Sunday, December 28, 2014

Historian Anna Cienciala Died on December 24, 2014

With great sadness, the Polish American Historical Association says farewell to Prof. Anna Cienciala, specialist in 20th century Polish and Russian history. She died on December 24, 2014 at the age of 85.

Born on November 8, 1929 in the Free City of Danzig (Gdansk, Poland), Cienciala studied in Poland, France, England and Canada. Her B.A. was at Liverpool University (1952) and her M.A. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada (1955). She went on to complete a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in Bloomington (1962) under the supervision of Prof. Piotr S. Wandycz. After teaching Eastern European history at the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto in Canada, she joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in 1965, teaching there until 2002.

Cienciala received awards from the NEH, Fulbright, IREX, ACLS, the Hall Center at University of Kansas, the Polish government (Cross of Merit) and the Union of Polish Writers Abroad award. She served on the Board of Directors of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America and on the Editorial Board of The Polish Review. 

You may read her lectures on the University of Kansas's website:

Her biography on Wikipedia may be found here.

Books and Articles:

  •  Anna M. Cienciala, Poland the Western Powers, 1938-1939. A Study in the Interdependence of Eastern and Western Europe, London, Toronto, 1968. 

  • Anna M. Cienciala and Titus Komarnicki, From Versailles to Locarno, Keys to Polish Foreign Policy, 1919-1925, Lawrence, KS, 1984. 

  • Anna M. Cienciala, "The Battle of Danzig and the Polish Corridor at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919," ch. 5, in: Paul Latawski, ed., The Reconstruction of Poland, 1914-23, Basingstoke, London, UK, 1992.
  • Anna M. Cienciala, "Wilsonian East Central Europe: The British View with Reference to Poland," in John S. Micgiel, ed., Wilsonian East Central Europe. Current Perspectives, New York, 1995. 

  • Anna M. Cienciala, “The Foreign Policy of the Polish Government-in-Exile, 1939–1945: Political and Military Realities versus Polish Psychological Reality” in John S. Micgiel and Piotr S. Wandycz eds., Reflections on Polish Foreign Policy, New York: 2005.

  • Anna M. Cienciala, Natalia S. Lebedeva, Wojciech Materski, Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment, Yale University Press, 2007. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Program of PAHA's 72nd Annual Meeting, January 2-4, 2015, New York

Manhattan by Maja Trochimczyk

We are looking forward to meeting you in New York during the next Annual Meeting of the Polish American Historical Association. The conference will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, 1225 Avenue of the Americas, New York. 

This year there is NO REGISTRATION FEE and only those wishing to participate in our Awards  Ceremony and Reception at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland will have to pay for tickets.

The Awards Banquet will take place on Friday, January 2, 2014, 7:00PM - 10:00PM at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York,  233 Madison Avenue (Jan Karski Corner), New York, NY 10016. Tickets: $35 per person: Reserve Your Ticket Now!


PAHA Annual Board Meeting

Friday, January 2, 2015: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM New York Hilton, Hilton Board Room


Polish American Literature

Saturday, January 3, 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM New York Hilton, Lincoln Suite; Chair: Pien Versteegh, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences

• Brigid Pasulka’s A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True and the Work of Ethnic Fiction - Ann Hetzel Gunkel, Columbia College at Chicago (cancelled)

• The Case against My Brother: The Intersection of History, Literature, and Ethnicity - Thomas Napierkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

• Patterns of Ethnicity in Polish American, Polish Canadian, and Anglo-Polish Fiction after 1989 - Grazyna Kozaczka, Cazenovia College


The Long Nineteenth Century: Themes in History

Saturday, January 3, 2015: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM New York Hilton, Concourse B; Chair: Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

• “Domestic Education” and “Work at the Foundations”: Class, Gender, and Progressive Reformism in the United States and Poland -  Marta Cieslak, University at Buffalo (SUNY) Cancelled

• Future War of John Bloch versus Norman Angell’s Great Illusion - Andrzej Pieczewski, University of Łódź

To Save the Union; or, For the Just and Right Cause? Why Poles Fought in the Civil War, 1861–65 - Piotr Derengowski, University of Gdańsk and University at Buffalo (SUNY)

• The Battle of Maciejowice & Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s Myth -  Anna Cortes, Polish Academy of Sciences


Solidarity: At Home and Abroad

Saturday, January 3, 2015: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM New York Hilton, Lincoln Suite; Chair: Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdańsk

• To Be a Woman in the Male-Dominated World of the Lenin Shipyard Workers: Anna Walentynowicz’s Quest in Life - Anna Muller, University of Michigan–Dearborn

• Andrzej Wajda’s Solidarity Trilogy - Sheila Skaff, New York University

• The Return Migration of Solidarity Refugees - 
Mary Patrice Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University


Figures in Polish and Polish American History

Saturday, January 3, 2015: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
New York Hilton, Concourse B; Chair: John Radzilowski, University of Alaska, Southeast

• Father Theodore Suk: A Man of Faith - Barbara Pulaski, Mount Ida College

• Alfred Jurzykowski and his Foundation: A Brief Outline - 
Czeslaw Karkowski, Hunter College and Mercy College

• Zbyszko, “The Mighty Pole”: Stanley Zbyszko, Polish Americans, and Sport in the Early Twentieth Century -  Neal Pease, U. of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

• Jan Brożek’s Contribution to Copernican Studies Originating from His Queries in Warmia in 1618 -  Jan Chroboczek, Institute de Microélectronique, Électromagnétisme et Photonique


World War II: Literature, Memoir, and Herbert Hoover’s Humanitarianism

Saturday, January 3, 2015: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM New York Hilton, Lincoln Suite; Chair: Thomas Napierkowski, U. of Colorado, Colorado Springs

• Warsaw Polish Writers-Diarists Encountering the Holocaust: The Cases of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz and Maria Dąbrowska  - Rachel Brenner, University of Wisconsin– Madison

• Integrating History, Memory, and Intimate Ethnography: A Polish Biography-Memoir of World War II, Immigration, and a Life Remade -  Barbara Rylko-Bauer, Michigan State University

• Herbert Hoover, Poles, and Poland: An Inquiry into a Dynamic Relationship - Frederick J. Augustyn, Library of Congress


Themes in the History of Polish Music 

Sunday, January 4, 2015: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM New York Hilton, Concourse E; Chair: Grazyna Kozaczka, Cazenovia College

• The Impact of Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz’s American Years on Spiewy Historyczne -  Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press

• A Musical Survey of the Song Output of Karol Szymanowski -  Julianna Wrycza-Sabol, Syracuse University (cancelled)


Polish American History from the Seventeenth Century through the Mid-Twentieth Century 

Sunday, January 4, 2015: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
New York Hilton, Harlem Suite; Chair: Thomas Napierkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

• New Amsterdam or New Gdańsk? Polish Settlers in
New Amsterdam, 1624–64 - Pien Versteegh, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences and James Pula, Purdue University North Central

• KNAPP: The National Committee of Americans of Polish Descent -  Charles Chotkowski, Piast Institute 

The Eviction of the Kashube Fishermen of Jones Island Milwaukee: Then and Now -  Ann Gurnack, University of Wisconsin–Parkside

• A New Polonia? The Recreation of Polish American Identity, 1918–45 -  John Radzilowski, University of Alaska, Southeast


The Aftermath of World War II

Sunday, January 4, 2015: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM New York Hilton, Concourse F; Chair: Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, Eastern Conn. State University

• Citizenship Practices during the Cold War: A Polish American Model? - Florence Vychytil-Baudoux, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

• Paralyzing the Polonia from Within: Communist Secret Police Infiltration of the Polish American Community -  Pawel Styrna, Institute of World Politics

• Cold War Émigrés: Looking for Patterns in Exile Political Activism -  Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdansk

• Polish Refugees from Siberia in the United States, 1945–2014 -  Iwona Korga, Józef Pilsudski Institute of America

• Defending the Remnants: American Jews Respond to Poland’s 1968 Anti-Zionist Campaign -  Rachel Rothstein, University of Florida

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Books on Polish American Topics

Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902-1969: A Corner for Everybody (Lexington Books, 2014). Edited by Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann; Translated by Theodore L. Zawistowski and Anna D. Jaroszyńska- Kirchmann

 Polish Americans formed one of the largest European immigrant groups in the United States and their community developed a vibrant Polish-language press, which tied together networks of readers in the entire Polish immigrant Diaspora. Newspaper editors encouraged their readers to write to the press and provided them with public space to exchange their views and opinions, and share thoughts and reflections. Ameryka-Echo, a weekly published from Toledo, Ohio, was one of the most popular and long-lasting newspapers with international circulation.

For seven decades, Ameryka-Echo sustained a number of sections based on readers’ correspondence, but the most popular of them was a “Corner for Everybody,” which featured thousands of letters on a variety of topics. Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902–1969 is a unique collection of close to five hundred letters from Polish American readers, which were published in Ameryka-Echo between 1902 and 1969. In these letters, Polish immigrants speak in their own words about their American experience, and vigorously debate religion, organization of their community, ethnic identity, American politics and society, and ties to the homeland. The translated letters are annotated and divided into thematic chapters with informative introductions. The Ameryka-Echo letters are a rich source of information on the history of Polish Americans, which can serve as primary sources for students and scholars.

Smokey Joe and the General, a New Book by Ambassador Rowny

Rich with historical facts and fascinating photos, Smokey Joe & the General (Create Space, 2013, ISBN 978-1493538423) is a combination of Ambassador Rowny’s autobiography and the biography of his first Army boss, John Elliott Wood, known as “Smokey Joe” - who was the best trainer and innovator in the Army. Many of his training techniques and “out of the box” ideas were widely adopted as doctrine. …. For two decades, General Wood closely managed Rowny’s career seeing to it that he received plum assignments and became the first Army officer in his class to be promoted to the general officer rank. Rowny writes about his training under Colonel Wood prior to World War II and his service under him in Liberia and combat in Italy during the war. He then tells the story of his service in Korea where he served as General Douglas MacArthur’s official spokesman and was one of the planners of the spectacularly successful invasion of Inchon. Rowny built the bridge across the Han for President Syngman Rhee’s triumphant reentry into Seoul. He subsequently dropped an air bridge to rescue soldiers and Marines surrounded by the Chinese, permitting their successful escape.

He was in charge of the evacuation of Hungnam and assisted in operation “Christmas Cargo” Rowny led the Advanced Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV) to develop new techniques of using armed helicopters in combat. The armed helicopter later played decisive roles in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. After serving six years as military representative to the Strategic Arms limitations treaty negotiations, Rowny resigned in protest over President Carter’s signing the unequal and unverifiable SALT II Treaty. During President Reagan’s first term Rowny was Chief Negotiator of the START Treaty. During the President’s second term he was Special Adviser to the president for Arms Control. President Reagan awarded Rowny the President’s Citizen’s Medal citing him as one of the chief architects of Peace through Strength. Throughout these periods of service Rowny continued to be inspired by Wood’s far reaching ideas and his examples of physical and moral courage.

Poles Apart: The Tragic Fate of Poles During World War II by Jerzy J. Maciuszko with the assistance of Kathleen L. Maciuszko (Thought Works, Ltd., 2013)

This is a fascinating literary hybrid that combines the author’s autobiography with short biographies of his family and friends. What links all these narratives together is their historical significance as eyewitness accounts of the Polish story during World War II and in its aftermath. Jerzy J. Maciuszko, a native of Warsaw, Poland and a 1936 graduate of its University, represents thousands of young men who were drafted in late summer of 1939, fought valiantly in September against the overwhelming forces of the German invasion and were eventually captured by the German forces. Maciuszko’s detailed account of his five-and-a half years as a prisoner-of-war in several German camps is both moving and instructive as it focuses on human reactions in extreme situations.

The author’s story after the war is no less interesting as the reader follows him to London where he worked for the British Ministry of Education, and finally to the United States where he became a prominent representative of the Polish post-war émigrés. Maciuszko also records other eyewitness accounts shared with him by his family and close friends. Thus we learn the moving story of his brother’s suffering in Siberia, his mother’s involvement in the Warsaw Rising and probably the most striking story of Józef Stańczak, his parents and siblings who found themselves deported by the Soviets to Siberia. Stańczak, through Maciuszko, tells the readers of his harrowing journey east in the cattle cars, of the Siberian ordeal and then of his slow return west through Persia and Africa. After the war and after emigrating to the United States, Stańczak became known as the father of the op-art movement. Maciuszko’s book is populated with dozens of characters, some famous like Stańczak, and others just ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances, and it is worth knowing all their stories.Jerzy J. Maciuszko died in 2011 after finishing most of the manuscript. Poles Apart is available on

~ Reviewed by Grażyna J. Kozaczka

The Polish Experience through World War II (Lexington Books, 2013),by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm

 This volume explores Polish history through the lives of people touched by the war. The poignant and terrible experiences of these people are laid bare by first-hand accounts, including the hardships of deportation and concentration and refugee camps, as well as the price paid by the officers killed or taken as prisoners during WWII and the families they left behind. Ziolkowska-Boehm reveals the difficulties of these women and children when, having lost their husbands and fathers, they are exiled in Siberia, Persia, India, and then Africa, New Zealand, or Mexico. Ziolkowska-Boehm recounts the experiences of individuals who lived through this tumultuous period in history through personal interviews, letters, and other surviving documents. The stories include Krasicki, a military pilot who was one of 22,000 Polish officers killed in Katyń; the saga of the Wartanowicz family, a wealthy and influential clan whose story begins well before the war; and Wanda Ossowska, a Polish nurse in Auschwitz and other German prison camps. Placed squarely in historical context, these incredible stories reveal the experiences of the Polish people up through the second World War.

Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz: Fate of a Hubal Soldier in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Postwar England (Lexington Books, 2013) by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm 

This volume traces the remarkable and tragic tale of Roman Rodziewicz, a true Polish hero of the Second World War. Roman’s childhood was spent in Manchuria where his father, first deported to Siberia, later worked as an engineer for a Chinese company. After the return to Poland, and prior to the German invasion of Poland, Roman attended military school at the Suwalki Cavalry Brigade. The brave anti-German activities of the Hubal partisans beckoned Roman and he joined them. About eight months later Major Hubal was killed. Rodziewicz escaped and joined the underground as an officer fighting the German occupation forces. Captured and tortured, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz and later Buchenwald. After the liberation, he joined the Polish army in Italy and at the end of World War II he settled in England, where he has lived and reached the age of 100 years in January 2013. The volume explores the incredible story of one Polish soldier of World War II, and provides an illuminating contribution to the historical record of the period.,

Melchior Wańkowicz: Poland’s Master of the Written Word (Lexington Books , 2013)  by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm.  

This study examines the life and writing of famous Polish writer Melchior Wańkowicz, author of legendary work The Battle of Monte Cassino. Acclaimed by his readers and critics alike, Wańkowicz was famous for creating his theory of reportage, i.e. the “mosaic method” where the events of many people were implanted into the life of one person. Wańkowicz put into words the beautiful, tragic and heroic events of Polish history that provided a form of sustenance for a people that thrive on patriotism and love of their country. His books shaped national consciousness, glorified the heroism of the Polish soldier. Later in his life, Wańkowicz personally set an example by standing up to the Communist party that brought him to trial for his work. In this book, Ziolkowska-Boehm offers a critical examination of Wańkowicz’s work informed by her experiences as his private secretary. Her access to the author’s personal archives shed new light on the life and work of the man considered by many to be “the father of Polish reportage.” or

Dr. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm is an independent scholar, author of many books, and recipient of numerous literary awards, including a fellowship in literature from the Delaware Divisions of Arts and a Fulbright scholarship.

New Sienkiewicz Translations by Peter Obst

 Various works of Henryk Sienkiewicz have been translated into English, at different times by different translators. The latest offering is “Henryk Sienkiewicz: Three Stories.” This very short collection presents three humorous stories by Sienkiewicz which have been nearly forgotten: “A Comedy of Errors” (based on small town life in the American West), “The Authoresses” (a sketch about children, not for children) and “The Third One” (a romantic comedy). Translator/writer Peter Obst has breathed new life into these lively tales and rendered them in an accessible and modern form for English speaking readers. For those who would like to sample the wit and humor of Poland’s most famous writer will be delighted by these stories, as they are world away from the somber reality and melodrama of the better known “The Lighthouse Keeper,” “Janko Musician,” and “For Bread.” The book, published by Wildside Press (with Jacek Malczewski’s painting “Vicious Circle” on the cover) is available from

Slicing the Bread, Children’s Survival Manual in 25 Poems by Maja Trochimczyk ISSN 978-1-62229-687-3 forthcoming on October 25, 2014

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 heardthe 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 in central Poland. Reflections onthe Germans’ brutalkillings of 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.”

A fellow Polish-American poet, Linda Nemec Foster praises the “unwavering honesty” and “stark imagery” of Trochimczyk’s poetry that “bear witness to the hate that destroys, to the truth that restores, and to the poetic vision that honors our common humanity.” The Tieferet Prize winner and Poets-Café host Lois P. Jones points out the “vivid and heartbreaking detail” of poems that “will move you to appreciate the simple privileges and necessities of life.” 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.” Poet Sharon Chmielarz concurs: “You will remember the taste of this book.”

 To pre-order a copy visit:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Photos from the Fifth World Congress of Polish Studies, Warsaw, June 2014

Plac Zamkowy, Old Town, Warsaw

Board of Directors with Guests: F: I. Korga, G. Kozaczka, P. Versgeegh, M. Trochimczyk
J. Pula. B: A Penkos. S Leahy, A. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, T. Napierkowski, D. Pienkos. A. Hetzel-Gunkel, A. Mazurkiewicz, N. Pease, M. B.B. Biskupski

Opening plenary session about Jan Karski

Panel of Karski scholars at the opening session.

Neal Pease, Heather Napierkowski, Ewa Barczyk, Tom Napierkowski

Anna Jaroszynska Kirchmann, Patrice Dabrowski, Paul Knoll, Dorota Plaszowicz

Grazyna Kozaczka with her son Adam

Mary Patrice Erdmans, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Pien Versteegh

Irvin Ungar talks about Artur Szyk

Special session at the Museum of Warsaw Uprising

Visit to the Museum of Warsaw Uprising 

Panelists with Grazyna Kozaczka and Tom Napierkowski

Executives from two Institutes: Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in Canada (Stefan Wladysiuk from the library and president Stanislaw Latek) with PIASA's President Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski and Jim Pula.

Neal Pease, Tom Napierkowski and Anna Jaroszynska Kirchmann at the Awards Ceremony.

Gate of the University of Warsaw closes at night.

Maja Trochimczyk with Stephen Leahy and UW emblem.

Stalinist Palac Kultury i Nauki, PKiN in Warsaw

A street in the Old Town
Congress participants at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Conference presentation

Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann gives a paper. 

Anna Mazurkiewicz gives her paper. 

Iwona Korga gives her paper. 

Profs. Biskupski and Pula at the UW gate. 

PAHA's Dorota Plaszowicz, Pien Versteegh, Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Renata Vickray, Maja Trochimczyk with Stefan Wladysiuk  (Polish Library, Montreal) on Krakowskie Przedmiescie.

Photos by Maja Trochimczyk and Friends

For more pictures visit "Fifth World Congress of Polish Studies" photo album on Picasa Web Albums.

Monday, June 23, 2014

PAHA at the Fifth Congress on Polish Studies in Warsaw

Palac Kazimierzowski, University of Warsaw

The Fifth World Congress on Polish Studies was held at the University of Warsaw on June 20-23, 2014 and has shown a remarkable collaboration between the Polish American Historical Association and its parent organization, the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PAHA was co-founded by Oskar Halecki, who also co-founded PIASA).  From the opening ceremonies to the banquet with awards for some of our most important "people" - PAHA had a very prominent presence at the Congress.

PAHA Board Meeting: Front LR: Iwona Korga, Pien Versteegh, Grazyna Kozaczka,
Jim Pula. Back L to R: Angela Pienkos, Tom Napierkowski, Stephen Leahy, Donald Pienkos
Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann,Ann Hetzel-Gunkel, Neal Pease, Anna Mazurkiewicz, 
Tom Duszak, and Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski

On June 19, 2014, we held our Mid-Year Board Meeting at the Museum of Polish History on Senatorska Street.We had a very fruitful meeting that was very well attended by Board members and guests, such as Angela and Donal Pienkos. Poles were surprised that we had a meeting on that day, as exactly at 5 p.m. the streets of Warsaw filled with a multitude of processions celebrating the Corpus Christi with flags, icons, the Host carried under a canopy, and preceded by rows of girls scattering flower petals on the way...The long weekend for Warsaw's residents was starting; our Congress was getting under way.

Prof. Biskupski opens the plenary session on Jan Karski. Aula Adama Mickiewicza, UW.

On Saturday, June 20, 2014, the opening plenary session on Jan Karski was chaired by PAHA Board Member and PIASA President Prof. Mieczyslaw B. B. Biskupski.  PAHA sponsored three sessions and our members participated in many other sessions on a variety of topics. Many PIASA members talked about Polish-American relations, emigration, and Polonia issues.  All together, I counted 54 papers on Polish-American topics.

Prof. Walaszek opens the session on Kosciuszko in America.

The three PAHA sessions were dedicated to: Disapora Reactions to World War and Cold War, chaired by Renata Vickray, PIASA Secretary (Saturday, June 21, with papers by Gabriela Pawlus Kasprzak, Jan Lencznarowicz, Robert Szymczak and Mary Erdmans); Commemoration in Exile, chaired by Dorota Praszalowicz from Jagiellonian University (Saturday, June 21, with papers by Anna Jaroszynska Kirchmann, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Patryk Pleskot, and Iwona Korga), and Reflections of the Polish Diaspora, chaired by Harriet Napierkowski (Monday, June 23, with papers by Arnold Klaczynski, Anna Brzozowska-Krajka, Thomas Napierkowski and Grazyna Kozaczka.

Many other PAHA Members gave papers at different sessions, including, in addition to those mentioned above: Jim Pula, Neal Pease, Stephen Leahy, Silvia Dapia, Ann Hetzel Gunkel, Piotr Wrobel, Adam Kozaczka, Joanna Wojdon, Adam Walaszek, and Maja Trochimczyk.

Award Ceremony at the Banquet at the National Library.

L-R: Neal Pease, Tom Napierkowski, Anna  Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Robert Szymczak

At the closing banquet, representatives of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented medals to the following scholars:  Commandor Cross of the Order of Merit to Prof. Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski, Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit to Prof. James Pula (PAHA Treasurer and outgoing editor of the Polish American Studies) and Prof. Neal Pease (PAHA Past President and Board member); Officer Cross of the Order of Merit to Prof. Anna Jaroszynska Kirchmann (PAHA Past President and incoming editor of the Polish American Studies), Prof. Thomas Napierkowski (PAHA President), and Prof. Patrice Dabrowski, and additional medals to Prof. Robert Szymczak. Congratulations to one and all! It was a wonderful day for PAHA!

Jim Pula and Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann with their new medals.

Neal Pease, Tom Napierkowski, Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann. 
Photo by Pien Versteegh.

Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski. Photo by Pien Versteegh.


Report by Maja Trochimczyk with photos by Anna Mazurkiewicz and Pien Versteegh.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Julian Stanczak, the Artist of Color and Light

Hot Summer by Julian Stanczak (1956)

On January 3, 2014, PAHA honored the 70-year career of artist Julian Stanczak with its Creative Arts Prize. According to PAHA President, Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, this award “recognizes contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups that have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas.”
Constant Return I by Julian Stanczak, 1965, 39x39

Julian Stanczak (b.  1928 in Poland), was deported by the Soviet military to a gulag in Perm, Siberia, following the Nazi-Soviet invasion and conquest of Poland in 1939.  Stanczak escaped from Siberia in 1942, via Persia and Uganda. In 1942-48, he lived in a Polish refugee camp, in Uganda, Africa, where he received his first private art lessons and started painting and drawing the African landscape. Its vivid hues remained in his memory and inspired his life-long fascination with color. After studying for two years in England, in 1950, he came to the U.S. where he received a BA from the Cleveland Institute of Art (1954), and completed an MFA at Yale, studying with Josef Albers and Conrad Marca Relli (1956).He has achieved wide acclaim and success despite the fact that since his incarceration in the USSR, he permanently lost the use of  his right arm (he used to be right-handed).

Formation by Julian Stanczak, 1973, 50x60

Julian Stanczak is recognized as one of the important pioneers in Op-Art. This term first appeared in print in Time magazine in October 1964 in response to Stanczak's show Optical Paintings at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. “He taught for decades at the Cleveland Institute of Art and created hundreds of subtle and precisely executed geometric paintings whose patterns and colors interact in ways that make them seem to vibrate with electric energy. ” (Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, Oct 30, 2012).

Green Light by Julian Stanczak, 1973, 60x60

His art was featured at 180 exhibitions, and may be found in 77 museums and private collections. Awards include a doctorate honoris causa from Case Western Reserve University. The year 2013-2014 is dedicated to Stanczak celebrations by the Akron Museum of Art in Cleveland, the Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve University.

Mirrored by Julian Stanczak (1971)

For further details see: Stanczak’s art in his own words:

 “My primary interest is color—the energy of the different wavelengths of light and their juxtapositions. The primary drive of colors is to give birth to light. But light always changes; it is evasive. I use the energy of this flux because it offers me great plasticity of action on the canvas. To capture the metamorphoses—the continuous changing of form and circumstance—is the eternal challenge and, when achieved, it offers a sense of totality, order, and repose. Color is abstract, universal—yet personal and private in experience.”

   Floating Green by Julian Stanczak, 1974-75, 28x28

       “I try to melt geometry down and make it sing.”  “In the beginning, geometry seemed brutal to me. When I first used it, it was as if I was removing personal responses and emotion, and I missed the connection to Nature and to life… Gradually I found that in a clear and clean environment, I could give my colors the emotive element without direct references to Nature… Yet even in my current work, I am still torn between emotion and Nature—fluency and geometry. When people ask me, ‘What are you painting?’ I might say, ‘Sunsets!’ … “I do not believe that one finds art in the object, but that one finds art within oneself by being confronted with an object of motivation. I do not cater to any public wish. Yet, we create for others, not for ourselves, because we want to share the experience of life!”

"Proportional Mixing," 2011, acrylic on board,
 30 panels of 16x16 inches each (84x101 inches overall)

Julian Stanczak gave PAHA permission to use his modern, elegant paintings in PAHA’s PR materials, such as the postcard about our journal, the Polish American Studies  and a tri-fold flyer about PAHA's goals, and projects. We are truly grateful for this generosity of an extraordinary artist. Below are two panels used in PAHA's material with permission of the artist.

Structural Cadmium Red and Structural Cobalt by Julian Stanczak, 2012, 24x24.

Article by Maja Trochimczyk, reprinted from the PAHA Newsletter, vol. 71 no. 1, Spring 2014.