:00 Workshops: Developing Poland-Diaspora collaborative initiatives to preserve
and promote the World War Two history of Kresy-Siberia and Exile
13:00 – 14:30 Conference Opening Reception Lunch: hosted by Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression
Senator Anna Maria Anders in London, at a Monument to WWII Victims

Keynote Address: Senator Anna Maria Anders, Secretary of State, Plenipotentiary of the Prime
Minister for International Dialogue, Chair of the General Władysław Anders Foundation
14:30 – 16:00 Group presentations: Proposed Poland-Diaspora collaborative initiatives next steps
16:00 – 16:30 Break (coffee/tea and refreshments)
17:00 – 18:00 Concert: Polish Choral Group from Ukraine, Dom Aktora, al. Ujazdowskie 45
18:30 – Free time: on own arrangements to meet and mingle with other conference participants

MONDAY 19 September 2016 – Speakers and Presentations
09:00 – 09:25 Welcome: Piotr Jakubowski, Director, History Meeting House, ul. Karowa 20
Program overview: Anita Cwynar, Conference Coordinator (Canada)
09:25 – 10:00 Talk: “1936 deportations to Kazakhstan” – Dima Panto, film-maker (Kazakhstan)
10:00 – 10:35 Talk: “The Deportations and Second-Generation Art” – Adrian Palka, Coventry University (UK)
10:35 – 11:00 Break (coffee/tea and refreshments)
11:00 – 12:30 Talk: “Expulsion from Kresy, 1946” – Tomasz Kuba Kozłowski, Director, Warsaw Kresy Initiative
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch: served in the History Meeting House
13:30 – 14:15 Talk: “In Exile, 1939 to 1947” – Władysław Czapski, Sybirak (Poland)
14:15 – 14:45 Talk: “State Police of the 2nd Polish Republic “ – Jacek Walaszczyk, Policeman (Poland)
15:00 – 15:30 Talk: “A Homeland Denied” – Irena Kossakowski-Clarke, author (UK)
15:30 – 16:00 Break (coffee/tea and refreshments)
16:00 – 17:30 Film: “Genocide” – introduced by Arkadiusz Olszewski, director (Poland)
17:30 – 18:00 Talk: “Slicing the Bread” poetry reading – Maja Trochimczyk, author (USA)
18:00 – 18:30 Conference conclusion
19:30 – 22:00 Kresy Feast Dinner (optional, additional cost 100 PLN)

March of the Living - Survivors and Generations in 2015


ANNA MARIA ANDERS COSTA is a Polish politician and Polish-American activist, serving since 2016 as Secretary of State, representing the Prime Minister in international dialogue. As a senator, she is a member of the Committee for Emigration Affairs and Contact with Poles Abroad, dealing with care of the Polish diaspora and Poles abroad, migration of Polish citizens,particularly to the European Union, ties between Poland and Poles and people of Polish descent residing abroad and their legal situation, initiating and coordinating cooperation amongst Polish diaspora communities and protecting the heritage of Polish history and culture abroad. Anna Maria is the daughter of General Władysław Anders and Irena Anders.  She was educated at the University of Bristol in Britain, where she graduated in Romance Philology, as well as Boston University in the USA, where she earned an MBA in economics. She worked on the UN’s mission in the UNESCO Press Office in Paris as well as for a petroleum company. After the death of her mother she became chief executive of the General Władysław Anders Foundation, dealing with, among other things, the provision of scholarships for students of Polish descent from countries of the former USSR.

WŁADYSŁAW CZAPSKI lives in Wroclaw, where he is a tireless activist working to commemorate the fate of the 20,000 Polish children deported to Siberia during WWII who, after their release and evacuation, were cared for in Iran, Lebanon, Africa, India and Mexico and New Zealand until the end of the war. At his initiative, a committee of survivors installed a plaque in Warsaw expressing gratitude to the Iranian nation for rescuing Poles during the war. He is also an active member of the Circle of Alumni of the Polish Schools of Isfahan-Lebanon. Czapski was born in Drohiczyn Poleski (now Belarus) in January 1938. The Soviets  arrested his father in 1940 then deported him with his mother Janina and sister Wanda to Siberia. Once released, they were evacuated to Iran, where his mother died. The children survived the war in Isfahan and in Zouk Mikael, Lebanon. Back in Poland since this time, Władysław continues to express great gratitude for the help given by the Iranians to the Poles at a time when their presence was being erased from the world map. He cherishes his warm memories of the nobility, incredible openness and human kindness on the part of Iran and wherever he is, gives testimony of the history in which he participated.

IRENA KOSSAKOWSKA CLARKE is an artist and author who has written a book due to be released in November 2016, based on the memories and experiences of her father, Wacław Kossakowski. “A Homeland Denied” ( follows his harrowing journey as a young Warsaw University student whose peaceful life was changed dramatically on the fateful day of September 1, 1939. From imprisonment in the notorious Kozielsk prison to a forced labor camp in the Siberian Arctic Circle, the story tells of suffering and brutality impossible to imagine. Forced to dig runways in temperatures reaching as low as minus 50°C while under constant threat from sadistic guards, he experienced a living hell with death his only companion. He endured and witnessed atrocities, which haunted him for the rest of his life, with so many friends murdered or frozen to death in the unforgiving cruelty of Siberia. But fate intervened and the icy wasteland was replaced by the blistering heat and dry deserts of the Middle East, where the student was taught to fight – and fight he did, in the Italian campaign, at Monte Cassino, Ancona and Bologna. Yet the desire to return to his homeland never left him and only memories of the idyllic life before the war and his intense yearning to return sustained him when he sank to the lowest depths of despair.

TOMASZ KUBA KOZŁOWSKI lives in Warsaw, where he popularizes the Kresy both as an author and as coordinator of the Warsaw Kresy Initiative at the History Meeting House (Dom Spotkań z Historią). For the last eight years he has organised and led the hugely popular series of 1,000 stories “Tales from the Kresy” as well as the “Kresy Cinema”. The Warsaw Kresy Initiative enables the dissemination of the Eastern Land’s history and heritage through a variety of forms. He is also co-author of the book “World of the Borderlands”. Kozłowski is creator and owner of the largest private collection of materials on the Kresy, comprising tens of thousands of objects, including all manner of printed materials, maps, archives,  iconography, antiques, everyday objects and souvenirs. This collection forms the basis for exhibitions, albums, and videos used to illustrate his talks. He has also created two major exhibitions, “World of the Borderlands” and “The Great War in the East (1914-1918) from the Baltic to the Carpathians”. Both exhibitions were accompanied by catalogues issued by the History Meeting House. He was awarded the Gloria Artis bronze medal bestowed by Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

ARKADIUSZ OLSZEWSKI lives  in  Pabianice  in  Central  Poland,  where  he  is  an  illustrator, graphic designer and producer of computer games and animated films. For some time now his primary  focus  is  on  works  related  to  Polish  history.  He  is  the  author  of,  among  others,  the animated  film  "Genocide"[],  which  premiered  on  January  17, 2016 in Pabianice. He is also producing a short animated film about the Accursed Soldiers (Anti-Communist Resistance Movement).  His art shows the history of Poland in a very expressive and emotional way, on subjects such as the Warsaw Uprising, the Battle of Khotyn, Battle of Warsaw, Battle of Pabianice (September 7, 1939), the Greater Poland Uprising, the Battle of Polonka and the Warsaw 303 Fighter Squadron. He explains that he is self-taught and only briefly studied graphics. His work is now mainly in the technique known as digital painting - painting on a computer with the aid of a tablet, but is equally unafraid of the pencil, pen or tattoo machine. A gallery of his works can be seen at

ADRIAN PAŁKA is a senior lecturer in Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University, with research interests in inter-disciplinary performance and installation as well as the politics, art and culture  of Central  and  Eastern  Europe.  His recent  work  focuses  on the overlap  of sound and image projections  in memorial work. This includes the installation “Bark and Butterflies”,  which was the product  of an artistic research  trip to Siberia in 2013 following  in the footsteps  of an inherited war time diary ( and “Iron Curtain” a multi-media reminiscence event  to  commemorate  the  fall  of  the  Berlin  Wall  in  2014  (  He  is currently  working  on  a  chapter  covering  the  digital  aspect  of  the  Siberia  expedition  for  the  forthcoming  CDare publication, “Digital Echoes: Spaces for Intangible and Performance Based Cultural Heritage” and a short film about his father’s life for the Leeds City Museum entitled “Exile to Yorkshire”.

DMITRIY PANTO was born  in Kokshetau,  Kazakhstan,  where  his Polish  great-grandparents were exiled in 1936. He finished his studies at Kokshetau State University in the fields of history, geography  and religious studies. He worked as a teacher of history in the German-Kazakh  high school Sankt-Lorenc as well as in a high school in Kokshetau. At the same time, he worked as an expert at the Center for Support of Victims of Destructive Religious Movements,  Kokshetau. He was a lecturer at the Institute of Qualification  Improvement  in Kokshetau and an expert for the Committee for Denominational Matters. He worked as an expert at the Institute for Ecclesiastical Studies and an expert at the Institute of National and Religious Policy Analysis in Lutsk, Ukraine. He now has a position in the Professional Science Department at the Museum of World War II in Gdansk. For many years, he has participated in organizations and associations concerned with Siberian deportees. His film "I am a Pole, I Wait" is in production and he will speak about Krasnodolsk, a Polish village in Kazakhstan, to illustrate the problem of Polish identity in Kazakhstan.

MAJA TROCHIMCZYK is a poet, music historian, photographer,  and non-profit director born in Poland and living in California ( She has published six books on music, two  volumes of  poems  and  edited  two  poetry  anthologies.  She  has  published  hundreds  of articles and poems in 7 languages and presented papers at over 70 national and international conferences.   She  received   fellowships   and  awards  from  the  American   Council  of  Learned Societies,  Social Sciences  and Humanities  Research  Council  of Canada,  several universities,  the City  and  County  of  Los  Angeles,  and  Poland’s  Ministry  of  Culture.  The  Sixth  Poet  Laureate  of Sunland-Tujunga (2010-2012) and founder of Moonrise Press, she is also a non-profit director, Communications Director for the Polish American Historical Association,  and a member of various editorial boards and poetry groups. Her latest book – “Slicing the Bread, Children’s Survival Manual in 25 Poems” – is a testimonial and monument to untold suffering, witnessed and experienced by non-Jewish Poles during the war, and afterwards under the oppressive “socialist” regime.

JACEK WALASZCZYK is an official at Police Headquarters  in Warsaw, a police officer, and a long-time staff member of the Europol European Police Office in The Hague. He is an enthusiast and expert on the history of the Polish State Police and collector of memorabilia  related to the history of Polish police formations of the first half of the 20th Century. He is also the creator and administrator  of a website dedicated to the history of the pre-war police corps, which serves to consolidate  and  promote  historical  knowledge  about  Polish  police  formations  of  that  time (  It  aims  to  disseminate  and  cultivate  community  awareness  and  to preserve the traditions of these formations. Its purpose is to collect and develop a set of documents on the history of the State Police, the Police of the Region of Silesia, as well as other forces involved in the security and protection  of public order operating in Polish territories in the period 1914-1945, as well to provide these in digital formats. Its aim is to preserve memories, keep the past alive and perpetuate the relics of our common national heritage.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Call for Papers - Poles in Latin America Conference in Gdynia, October 2016

1st International Interdisciplinary Scholarly Conference 
at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia

Poles and Polish Diaspora in Latin America: Past and Present
27th-28th October 2016, Emigration Museum in Gdynia, Poland

Photo Maciej Moskwa, from website.

The Emigration Museum in Gdynia has the honor to invite you to an international scientific conference on the Polish presence in Latin America. With this event, we want to start a series of scientific gatherings on the history of emigration from the Polish lands and the Polish communities which function in various parts of the world. We hope that through such actions and the research we conduct as well as our publishing projects, the Museum will become a significant exchange platform for ideas and experience of the units, whose research work is focused on the problems of emigration and Polish diaspora.

The Polish have an important position in the migration history of Europe and the world. Since the early days of the Polish state, our natives have left the country temporarily or permanently, for various reasons. It was caused by the complicated political history of the Polish nation and the often difficult socio-economic situation. As a consequence, the presence of Poles is now noticeable on every continent. Latin America has an important position among the lands, which have accepted a significant number of Polish emigrants. First, the Polish had little contact with that part of the world and it was rather incidental. However, after some time, as the migration processes were developing, coherent Polish communities formed there. The Polish diaspora and Poles became an important part of the social and cultural life of Latin America. The goal of the conference is to provide an opportunity for researches who specialise in the subjects connected with the Latin America Polish diaspora to meet, exchange views and take part in an interdisciplinary debate. Though we pay attention to the historic aspects of the Polish presence in this part of the world, we also want to focus on showing the image of Polish diaspora in Latin America today.

Therefore, we would like to emphasize the following questions during the conference:
 current and historic place of Poles and Polish Diaspora in the societies of Latin American countries;
 the Polish input into the political, social, cultural and scientific life of Latin American countries;
 the history of Polish emigration to Latin America;
 forming of the Polish diaspora communities in Latin America as well as political and cultural interest in this phenomenon;
 the forming and changes of Polish identity in Latin America;
 the image of Poles and Polish diaspora in the Polish diaspora press, journals and diary literature as well as belletristic literature and literary reports;
 the image of Poles and Polish Diaspora according to the information of diplomatic and consular representations;
 the relations between Poland and the Latin American Polish Diaspora;
 the activity of Polish diaspora organisations and Polish clergy among the members of Latin American Polish diaspora;
 the literary and cultural activity of Poles and Polish diaspora in Latin America;
 the research of Polish scholars in Latin America and their connections to Polish diaspora societies.

However, the above list is not complete, when it comes to the issues, which may be presented at the conference.

The conference is of an interdisciplinary character. The organizers' idea is to gather specialists who deal with the issues of Poles and Polish diaspora in Latin America from various perspectives: historians, political scientists, culture experts, Ibero-American and Latin American studies experts, cultural anthropologists, philologists, etc. The conference will be summarized with a reviewed printed publication in Polish.
Languages of the conference: Polish / Spanish / Portuguese.

Muzeum Emigracji, Gdynia, from

Please send the form, which has been attached to the invitation by 17th June 2016 to:

The information on the acceptance of a paper will be sent by the 1st of July 2016.

The conference is free of charge for its participants. The organisers provide the foreign
participants with accommodation (26th-27th, 27th-28th and 28th-29th October), full board
and print together with a possibility of translation of a text as a part of the post-conference
publication (upon the reception of a positive review).

NOTICE: The number of participants is limited. The final choice of applications qualified
for participation in the conference will be made by the Scientific Committee
of the Conference, based on the abstracts of papers which are sent in.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mid-Year Meeting of the PAHA Board in Rochester, NY

Polish American Historical Association organizes two meetings each year: the Annual Meeting held in early January, in association with the American Historical Association Conference, and the Mid-Year Meeting held in May, and scheduled in collaboration with a local Polonia organization. Typically the Mid-Year meeting include site visits to Polonian places of interest and a public lecture by one of our distinguished scholars.

Iwona Drag Korga and Czeslaw Karkowski arrive at the Skalny Center.

The 2016 Mid-Year Board Meeting was preceded by a public lecture by Professor James Pula of Purdue University, discussing "Poland in World War II." The lecture was followed by a reception organized by the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester (PHSR) at The Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center at St. John Fisher College.

Lecture by Prof. James Pula. Photo by Pien Versteegh.

The second day commenced with a site visit to St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, including a Mass in Polish and a tour provided by Kathy Urbanic of the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester.  The church's recently restored interior includes many Polish accents, icons of Our Lady of the Bright Mount, Pope John Paul II, and frescoes with St. Stanislaus Kostka and Polish royalty and religious figures associated with strengthening Christianity in Poland.

President Grazyna Kozaczka thus summarized the visit of PAHA Board to Rochester:

"The 2016 Midyear Meeting of PAHA was held at the Skalny Welcome Center, St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY where PAHA received a very warm welcome from the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester (PHSR). I am very grateful for all the help and support PAHA received from Dr. Frederic Skalny, Jerry Rachfal and Kathy Urbanic of PHSR as well as from other board members. The three day meeting started on Saturday evening (May 21) with an interesting and well attended lecture by Jim Pula on Poland in WWII  and was followed by a lively reception hosted by PSHrR which provided an opportunity to explain the work of PAHA to the members of the Rochester Polish American community. The following two days of business meetings were very productive and exciting as among other topics we also discussed our plans to celebrate in 2018 two major milestones for PAHA: PAHA’s 75th Annual Meeting and the 70th anniversary of PAHA becoming an autonomous organization.”

Mid-Year Board Meeting in progress.

The two-day Board Meeting was held at the Skalny Welcome Center. The Polish Heritage Society was generous enough to offer not one but two receptions including a Polish banquet, filled with traditional dishes at the Polska Chata restaurant in Rochester.

Maja Trochimczyk, Robert Synakowski and Iwona Drag Korga

Maja Trochimczyk with John Bukowczyk and Jim Pula. Standing: Jerry Rachfal.

 The dining room was decorated with antique photographs documenting the history of Poles in Rochester, dating back to 1880s.

This history was also presented in a book edited by Kathy Urbanic and Jerry Rachfal, and donated to PAHA during the festivities. The gift was reciprocated by PAHA President who donated books to the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester/

Kathy Urbanic, Jerry Rachwal and President Kozaczka with their book. 

The excellent Polish dishes included golabki, placki, pierogi, makowiec and szarlotka, among other delicacies, for which all guests were quite grateful.

PAHA President with Treasurer James Pula and Polonian activist.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Books on Polish and Polish American Subjects at Book Expo America in Chicago, May 2016

Polish American titles will be represented  at the Book Expo America (BEA) and BookCon Chicago (May 11 -14, 2016), which is the largest book show in the US. It will be held in Chicago this year in mid-May, and Poland is the featured country. The Poland exhibit is being managed by the Book Institute in Krakow and the Polish Cultural Institute in NYC, in collaboration with Aquila Polonica, a publisher of books on WWII experience in Poland and beyond.
Aquila Polonica's Terry Tegnazian  was asked to organize a “Books in English” section within the Poland exhibit. Thedisplay includes a generous selection of fiction and non-fiction books on Polish history published by Aquila Polonica, as well as poetry collections by John Z. Guzlowski's Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica, 2016), Maja Trochimczyk's Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014), Trochimczyk's Chopin with Cherries anthology (Moonrise Press, 2010), Cecilia Woloch (Carpathia), Oriana Ivy (April Snow), Stuart Dybek (I Sailed with Magellan), and Linda Nemec Foster (Amber Necklace from Gdansk).

John Z. Guzlowski's Echoes of Tattered Tongues 

 Published by Aquila Polonica in March 2016, this critically acclaimed books has already attracted many positive critical responses. Foreword Reviews, one of the leading publishing industry trade media, chose Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded, as one of only six books to highlight in its Poetry Feature in the Spring 2016 issue.

 Maja Trochimczyk wrote in Cosmopolitan Review:  “Some books take a lifetime to write, yet they can be read in one sleepless night, filled with tears of compassion and a heaviness of heart. John Z. Guzlowski’s book of poetic memoirs is exactly such a book: an unforgettable, painful personal history, distilling the horrors of his parents’ experiences in German labor and concentration camps into transcendent artwork of lucid beauty.” (January 2016)

The publisher writes: "In this major tour de force, John Guzlowski traces the arc of one of the millions of immigrant families of America, in this case, survivors of the maelstrom of World War II.  Raw, eloquent, nuanced, intimate—Guzlowski illuminates the many faces of war, the toll it takes on innocent civilians, and the ways in which the trauma echoes down through generations. His narrative structure mirrors the fractured dislocation experienced by war refugees. Through a haunting collage of jagged fragments—poems, prose and prose poems, frozen moments of time, sometimes dreamlike and surreal, other times realistic and graphic—Guzlowski weaves a powerful story with impacts at levels both obvious and subtle. The result is a deeper, more visceral understanding than could have been achieved through descriptive narrative alone."

"This is the story of Guzlowski’s family: his mother and father, survivors of the war, taken as slave laborers by the Germans; his sister and he, born soon after the war in Displaced Persons camps in Germany; the family’s first days in America, and later their neighbors in America, some dysfunctional and lost, some mean, some caring and kind; and the relationships between and among them all. As Guzlowski unspools the story backwards through time, he seduces us into taking the journey with him. Along the way, the transformative power of the creative process becomes apparent. Guzlowski’s writing helps him uncouple from the trauma of the past, and at the same time provides a pathway for acceptance and reconciliation with his parents. Ultimately, then, this is a story of healing."

"Because America is a land of immigrants with myriad and varied pasts, Guzlowski’s story may reflect pieces of your own family’s history, though details will of course differ. Something similar may also be the hidden story of one of your friends, or a colleague at work, or the sales clerk or waiter who serves you one day…or even, like Guzlowski, your professor of English literature"
Visit Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded website:

Visit the Aquila Polonica Schedule of Events at BEA 2016:


Maja Trochimczyk edited Chopin with Cherries to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin, and a number of Polish-American and American poets contributed their verse to celebrate the great composer, known very well on both sides of the ocean and around the world.

Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse 
edited by Maja Trochimczyk

This volume celebrates the 200th birth anniversary of Polish pianist-composer, Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849). Ninety-one poets are represented here; they live in the U.S., England, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Poland - with family roots in Poland, Australia, China, France, India, Italy, Malta, Mexico, the Philippines, Serbia, and other countries. The anthology includes more than 122 poems in English, and one important Polish poem, Cyprian Kamil Norwid's Fortepian Szopena, in a new English translation by Leonard Kress (this is the first English translation of Norwid's masterpiece, considered too difficult even by the translator of his entire oeuvre, Adam Czerniawski). English-language classics include verse by T. S. Elliot, Emma Lazarus and Amy Lowell.

Chopin is heard everywhere: in a Parisian church (Rick Lupert), on the plains of North Dakota (Thom Tamarro), in Ohio (Donna L. Emerson), in his birthplace in Zelazowa Wola (Margaret C. Szumowski), and on the radio (Ryan McLellan). Marian Shapiro considers the meaning of Chopin's art "as if each measure were a casual ripple in a spring stream of melting centuries." Australian-born poet Katrin Talbot envisions Chopin's music as an accusation for our failures:"'Why didn't you . . . ? Why did you . . . ?'" John Guzlowski writes about Chopin's music replacing traumatic memories of "the hollow surge and dust of German tanks" ("A Good Death"). Ruth Nolan hears Chopin in the desert, "between the spaces of darkness and sound, blown across the sand dunes into magnificence." Poets fondly remember playing or listening to the music associated with their childhood, evoking moments of happiness and feelings of nostalgia or loss (Trochimczyk's "A Study with Cherries" that gave rise to the title of the collection).

"The book's striking title brings the reader to Trochimczyk's own poem, "A Study with Cherries," where the musical motifs of one of Chopin's etudes transport the poet across space and time to the cherry orchard of her grandparents in Poland and offer her peace and fulfillment.... In Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse, just a glance at the chapter headings identifies the poetic interests in Chopin. Thus poets find inspiration in a particular musical genre such as waltzes, mazurkas, or nocturnes; they become fascinated by Chopin's life, illness, and death, and his relationship to George Sand; and, finally, they explore their own emotional responses to hearing or playing Chopin's music...." (From a review by Prof. Grazyna Kozaczka, The Polish Review, vol. 58 no. 4 (Winter 2013): 109).

"For those who have been moved by the music of Fryderyk Chopin, this new international anthology will be a treat... One breathtaking aspect of the anthology is the diversity of voices, both stylistically and geographically... [Among] the striking aspects of the anthology is the way in which the editor, Polish born Maja Trochimczyk, arranges the various sections, not only by musical forms, but also into sections like beauty and death, words that often come to mind when considering Chopin's life, his passions and his early demise." Christopher Woods in Contemporary World Literature no. 5 (February 2011).

For more information, visit Moonrise Press's site:

Slicing the Bread: Children's Survival Manual 
by Maja Trochimczyk

This unique poetry collection revisits the dark days of World War II and the post-war occupation of Poland by the Soviet Union that “liberated” the country from one foreign oppression to replace it with another. The point of view is that of children, raised by survivors, scarred by war, wary of politics. Children experienced the hunger and cold, witnessed the killings, saw the darkening blood spilled on the snow and hands stretching from locked boxcar windows. Some heard the voices of murdered Jews like “bees in the breeze,” others learned never to throw any food away, because “war is hunger.” The poems, each inspired by a single object giving rise to memories like Proust’s madeleine (a spoon, a coat, the smell of incense) are divided into three sections, starting with snapshots of World War II in the Polish Borderlands (Kresy) and central Poland. Reflections on the Germans’ brutal killing Jews and Poles are followed by insights into the way the long shadow of THE war darkened a childhood spent behind the Iron Curtain.

 For poet Georgia Jones Davis, this book, “brings the experience of war into shocking, immediate focus” through Trochimczyk’s use of “her weapon: Language at its most precise and lyrical, understated and piercingly visual.” According to Pulitzer-Prize nominated poet John Guzlowski, Maja’s “poems about what the Poles suffered both during World War II and The Cold War afterwards are written with the clarity of truth and the fullness of poetry… Here are the stories of how the people she loved experienced hunger and suffering and terror so strong that it defined them and taught her, and teach us, the meaning of family.” The Tieferet Prize winner and Poets-Café host Lois P. Jones points out that “Maja brings the Warsaw of her youth and that of her ancestors into vivid and heartbreaking detail. These are words that will move you to appreciate the simple privileges and necessities of life. Slicing the Bread is a feast in our universal and ever present famine.” As Jones wisely observes “It is the duty of the poet to convey story, but it is the art of the poet who can transform our often cruel and brutal history and affect forever, the way we look and listen to the world.”

Historical marker of a Nazi massacre of civilian Poles, by Maja Trochimczyk


 The Books in English section of BEA "Poland" display will show more than 100 books in English about Poland—including works of fiction, history, cookery, music, and much more—by a variety of publishers and authors. In addition to books of poetry by Guzlowski, Trochimczyk, as well as by Cecilia Woloch, Stuart Dybek, Oriana Ivy, and Linda Nemec Foster,  there are stories and novels by Maria Pilatowicz (Walking on Ice), Stuart Dybek, John Minczeski, Krysia Jopek, Leslie Pietrzyk, and James Mitchener. The memoirs include the Color of Courage by Julian Kulski.

The Color of Courage by Julian Kulski 

Aquila Polonica presented also the Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski (2014). This remarkable diary of a boy at war from ages 10 to 16 presents the thoughts, ideals, and actions of a young boy in occupied Poland. As the war unfolds through his eyes, we are privileged to meet a rare soul of indomitable will, courage and compassion. Kulski, the son of the Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, is a 10-year-old Boy Scout when the Germans invade Poland in September 1939. He soon begins waging his own private war against the Germans with small acts of sabotage.

At age 12, Kulski is recruited into the clandestine Underground Army by his Scoutmaster and begins training in military tactics and weapons handling. At 13, he accompanies his commander on a secret mission into the Warsaw Ghetto to liaise with leaders of the Jewish Resistance. Arrested by the Gestapo at age 14, Kulski is incarcerated in the notorious Pawiak Prison, beaten, interrogated at Gestapo headquarters, and sentenced to Auschwitz. After being rescued, he joins the Ninth Commando Company of the Underground Army, and at age 15 fights in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Taken prisoner by the Germans, 16-year-old Kulski ends the war in a POW camp, finally risking a dash for freedom onto an American truck instead of waiting for "liberation" by the Soviets.

Read more about this book:

My Sister's Mother by Donna Urbikas   

Donna Solecka Urbikas grew up in the Midwest during the golden years of the American century. But her Polish-born mother and half-sister endured dehumanizing conditions during World War II as slave laborers in Siberia. War and exile created a profound bond between mother and older daughter, one that Donna would struggle to find with either of them. At four o’clock in the morning on February 10, 1940, Janina Ślarzynska and her five-year-old daughter, Mira, were taken by Soviet secret police from their small family farm in eastern Poland and sent to Siberia with hundreds of thousands of others. So began their odyssey of hunger, disease, cunning survival, desperate escape across a continent, and new love amidst terrible circumstances.  After the war, Mira, Janina and her new husband—a Polish Army officer who had helped them escape the Soviet Union—are haunted by the past. Baby boomer Donna, born in post-war England and growing up in 1950s Chicago, yearns for a “normal” American family. In this unforgettable memoir, Donna recounts her family history and her own survivor’s story, finally understanding the damaged mother who had saved her sister.

The book has been described as “a gripping study of family dynamics, this is also a must-read for World War II history buffs” by Leonard Kniffel (author of A Polish Son in the Motherland) and “an unprecedented saga of a loving mother and her two daughters raised years and oceans apart . . .A unique perspective on the tragic deportation of Poles to Siberia” by Wesley Adamczyk (author of When God Looked the Other Way).  Allen Paul concluded: “. Her book is a primer for all who seek to understand the harrowing journey of the Poles during this fateful period."  Events are planned at the Kosciuszko Foundation on May 7 and at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago on May 22. More information

The catalogue of all books in English on display at BEA is found on Aquila Polonica website:


Non-fiction and memoirs by Polish-American authors include Across the Atlantic: The Adamowicz Brothers, Polish Aviation Pioneers by Zofia Reklewska Braun and Kazimierz Braun (Moonrise Press, 2015). Among memoirs are Memoirs of Helena Paderewska edited by Maciej Siekierski, and memoirs about WWII traumatic experiences of their mothers by Donna Urbikas and Barbara Rylko Bauer.
Other books include titles on Polish history, such as Alex Storozynski's Kosciuszko,  Polish American history (Anna Jaroszynska Kirchman's The Polish Hearst), the two-volume collection of studies edited by Anna Mazurkiewicz, East Central Europe in Exile, as well as books on politics, sociology, literature and music. The latter consists of a whole series of titles published by the Polish Music Center at USC, two books published by Marek Zebrowski, both about Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Chopin and Paderewski, and Paderewski in California, and William Smialek's and Maja Trochimczyk's The Frederic Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge 2015) is also on display. 

Geraldine Prusko's Journey to Polonia 

(by Grazyna Kozaczka)

Journey to Polonia, Book One: The Polish Americans (Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing, 2015), Geraldine Prusko’s debut novel, takes on an ambitious topic of the epic journey of thousands of Polish peasants from the reality of poverty and persecution in the partitioned Poland of the late 1800s to the dream of prosperity and freedom in the United States. The information on the book cover suggests that Prusko’s own family stories of emigration from Poland inspired this novel, which the author promises to be the first one in a series.

The narrative begins in 1965 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a dramatic scene of a sexual assault on a teenage girl returning home from school on a dark winter afternoon. As in many similar situations, the rapist is known to Olivia Medjeski – he is a cousin. And as in many similar situations at the time, Olivia is urged by the women in her family, by her mother and her grandmother, to just forget what happened to her, to keep quiet so she would not be blamed for the attack and further victimized by the community.

Yet how can this high school senior deal with the feelings of fear, disgust, guilt, and shame, while keeping it all to herself? Her mother suggests a way to begin the healing process: Olivia should investigate the history of her family, a family of Polish immigrants who settled in Milwaukee in the 1890s. For Olivia, the past creates a badly needed distraction and allows her to learn about some extraordinary women who endured many hardships as they kept their families together and continued Polish traditions in the new land.

Olivia’s investigation provides the framework for Prusko’s plot, constructed of separate stories chronicling the journey to America of Olivia’s four sets of great-grandparents. At first the reader gets to know Olivia’s ancestors within their original Polish setting. For the most part, they are all peasants although some of them managed to gain some education. Through their stories, Prusko investigates different reasons for peasant emigration and with great sensitivity shows the trauma of emigration: the leaving behind of all that was familiar and loved to venture into the frightening unknown. Some of the best, but also most disturbing, chapters of Journey to Polonia deal with the journey itself, from Polish villages by horse-drawn carts and trains, through Prussian ports and finally the ocean crossing in steerage to reach the port of New York.

Journey to Polonia is a chapter in the Polish American narrative albeit a family one. However, in the future editions of this novel, the author should consider changing the map insert to include an accurate representation of the partitions of Poland: Krakow was not a part of the Russian Empire. Likewise, it might be helpful to readers unfamiliar with Polish history to include precise information about the partitions.


NOTE: Items about books by John Guzlowski, Donna Urbikas and Geraldine Prusko are reprinted from PAHA Newsletter Vol. 73 No. 1, April 2016.