PAC meets with newly appointed Consul General

Officers of the Polish American Congress Michigan Division, President Mariusz Szajnert and Vice Presidents Anna Bańkowski and Sebastian Szczepański, met with newly appointed Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Paulina Kapuścińska during a “Meet & Greet” event organized by Piast Institute in Hamtramk, Monday, September 10.  Paulina Kapuścińska was appointed Consul General of Poland on September 1.  Previously, she served as the Consul General inLos Angeles.

Pictured (l. to r.): Mariusz Szajnert, Paulina Kapuścińska, Anna Bańkowski and Anna Bieciuk from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s office.

Katyń Documents Declassified

The following letter/invitation was sent by Polish American Congress Michigan Division to all the Michigan State Representatives and Michigan Senators.

Dear [Senator or Member of the United States Congress];
The Polish American community in Michigan represented by Polish American Congress, Michigan Division requests the honor of your participation in a very special commemorative ceremony marking the Opening of the Katyń Collection by the United States National Archives. The Opening of the Katyń Collection will be announced to the public by the United States Archivist on September 10, 2012, at 3pm in the Congressional Meeting Room North at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. Your participation in this historic event will be greatly appreciated by Polish Americans and all people of good will.
The 1940 extermination of Polish officers held in Soviet prisoner-of-war camps and civilian prisoners arrested in the aftermath of the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, symbolically known as the Katyn Crime, remain shrouded in secrecy to this day. As a result of the long lasting collaboration of the Katyń family community in the United States with the US Congress and the US National Archives and Records Administration, the Katyń Collection, compiled from recently declassified Katyń-related documents in the possession of the United States Government, will become available to the public. The significance of the Opening of the Katyń Collection cannot be overstated. This historic event will open access to a new body of knowledge which will expand our understanding of the causes and consequences of World War II, and shall help in preventing future man-made human catastrophes.
The Polish American community, in particular the Katyń families, are very much looking forward to your participation in the Opening of the Katyń Collection as a gesture of respect for the victims of this heinous crime hidden from our collective conscience for so long, as a sign of your support for the entire Polish American community including the Katyn families living in the United States, and as recognition of the significance of the disclosure of the Katyń documentation towards very much needed reconciliation over this unprecedented crime of historic proportions.

 

 

PAC Michigan Quarterly General Membership Meeting

PAC Michigan Quarterly General Membership Meeting will be held Monday, September 17, at 7:00 pm.  Location: PAC-MI headquarters (11333 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, MI).

PAC Presents 20012 Scholarship Recipients

On Thursday, August 9, PAC-Michigan Scholarship Fund held its annual Scholarship Award Dinner during which this year’s recipients of the PAC Scholarships were presented. The event was held at the “Krakus” Restaurant in Detroit.
The presentation was conducted by Wallace Ozog, the chairman of the PAC Scholarship Fund and Mariusz Szajnert, the President of the PAC-Michigan Division.
Initially, all the recipients were to receive $500 each, but thanks to generosity of Ray and Susanne Okonski, the amount was doubled. Ray Okonski is a well-known philanthropist and a supporter of many Polonian organizations’ scholarship programs. PAC was lucky enough to receive matching $500 for each recipients.
The following are the 2012 Polish American Congress of Michigan Scholarship Fund Recipients: Evan Tylenda, Felicia Adamczyk, Angela Tarnogórska, Matthew Piecyk, Victoria Bujny, Ewa Jabłecki, Evelina Kutyma, Ewa Bieciuk, Piotr Buniewicz, Michael Chruściel, Katherine Dziuba, Michał Hałoń, Marcin Jabłecki.
Representatives of many Polonian organizations were also present to show their support of the scholarship program. Traditionally, representatives of PAC Federal Credit Union came to present their monetary contribution to the fund.
Since its inception, PAC Scholarship Fund has awarded 243 students (so far) for a total of $195,900.

PAC Michigan Quarterly General Membership Meeting

Monday, June 4, 7:00 pm – PAC Michigan Headquarters, 11333 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, MI

US President Barack Obama’s Letter to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski

US President Barack Obama has written a letter to the Polish president expressing “regret” for an inadvertent verbal gaffe that caused a storm of controversy inPoland.  Obama on Tuesday, May 29, used the expression “a Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish World War II resistance hero rather than wording that would have made clear that he meant a death camp that Nazi Germany operated on Polish soil during its wartime occupation of Poland.

 Text of a letter written by President Barack Obama to Polish President:

His Excellency

Bronisław Komorowski

President of theRepublicofPoland

Warsaw

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

Thank you for your letter of May 30.  I was proud to honor Jan Karski with the Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor.  My decision to do so was a reflection of the high esteem in which the American people hold not only a great Polish patriot, but the extraordinary sacrifices of the Polish people during the Nazi occupation of the Second World War.

In referring to “a Polish death camp” rather than “a Nazi death camp in German-occupiedPoland,” I inadvertently used a phrase that has caused many Poles anguish over the years and thatPolandhas rightly campaigned to eliminate from public discourse around the world.  I regret the error and agree that this moment is an opportunity to ensure that this and future generations know the truth.

As we all know, the Polish people suffered terribly under the brutal Nazi occupation during World War II.  In pursuit of their goals of destroying the Polish nation and Polish culture and exterminating European Jewry, the Nazis killed some six million Polish citizens, including three million Polish Jews during the Holocaust.  The bravery of Poles in the underground resistance is one of history’s great stories of heroism and courage.

Moreover, there simply were no “Polish death camps.”  The killing centers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Treblinka, and elsewhere in occupiedPolandwere built and operated by the Nazi regime.  In contrast, many Poles risked their lives – and gave their lives – to save Jews from the Holocaust.

That is why I paid tribute to Polish victims of the Holocaust during my visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in April.  It is why I was honored to pay my respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto during my visit to Warsawlast year.  And it is why, during the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2010, I commended the government and people ofPoland for preserving a place of such pain in order to promote remembrance and learning for the world.

I know well the bonds of friendship between our two countries.  I was proud to welcome you to the NATO Summit in my hometown ofChicago, which is home to the largest Polish community in the world outside ofWarsaw.  As President, I have worked with you to strengthen the enduring ties between our nations so that our alliance is stronger that is has ever been.

Polandis one of America’s strongest and closest allies.  We stand united in facing the challenges of the 21st century inEurope and around the world, and I am confident that, working together, we ensure that the unbreakable bonds of friendship and solidarity between us will only grow stronger in the days and years ahead.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

Zebranie krajowych dyrektorów 17, 18 maja 2012 w Chicago

Zebranie krajowych dyrektorów odbędzie się 17, 18 maja 2012 w Chicago.

Polska Parada Po Raz 35

Colorful display of Polish folk costumes and marching bands entertained people.

“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