Archive for August 21st, 2015

Polish American Congress Meets in Washington D.C. – July 2015

Polish American Congress Meets in Washington D.C.

The Polish American Congress (PAC) held its annual Council of National Director’s Meeting in Washington, D.C. on July 20-23. More than 60 delegates representing PAC State Divisions and member organizations were in attendance.

The purposes of the meeting were:

  1. To conduct the business of the organization, including hearing officer reports and debating by-law changes,
  2. To meet with high-ranking governmental officials, who presented briefings on the security of Poland and the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and
  3. To personally meet and discuss with Members of U.S. Congress issues related to Poland’s security in light of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and Poland’s inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

“On the threshold of the 2016 presidential election, PAC leaders and activists came to Washington to learn and to educate in a bipartisan fashion about many of the issues held most dear by American Polonia and by our friends and relatives living in one of the strongest and most vibrant democracies in Europe,” said Frank Spula, PAC president. “We are as one with those of both political parties who maintain that our best years are still ahead of us.”

As Poland has been a strong ally of the United States, PAC members engaged more than 50 Congressmen and U.S. Senators in their offices on July 22 as part of Polonia’s effort to gain assurances for the security of Poland by the U.S. and NATO Alliance – the latter in which Poland has been a member since 1999.

During a conference in the afternoon of July 22, the PAC directors were briefed on the inner workings of the U.S.-Poland relationship by Brittany Boulieu of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kyle Parker and Philip Bednarczyk of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as by H. Martin McDowell, the Deputy Director in the Office for Central Europe in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State

Senator Charles Schumer (NY) addressed the group regarding his strong and continuing support for Poland and Poland’s admission into the VWP. In addition, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH), Congressman Mike Quigley (IL), and Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL) offered their insights to the PAC regarding these issues. Schumer, Kaptur, and Quigley were recognized with the organization’s highest recognition – the Polish American Congress Medal of Freedom – for their many efforts on behalf of Poland and Polish American community.

On the final day of the meeting, Dr. Michael Carpenter, special advisor to Vice President Biden, addressed the group and among his comments Carpenter unequivocally stated that “the United States will defend Poland and the U.S. will use all of its tools to defend its Allies.” Carpenter’s remarks were followed by those of Mark Koumans, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, who briefed the group on the details and mechanism of U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

In addition to spending an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, PAC members had the opportunity to visit the Polish Embassy to hear the latest information on Poland’s efforts to ensure its security, as well as to continue to strengthen its economy. Developing ways to increase Polish exports was of particular interest.

The Polish American Congress was established in 1944 and is a national umbrella organization representing more than 10 million Americans of Polish descent and origin. With 28 State Divisions and 18 National Member Organizations, the PAC has a presence nationwide.

For additional information:

Dr. Barbara B. Andersen, Director
National Office, Polish American Congress
202-296-6955 (Office)
202-835-1565 (FAX)

Dr. Mark Pienkos, Polish American Congress
National Vice President for Public Relations
262-325-8039 (Cell)

Friday, August 21st, 2015 Newsletter No Comments

Issues Statement Condemning FBI Directory James Comey’s Comments

April 22, 2015

Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division
Issues Statement Condemning
FBI Director James Comey’s Comments

The Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division issued a statement condemning the recent comments made by FBI Director James Comey.  Last week, Comey made comments suggesting Poles were accomplices in the Holocaust.  Anyone who knows the history of World War II would never make such a statement.  Comey showed not only his lack of judgment, but also his ignorance as to what happened in German occupied Poland during 1939-1945.

Poland has been one of the staunchest allies of the United States throughout our history.  Poland is also a member of NATO.  Poland does not deserve Comey’s uneducated commentary about the Holocaust that saw six million Polish citizens killed.

The Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division stands not only with the Republic of Poland in condemning Comey’s remarks, but also with people throughout the world who are interested in learning and informing others of the truth of the extermination of innocent peoples during the Holocaust.

The remarks made by Director Comey deserve strong condemnation.  They also require not only a sincere apology, but a commitment to learn the lessons of history that accurately portray Poland’s commitment to freedom, tolerance, and friendship.  The best way for Director Comey to show his sincere remorse is to resign.

Let it always be remembered and taught that Poland never capitulated nor collaborated with the German occupation of its homeland.

Let this never be forgotten: The people of Poland – all its people – were the victims of the most cruel and merciless totalitarian aggression in World War II.  Let no one ever forget this.


Mark Pienkos, President
Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division
703 S. Lake Shore Drive, Unit 1E
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

Friday, August 21st, 2015 Newsletter No Comments

2015 Congressman Clement Zablocki” Civic Achievement Award”

Awarded annually by the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division

Mrs. Teresa Jankowski is a dedicated fraternalist who has been active for many years in the Polish National Alliance. In 2011 Teresa was elected District Commissioner of the Polish National Alliance fraternal for Wisconsin and Minnesota. In the greater Milwaukee area, she is a longtime leader in her home PNA lodge and Council and is a supportive member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin State Division of the Polish American Congress. Teresa is a strong and always cheerful promoter of cooperative activity within our Polish American community and is a visible force in the Polonia Sports Club and in the annual Polish Fest.

Mr. José G. Pérez was elected Alderman for District 12 of Milwaukee in 2012. A native of Milwaukee’s near South Side, Jose Perez is a grandson of immigrants from Puerto Rico who came to our city to work here in the 1950s. As Alderman, Jose Perez has distinguished himself as a friend of Polonia, in particular by his leadership role in supporting the restoration of the Kościuszko Monument, which is in his district’s Kosciuszko Park. Alderman Perez’s interest in political service dates back to his college years at Cardinal Stritch University, his duties as an intern in the Washington, DC office of Congressman Gerald Kleczka, his  work under Mayor John Norquist, and in his many-sided involvements in Hispanic American organizations. As Alderman, Jose Perez has been dedicated to his District’s economic and community development.

Mrs. Gloria and Mr. Jim Shire have both been devoted volunteers with the Polish Heritage Alliance since the Polish Center was dedicated in 2000. Both have worked at every Polish Fest since then and have been fixtures in the annual Lenten Season Fish Fry fund raisers. Their volunteer spirit has been expressed in other ways as well. As Jim puts it, “When we get a call; we go.” Gloria’s volunteerism led to her appointment to the Management Committee of Polish Fest. The Shirer’s giving ways go beyond PHA service too. Jim, a veteran of the Korean War, is Commander of the Alonzo Cudworth Post of the American Legion. Gloria is active in the Girl Scouts of America. Both are involved in Holy Family parish of Whitefish Bay, where Jim has been an usher for forty years. Dr. Waclaw Szybalski is Professor Emeritus of Oncology and an eminent scholar in the fields of molecular genetics at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. Dr. Szybalski’s contributions to medical science over the past sixty years have been extraordinary and his scientific achievements have merited at least one Nobel Prize in the view of his colleagues, some of whom have been Nobel Prize winners themselves. Among his many honors over the years, Dr. Szybalski has received Honorary Doctoral Degrees from five Polish universities, including Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin and the Universities of Gdansk and Kraków, the UW Hilldale Award and the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta from President Komorowski of the Republic of Poland in 2011 for his “extraordinary and distinguished service.”   Dr. Szybalski was born in 1921 and educated as Ch.E. in Lwów, Poland.  He lived through six years of the inhumane Soviet-Russian and Nazi-German WW II occupations of his homeland and found his way to the United States in 1950.  His research in molecular biology commenced soon after at the Genetics Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  One of his primary research collaborators has been his wife, Elizabeth Hunter Szybalska. Dr. Szybalski is a member of the Polish Heritage Club of Madison.

The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Libraries is honored for its commitment to preserving and digitizing the Roman Kwasniewski Photographic Collection of interwar Milwaukee Polonia. This collection, acquired in the late 1970s, includes more than 25,000 photographs and is the best and most comprehensive visual historic resource for the study of Polish American urban life in the United States. Significantly, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ involvement in preserving and disseminating Poland’s heritage goes beyond its extraordinary actions with the Kwasniewski collection. The Libraries house the American Geographic Society (AGS) collection, which includes a number of invaluable historic maps of Poland and many other materials of benefit to students of Poland’s history, its geography, its place in European art and culture, and to members of the community interested in genealogy. In addition, the UW-M Libraries has hosted a long list of memorable exhibits, films, and lectures over the years that focus on important themes and events in Polish history, working in cooperation with the UW-M Polish Studies Committee and Polonia groups. In 2010 it hosted a grand reception for participants in the national meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. In short, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries represent

libraries at their best and is a living, coherent, and readily accessible repository of culture and in

particular here, the Polish and Polish American experience.

Friday, August 21st, 2015 Newsletter No Comments

Archived Posts

August 2015
« Nov   Sep »