Archive for November, 2017

2017 Dr. Mazurkiewicz lecture notes

The Story of Polish and East European Exiles
in the United States After World War II


Lecture by Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz

Professor of history at the Gdańsk University
and the 2017-2018 President of the
Polish-American Historical Association (PAHA)

The lecture took place in the Polish Center of Wisconsin on November 16, 2017 under the sponsorship of the Wisconsin State Division of the Polish American Congress and the Polish Heritage Alliance.

…. by David Rydzewski with edits by Dr. Donald Pienkos

This is the great, if little known story of many Polish and other East European po-litical leaders and activists who had fled their homelands after 1945, the year World War II ended. Soviet Russia had taken over their homelands, suppressed their countries’ freedom and initiated what became known as the Cold War with the United States and the Free World. For the exiles from Eastern Europe, the U.S. government would provide both a new homeland and the support they sought in order to carry on their struggle to regain their countries’ freedom from Communist domination.

After the Faustian bargain that began at the Teheran Conference with Russia’s push to change the borders of post war Poland to the Curzon line and furthered and expanded that argument in Yalta and Potsdam; Britain and the United States negotiated away the rights and freedoms of 100 million East Europeans. With eyes only on how to end the war in Europe and the Pacific, as speedily and at least expense in allied lives, they traded war time expediency, for 45 years worth of cold war subjugation of those people.


Arthur Bliss Lane, American ambassador to Poland wrote a book in 1948 called I Saw Poland Betrayed: An American ambassador reports to the American people. It was first published in the U.S. and later in Poland by an underground publisher. It was a early report to the world by an American insider on this Faustian bargain. East European exiles had been saying this since the end of the war.

America began to fund these exiles in covert ways. In 1949 the U.S. government formed the “National Committee for a Free Europe”, later known as the “Free Europe Committee” or FEC. This group funded by American intelligence agencies created tools for spreading an anti-communist message, for use in the Iron Curtain countries. So began Radio Free Europe, the Europe Free Press, speakers bureaus, and other programs.

Polish exile groups organized in different ways and often were at odds with one another. The FEC pushed for one national committee, but that was a tough task for groups such as the Polish Political Council, the Polish National Democratic Committee, and the Polish Council of National Unity, and the Polish Council in the U.S., who all had similar goals, Poland’s independence, but competing strategies.

In 1954 national committees of nine Central and East European countries formed the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN). This new organization delivered an anti-communist message from the intellectual, educational, scientific and political elites of these nations, who kept alive the voice of the “stateless.” For 7 years the ACEN had a building across the street from the United Nations building in New York, where they kept messages of Europe’s oppressed, visible to the western world.

Without an independent base for financial and political support, the question needs to be asked ,“Were these Polish and East Europeans exiles just part of Dependent Political Organizations, sponsored by American and Western European countries, primarily serving their interests?”

Did FEC and ACEN serve America first and only then exiles and those in the captive countries? Or did it materially help and give hope to those exiles and their countries? Well, it is true that “He who pays the Piper calls the tune”, but what did the exiles and their countries gain?

In the short term, hope was kept alive, and in the longer term, these exiles and their causes saved political tradition, helped spread their countries cultural herit-age, and helped the establishment of East European and Central European Studies as an academic pursuit.

Today those ACEN countries form the eastern watchtowers of NATO, defending themselves and other NATO member states.




Source: Wikimedia


Source: Wikimedia

2017 Polish Independence and Veterans Day


Polish American Congress Wisconsin Division (PAC-WI)
celebrates again the
Polish Independence and American Veterans Day

Irena Frączek reports……….

Designed to celebrate the Polish Independence Day (Narodowe Święto Niepodległości) and the US Veterans Day (coincidentally both observed in their respective countries on November 11th), the annual signature event of the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division (PAC-WI) was held this year on November 5th, 2017. As usual, the well-attended luncheon provided also a spectacular setting for recognizing the 2017 recipients of the Congressman Clement Zablocki Civic Achievement Award.



The sounds of Polish music greeted the luncheon guests arriving from Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison and Chicago. Performed in the spacious, high ceiling foyer of the Polish Center by John Pienkos (violinist) and Thomas Gapinski (pianist), patriotic Polish tunes served also as a great backdrop for the Kościuszko exhibit that Polanki, the Polish Women’s Cultural Club of Wisconsin, made graciously available to augment the ceremony. In attendance was Ewa Barczyk-Pease, who with Tamara Johnston co-authored the exhibit to commemorate the Year of Kościuszko.


Jim Robaczewski (Secretary-Treasurer of Polish Roman Catholic Union of America) and violinist John Pienkos led the singing of Polish and American national anthems that traditionally opens the ceremonial banquet. Among distinguished guests introduced afterward were Piotr Janicki, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and Ken Skowronski, President of Polish Heritage Alliance and State Representative of Wisconsin; Jeff Kuderski; Executive Director of Polish Heritage Alliance; Denna Flemming, President of Polanki, Polish Women’s Cultural Club of Milwaukee; Claire Ann Gauoette, President of Polish Heritage Society of Northeastern Wisconsin; Teresa Jankowski, Commissioner of Polish National Alliance Dist. 14 Wisconsin; Claude Krawczyk, Chair of the Kościuszko Monument Restoration Foundation; Henry Kulesza, Representative of the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, Aleksandra Burzynski, the owner of Polonez Restaurant in Milwaukee; and many past and present officers of the PAC-Wisconsin Division.

In the opening remarks that followed the applause for honored quests, David Rydzewski, president of PAC-Wisconsin Division, focused on the strengths of Polish-American friendship and recounted the remarkable story of “The Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States” containing 5.5 millions signatures and greetings sent in 1926 from Poland to the United States on the 150th anniversary of American independence. On the other hand, Consul Piotr Janicki, spoke about contemporary connections between Poland and American Polonia, listing also a variety of ways in which we can support and contribute to progress in the country of our ancestors.

In recent news about past recipients of the Zablocki Award, Professor Wacław Szybalski (the 2015 awardee) was recently honored in the special event organized by the Kościuszko Foundation Collegium of Eminent Scientists. More information and the event’s photo gallery can be accessed from the News & Events page on the Kościuszko Foundation website and an article published in Nowy Dziennik (Polish Daily News).

After the elegant meal that followed invocation given by Deacon William Banach, and the heartfelt salute to all Veterans, Dr. Donald Pienkos, Past President and current Treasurer of Polish American Congress, reviewed the legacy of Congressman Clement Zablocki and the history of Civic Achievement Award established in his name. Since 1950, the award has been bestowed upon nearly 100 individuals and organizations that distinguished themselves by their service to the Polish-American community and Polish contributions made to broader advancements in the state of Wisconsin and the nation. In 2017, another four outstanding individuals have joined their ranks:

DSC_0411-adsMałgosia Daugherty – a member of the Polish Heritage Society of Northeastern Wisconsin (PHS of NEW) active in all faucets of the society’s work. After joining it in 2002, she served as its Treasurer for ten years and currently serves as its vice president. She also became involved in producing the Society’s bi-monthly publication (3,500 in circulation), organized the presentation of movies on Polish themes and participated in organizing and promoting many other Polish-themed cultural events in the Green Bay area, St. Norbert College (where she teaches Polish since 2008) and Life Long Learning Institute in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

DSC_0390-adsAlex P. Durtka, Jr. – a President and CEO of the Institute of Wisconsin (IIW) for the past thirty four years, where he oversees programs and services dealing with immigration, refugee resettlement, translation and interpretation, citizen diplomacy, and education. He is also involved in organizing the Holiday Folk Fair International, actively promotes the cultural heritage goals of UNESCO and serves on the board of Sister Cities International and other organizations sharing the IWW mission. In those capacities, he assisted in addressing the needs of newcomers from Poland and spreading knowledge of our Polish heritage.

DSC_0380-adsNeil Dziadulewicz – coming from a family with strong tradition of activism in Milwaukee’s Polish community, he is a member of Syrena Polish Folk Dance Ensemble for nearly forty years. Serving for five terms as Syrena’s president and working closely with Ada Dziewanowska, Syrena’s beloved director and choreographer (see Neil’s video about Ada), he helped to expand the international recognition for Syrena’s presentation of Poland’s rich heritage of dance, music, costumes, and customs. Neil also led Syrena’s successful bid to host the 2000 festival of the Polish Folk Dance Association of Americas and co-chairs the hugely popular Polish “Bal Maskowy.”

DSC_0385-adsBeverly E. Krass – a hard-working member of many organizations serving interests of Polish community in Milwaukee. She is a devoted and supportive parish member of the magnificent St. Josaphat Basilica and a long time officer of the Milwaukee Society of the Polish National Alliance, a key fraternal organization in the area. Beverly also played a leading role as secretary of the Polish Heritage Alliance in critical years of the organization raising funds needed to build the Polish Center (opened in 2000) and has been a volunteer at every Polish Fest since that Alliance-sponsored festival celebrating Polish heritage began in 1982.

Click on the link below for the downloadable document with more information about the 2017 honorees
2017 honorees full length

Congratulations to
the 2017 recipients of Zablocki Award


The success of the 2017 luncheon would not be possible without the organizational skills and/or public speaking talents of several members of the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division. In the alphabetic order they include Joanna Fraczek, Judith Free, Clare Ann Gaouette, Sharon Haberski, Ann Pienkos, Dr. Don Pienkos, John Pienkos, Dr. Mark Pienkos, Steve Pienkos, David Rydzewski and Derek Zarzeczny.

Specials thanks go also to these generous donors to Silent Auction: Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear, Clare Ann Gaouette, Judith Free, Sharon Haberski, Hampton Inn & Suites, Nina Nowakowski, Old World Deli, Dr. Don Pienkos, Polonez Restaurant, Ray’s Butcher Shop, David Rydzewski and Southside Gardens & Florist.

Sunday, November 5th, 2017 Newsletter No Comments

2017 Dr. Mazurkiewicz lecture

November 16, 2017 7-9 pm

The Story of Polish and East European Exiles in the United States After World War II’


Lecture by Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz

Professor of history at the Gdańsk University
and the 2017-2018 President of the
Polish-American Historical Association (PAHA)

Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz will identify the organized efforts that political exiles took to regain their countries freedom from the Soviet Union. She will also discuss the relationships between these exiles and their U.S. supporters and sponsors.

The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin State Division of the Polish American Congress, and the Polish Heritage Alliance.

The free and open to the public will be hosted in the Polish Center of Wisconsin.


Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 Newsletter No Comments

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