“No Greater Ally” Author Awarded by Poland’s Government

koskodanDuring a reception held Wednesday November 9, 2011 at the Polish Consulate in Chicago, Kenneth Koskodan was decorated with “The Knights Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland”.

Koskodan, author of the highly acclaimed “No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland’s Forces in World War II”, received the decoration from Consul General Zygmunt Matynia for his “extraordinary contribution to promoting Polish history in the United States”.  In attendance were representatives from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, as well as diplomats from Haiti and the Netherlands.

“No Greater Ally” is a comprehensive overview of Poland’s often ignored and maligned military contributions to the Allied war effort during the Second World War.  Poland fought alone against both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 and continued to fight throughout the war becoming the fourth largest Allied military of the war.  Polish forces played critical roles in the Battle of Britain, Tobruk, Normandy, Monte Cassino, Leningrad and Berlin.

The book chronicles Poland’s participation in all these battles highlighted with never before published firsthand accounts from veterans. Told in a truly unique heart wrenching style, “No Greater Ally” captures the inspiring stories of human endurance and the unbreakable spirit of the people of Poland tracing the plight of dozens of Veterans who fought throughout the war and suffered horribly at the hands of the Soviet and Nazi occupiers.  The book also contains never before seen photographs.

“I am humbled”, Koskodan said in a brief address after receiving the ward.   He added, “This really is for those veterans who fought for freedom and who trusted me to tell their stories.  I hope I have honored them.”

The initial Hardcover edition sold out in North America in just over one year following its release in June 2009.  The paperback edition was released in February 2011.  A Polish language edition was scheduled for release in November 2011 and an “E Book” Kindle edition is due to be released on December 20, 2011.

Ken Koskodan was born in Detroit and currently lives in Grand Blanc, MI.  He is a graduate of Michigan State University and currently works in the petro-chemicals industry.

Polish-American Heritage Day – EMU to Add Polish Curriculum

Polish Heritage Day
The Michigan Polish-American Congress got the Certificate of Merit for the best display at the Polonia showcase all part of the Polish-American Heritage Day at the Convocation Center. Here Anna Nowakowski and Barbara Lemecha go over the material they presented. Some of the suites at the arena decorated their sky-boxes to honor Poland and the occasion. (Photo by Lars Hjemlroth)

Displays Presented by PNA and Michigan PAC Gets Honored

YPSILANTI–  The campus of Eastern Michigan University was abuzz with action as the school’s intercollegiate basketball teams hosted Polish-American Heritage Day at the Convocation Center.  Besides the variety of attractions there were some special Polonia news announcements that highlighted the event.

Polish Rock-pop singing sensation, Magda Kaminski, performed.  She was a big hit doing routines and songs from her new CD at both halftimes.  She was gracious with post concert photos and mingled with the crowd after her sessions.  The Wawel Folk Ensemble and the PNA Centennial Dancers performed during the TV timeouts.

The event provided a platform for dialogue and creative connections.  Groups and people affiliated with Polish culture and those in attendance had an opportunity to make connections and build relationships.  Also, awareness was generated throughout the community and beyond.

EMU’s marketing and graduate studies program used the event as a skills development assignment and blitzed awareness for the occasion.  Other EMU activities were highlighted such as the faculty art exhibition and the upcoming graduate student art exhibition through March 8, at the Ford Gallery on campus.

A variety of historic and art displays were showcased in the atrium lobby along with an academic presentation by the EMU World Language Department.  Considering the global economy shifts, the EMU World Language Department showed how communication has become essential in more than one language.  The handouts introduced why it is so important to have a good understanding of other cultures.  Dr. Rosemary Weston-Gil was on hand for questions.  Additionally, resource materials were provided for study abroad.

It was also announced that EMU would be starting a Polish curriculum next September.

Carol Surma, president of Friends of Polish Art said, “I had nice discussions with folks who were interested in our upcoming 75th anniversary celebration and new audiences to network our scholarship programs.”

Chris Ozog said, ”This was a great opportunity for everyone to come together and highlight the activities of other organizations.  Who knew so many Americans were playing professional basketball in Poland?  This event also shows why an introduction to languages can be so relevant for global bussiness.”  Ozog also presented information about the upcoming Polish-American Night at Comerica Park with the home town Detroit Tigers.

It was announced that Friday, June 1, 2012 will be the date and the New York Yankees are the added draw.  Ted Klamerus, a longtime Detroit area sportsman and board member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame helped ambassador the baseball announcement.

The 2012 NPASHF induction will be Thursday, June 21, at the American-Polish Cultural Center  in Troy, Michigan.

The EMU E-Club Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was introduced and a presentation about the Polish-American Football League, Polska Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego, with EMU assistant football coach Mike Hart and sports broadcaster Raymond Rolak was popular.  A lively question and answer period held the attrention of many.  Rolak was in demand

Also a display on basketball, koszykowka, opportunities in Poland was a highlight.  This year there are 68 American men and 44 American women playing professional basketball in Poland, including Lauren Prochoska formerly of Bowling Green.  She was the Mid-American Conference Women’s Tournament MVP last year in Cleveland.  Anna Kowalska, a Polish National and also an assistant coach for the visiting Kent State women talked about her NCAA basketball experiences.

The Polish Times had a popular display about the Polish aviators of World War II and the Battle of Britain.  A local art club presented awards to the most outstanding educational displays including those presented by the PRCUA, Michigan Polish American Congress, and the Polish National Alliance.   

Information was also available on how to access archives of the Polish Detroit history collection at the Bentley Library along with information regarding the Polish Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Telewizja-Detroit a video service in the Detroit area and a continuous podcaster of Polish information had a display and TV message board available for those in attendance.  Another popular attraction was the Polish food offerings presented from Srodek’s of Hamtramck, MI.  There were video highlights of the Srodek television episode that aired on the popular Bizarre Foods TV show on the Travel Channel hosted by Andrew Zimmern.

Four year EMU basketball letter winner Kamil Janton, also a Polish National, had an outstanding defensive performance in the men’s 68-55 win over Ohio University.  Another highlight was in the EMU women’s victory over Kent State, 83-47.  EMU’s Tavelyn James lit up the scorboard with 40 points.  She was mobbed after the game by the CYO girls youth teams in attendance.

PolVision of Chicago carried a feature from the game and there were broadcast highlights of the event telecast to Poland.

Editors Note:  Tomasz Czuprynski is a presenter for Telewizja-Detroit

Polska Parada Po Raz 34

W poniedziałek, 6 września, w święto pracy „Labor Day” główną ulicą Hamtramck przemaszerowała po raz 34. Polska Parada. W sumie parady polonijne organizowane są od lat 30. ub. wieku. Początkowo miały miejsce na Belle Isle i związane były z obchodami święta 3 Maja. Później parada przeniosła się do śródmieścia Detroit i organizowana była w ramach obchodów „Dnia Pułaskiego”. W 1977 r. parada przeniosła się ponownie, tym razem do Hamtramck i organizowana jest pod auspicjami michigańskiego wydziału Kongresu Polonii Amerykańskiej.

Marszałkiem tegorocznej parady był sędzia dystryktu 41. – Steve Sierawski. Na paradzie nie zabrakło także innych ważnych osobistości z miasta Hamtramck oraz stanu Michigan, w tym burmistrz Hamtramck Karen Majewskiej, sędziego Paula Paruka, senatora Carla Levina i jego brata kongresmana Sandera Levina czy ubiegającego się o stanowisko senatora stanowego Steve’a Biedy.

Największą grupę, jak co roku, stanowiły polonijne zespoły tańca folklorystycznego. Lista grup tych jest naprawdę imponująca. Polanie, Zamek, Gwiazda, Halka, Opole, Polskie Maki, Rogalin, Wieliczka, Łowicz, Zakopane, Polanie i Wawel.

Polonijne parafie reprezentowane były przez m.in. kościoły św. Floriana, św. Władysława oraz św. Wojciecha (najstarszy polonijny kościół w naszej metropolii detroickiej). W paradzie szła także reprezentacja organizacji Polish American Assistance Association ze swym prezesem Michaelem Ostrowskim przebranym za husarza oraz Polskie Stowarzyszenie Genealogiczne stanu Michigan. Ponownie na paradzie gościli seminarzyści z Seminarium Duchownego w Orchard Lake. Nie zabrakło harcerzy, władz Związku Narodowego Polskiego, Związku Polek w Ameryce, organizacji Friends of Polish Art, Biblioteki Publicznej w Hamtramck, no i oczywiście miejscowych strażaków i policji z ich szefem, Markiem Kalinowskim.

Zarząd michigańskiego wydziału Kongresu Polonii Amerykańskiej był także obecny, a specjalna platforma przygotowana przez komitet parady Kongresu Polonii Amerykańskiej przypominała oglądającym paradę o rocznicy 125-lecia powstania Zakładów Naukowych w Orchard Lake.

Chyba po raz pierwszy do parady dołączyło Amerykańsko-Polskie Centrum Kulturalne – maszerowali członkowie zarządu oraz pracownicy Centrum. Był też gość z Chicago – firma „Pulaski Marketing”, dystrybutor wódki „Sobieski”.

Całość prowadzili w tym roku Jerry Surowiec, Kinga Gorzelewski, Wally Banka oraz Kathy Kristy.

Na koniec głos zabrał przewodniczący komitetu organizacyjnego – sędzia John Chmura oraz burmistrz Hamtramck – Karen Majewski. Życzyli wszystkim zebranym na paradzie udanego święta „Labor Day” i przyjemnego pobytu w Hamtramck. (seb).

Pulaski – Honorary American Citizen

PulaskiMiller applauds passage of measure to make Pulaski an Honorary American Citizen. COngress bestows rare honor posthumously.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10) today applauded the passage of H.J. Res 26, a measure in the House of Representatives that would award posthumous American citizenship on Casimir Pulaski, the Polish military commander who fought and died heroically in the Revolutionary War. The honor has only been bestowed upon six other people throughout American history, and Miller said that the extraordinary bravery and sacrifice of the Polish war hero rises to the level of the award.

“Following the advice of Benjamin Franklin, General Washington brought Casimir Pulaski to America to help our forces fight the British,” said Miller. “He was promoted to general officer by Washington after showing incredible bravery against British forces. And when funding from Congress was tight, Pulaski used his own money to purchase necessary equipment for his soldiers. This was a man of true bravery, honor and courage.”

Pulaski had been renowned in Europe for his bravery and skill as a Polish commander after fighting the Russians for Polish independence when George Washington heard of his skill and brought him to America. Pulaski showed incredible bravery against the British in the Battle of Brandywine and used his own money to help fund the war effort. In 1779, after launching an attack in the Battle of Savannah, Pulaski was fatally wounded and died two days later. Miller said that Pulaski would have been proud of the award Congress has bestowed upon him.

“Casimir Pulaski fought and died for this country, and it was a country he loved,” said Miller. “In his death he fulfilled a commitment he had made to General Washington in which he stated ‘I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it. Casimir Pulaski died for our freedom and he is deserving of being awarded posthumous American citizenship.”

Phaedra Dugan
Communications Director
Office of Congresswoman Candice Miller

228 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2106 office
(202) 257-1554 cell

Polska Parada Po Raz 33

Polish Day Parade

W poniedziałek, 7 września, w święto pracy „Labor Day” główną ulicą miasta Hamtramck – Joseph Campau przemaszerowała po raz 33. Polska Parada. W sumie parady polonijne organizowane są od lat 30. ub. wieku. Początkowo miały miejsce na Belle Isle i związane były z obchodami święta 3 Maja. Później parada przeniosła się do śródmieścia Detroit i organizowana była w ramach obchodów „Dnia Pułaskiego”. W 1977 roku parada przeniosła się ponownie, tym razem do Hamtramck i organizowana jest pod auspicjami michigańskiego wydziału Kongresu Polonii Amerykańskiej.

Marszałkiem tegorocznej parady był Wally Ozog, znany działacz polonijny, prezes Polskiej Rzymsko-Katolickiej Unii w Ameryce (Polish Roman Catholic Union of America). Na paradzie nie zabrakło innych osobistości, w tym m.in. sędziego Paula Paruka, pani burmistrz Karen Majewski, senatora Carla Levina i jego brata senatora stanowego Sandera Levina czy wicegubernatora stanu Johna Cherry’ego. Największą grupę, jak co roku stanowiły polonijne zespoły taneczne. Lista grup tych jest naprawdę imponująca. Polanie, Polskie Maki, Łowicz, Zakopane, Zajączek, Zamek, Rogalin – to tylko niektóre z nich.

Polskie parafie reprezentowane były przez m.in. kościoły św. Floriana, Królowej Apostołów i św. Wojciecha. W paradzie chyba po raz pierwszy szła także grupa reprezentująca Komitet Polonia-Polsce (American Polish Assistance Association) ze swym prezesem Michael Ostrowskim, przebranym w polskiego husarza. Ponownie na paradzie gościli seminarzyści z Seminarium Duchownego w Orchard Lake. Nie zabrakło harcerzy, władz Związku Narodowego Polskiego, Związku Polek w Ameryce, Instytutu „Piast”, Polskiego Stowarzyszenia Genealogicznego, Biblioteki Publicznej w Hamtramck, no i oczywiście miejscowych strażaków i policji z ich szefem, Markiem Kalinowskim. Zarząd michigańskiego wydziału Kongresu Polonii Amerykańskiej niósł plakaty informujące o 70. rocznicy wybuchu II wojny światowej oraz 20. rocznicy upadku komunizmu w Polsce. Natomiast specjalna konstrukcja, którą przygotował komitet parady Kongresu Polonii Amerykańskiej przypominała o 50. rocznicy zdobycia mistrzostwa kraju drużyny z Hamtramck w tzw. „małej lidze” baseballa.

Całość ponownie prowadził Gerald Surowiec oraz jego syn. Na koniec głos zabrali jeszcze: sędzia John Chmura, przewodniczący komitetu organizacyjnego oraz burmistrz Hamtramck Karen Majewski. Swe krótkie przemówienie wygłosiła po angielsku oraz po polsku. Po polsku przypomniała, że to nasza odpowiedzialność, aby polskość nie zaginęła w Hamtramck. „To my musimy popierać nasze biznesy, nasze organizacje i naszą etniczność i naszą tutaj obecność” – powiedziała. Życząc dobrej zabawy, dodała: „Kochajmy się i kochajmy Hamtramck, nasze polskie miasteczko”.