Sunday, January 11, 2015

PAHA Announces its Annual Awards at the 72nd Meeting, New York, Jan. 2015

Times Square, NY.  Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

The 72nd Annual Meeting of the Polish American Historical Association began with the Award Ceremony and Dinner Reception at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, on January 2, 2015. Consul General, Hon. Urszula Gacek welcomed the guests and recounted the history of PAHA and its role in the documentation and promotion of Polish American history and culture.

Consul Hon. Urszula Gacek. Photo by Scott Whittle

PAHA President, Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, assisted by Dr. Pien Versteegh, PAHA's Executive Director, presented the awards and prizes to the following awardees. These remarks are based on the presentation speeches.

Photo by Marcin Mazurkiewicz

Mieczyslaw Haiman Award “offered annually to an American scholar for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans” was presented to NEAL PEASE  – Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Neal Pease has an extensive record of valued publications in the field of Polish and Polish American history, including a well-received book on the Roman Catholic Church in interwar Poland: Rome's Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914-1939. (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009). Neal was also an associate editor and major contributor to The Polish American Encyclopedia (2011). His contributions to the study of the Polish-Americans includes research in the area of American sports: “Diamonds Out of the Coal Mines: Slavic Americans in Baseball” (in The American Game: Baseball and Ethnicity, 2002) and “Big Game on the South Side: A Milwaukee Baseball Mystery Decoded."  His article on “The Kosciuszko Reds, 1909-1919: Kings of the Milwaukee Sandlots,” published in the Polish American Studies (2004), won the Swastek Award.

Photo by Scott Whittle

Furthermore, Pease's publications include numerous works on Polish history that have greatly contributed to the expansion of knowledge about Poland and thus actively encouraged the study of the Polish history, culture, and tradition in the United States. Notably, Neal Pease has been active in presenting academic papers and organizing panels at PAHA meetings for decades. He has served as President of PAHA and been active on its Board for a number of years. He is currently a member of editorial board, Polish American Studies. He is the newly appointed editor of The Polish Review and previously did excellent work as Book Review Editor for this same journal. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America.

In Milwaukee and Wisconsin, Neal has been a member of the Polish Studies Committee of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee for more than twenty-five years and has served several stints as chair of this very active and respected committee.  At UWM he teaches courses in Polish history. He is active in Milwaukee Polonia, both in the Polish Heritage Alliance of Wisconsin and its annual Polish Festival and in the Wisconsin Polish American Congress. He is ever ready to volunteer his time and talents whether invited to lecture on Polish and Polish American themes to local communities or to national and international academic audiences.

Photo by Marcin Mazurkiewicz.

The Distinguished Service Award “given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization” was presented to Dr. MAJA TROCHIMCZYK - Editor, PAHA Newsletter and Online Communications Director

 Dr. Trochimczyk joined the PAHA Board as Editor of PAHA Newsletter in 2009 and has redesigned and expanded the newsletter to include a variety of short articles about the Polish American experience, including features on personal immigration histories, Polonia organizations, anniversary celebrations, new or forthcoming books, and other items of interest to the organization. The newsletter is illustrated and well designed.  In 2012, in order to provide a more efficient and faster communications resource to the organization, Dr. Trochimczyk created  a blog called, which to date has 38 posts that include information about PAHA awards, program deadlines, and reprints of selected general interest stories from the PAHA Newsletter. The blog has had over 13,700 views and has become an important venue for publicizing the activities of the organization. She has also contributed to the expansion of the PAHA Facebook page and is one of its co-facilitators, making frequent posts and comments. The Facebook page has over 1950 readers. In 2014, Dr. Trochimczyk redesigned PAHA's print publicity materials (a trifold flyer and a postcard) that used artwork by Julian Stanczak, PAHA's Creative Arts Prize winner.

Photo by Scott Whittle

As a scholar, Dr. Trochimczyk has previously received the PAHA's Swastek Prize in 2007 for the best article published in the Polish American Studies, “The Impact of Mazowsze and Sląsk on Polish Folk Dancing in California” that appeared in Vol. 63, No. 1 (Spring 2006). Article URL: A musicologist and a poet, in 2014, Dr. Trochimczyk co-edited two books on Polish music: Frederic Chopin: A Research and Information Guide  (with William Smialek, for Routledge in New York) and The Lutoslawski Legacy (with Stanislaw Latek, for the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of Canada).  Her  books  include: Polish Dance in California (East European Monographs, distributed by Columbia University Press, 2007) and her most recent poetry publication, Slicing the Bread (2014) based on childhood memories of her parents who survived WWII in Poland. The Polish American Studies published three articles, including, in addition to the folk dance project, also studies of poetry about Chopin and images and myths about Ignacy Jan Paderewski.  Results of her research on Polish and Polish-American music of the 19th and 20th centuries  have been published in a range of books and journals, including the Polish Review, Musical Quarterly, Muzyka, Journal of Musicological Research, Contemporary Music Review, Computer Music Journal, and books published by Oxford University Press, Indiana University, Cambridge Scholars, Musica Iagellonica, among others. She also contributed 38 entries on music and dance to the Polish American Encyclopedia in 2011, and edited the Polish Music Journal for six years. (

Terry Tegnazian with her most recent book and Anna Mazurkiewicz.
Photo by Scott Whittle.

The Amicus Poloniae Award “recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community” and was presented to Ms. TERRY TEGNAZIAN, the co-founder of the Aquila Polonica Publishing.

Ms. Tegnazian was recognized for her devotion to printing books about Poland in World War II which nurture interest in and have an impact on the perception of Poland and Poles among the American audiences. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Terry Tegnazian became interested in the Polish experience of World War II as a result of research for a book she was working on about a Polish airman in the Battle of Britain. Reading memoirs of key Polish Underground leaders, she was moved by the stories of the Poles’ incredible courage during World War II—an aspect of the war she had not previously been aware of. Terry co-founded Aquila Polonica Publishing because she felt it was important that such lost stories be restored to history and the wider public.

Photo by Scott Whittle

She has visited Poland several times in recent years.  In addition to being a hands-on publisher involved in all aspects of each Aquila Polonica title, Terry has written about Poland in World War II for the Wall Street Journal Europe and the Warsaw Business Journal, she's been interviewed on national television, and has presented numerous live programs in a wide range of venues, including museums and libraries, university courses, and the Polish Consulate (Montreal) and Embassy in Canada.

Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz with Pres. Tom Napierkowski. Photo by Scott Whittle

The Oskar Halecki Award “recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States” and was presented to Dr. ANNA MAZURKIEWICZ of the University of Gdansk, Poland.

Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz served as the editor of East Central Europe in Exile, vols. 1-2: Transatlantic Migrations, and  Transatlantic Identities (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). This outstanding two-volume work, published under the general editorship and direction of Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdansk, takes up an extremely significant area of research in the broad field of Polish American studies, namely the experience of emigration and resettlement in a new homeland. The product of a recent academic conference held in Poland, these books include contributions by thirty-eight scholars from North America and Europe. Their contributions have a broadly comparative character, inasmuch as they include a number of presentations by scholars who examine aspects of both the Polish emigration and settlement experiences, along with those of other peoples from East Central Europe. There are also historical pieces as well as presentations having a more contemporary character. All in all, Dr. Mazurkiewicz's effort makes an inestimable contribution to scholarly research and knowledge in the important field of emigration studies - and with special attention to the experiences of peoples who are all too often overlooked in discussions of this subject.

Anna Mazurkiewicz with her books. Photo by Scott Whittle

 The Swastek Award, “awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association”  was presented to LEONARD KURDEK.

The Editors recommend Leonard Kurdek’s article “The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Call Northside 777’: The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice” from Polish American Studies, Vol. 70, no. 2 (Autumn 2013): 5-78. The Editors stated: “The subject matter is particularly important given the prominence of the Hollywood movie, its influence on how Polish Americans are viewed, and the many Polish American aspects that were left out of the film. The editors consider it a meticulously researched reconstruction of a story with compelling human interest which also deals with the interplay of life with art and Hollywood’s depiction of Polish Americans. A very detailed piece of detective work, it holds the interest of readers from start to finish, is clearly written, and raises a number of very serious and provocative questions about the character of American justice and the consequences of injustice as experienced by a family of poor, working class Polish Americans during the worst times of the Great Depression—a topic that has implications for all disadvantaged peoples. The treatment is objective, with ample evidence provided to support its assertions. The article brought to light an important chapter in Polish American history that had been largely forgotten even within Polonia.”

Rachel Rothstein. Photo by Scott Whittle

The Graduate Student Research Paper Award “recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences” and was presented to RACHEL ROTHSTEIN – Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Ms. Rothstein submitted her paper entitled  “Defending the Remnants: American Jews Respond to Poland’s 1968 Anti-Zionist Campaign.”  As the title suggests the Rothstein paper deals mostly with the actions by the organized American Jewish community in response to the Polish communist dictatorship's "Anti-Zionist" campaign in 1968. Based on primary sourcesit is relevant to the story of the Polish Americans as the Communist anti-Semitic campaign led to a wave of emigration from Poland comprised of roughly two-thirds of the remaining Polish Jews with thousands, mostly intelligentsia, immigrating to the U.S. Rothstein relates it to the Polish Communist government reactionaries’ turn against the country’s liberals, intellectuals, students – all in the relevant context of the Cold War. It’s not a paper that discusses anti-Semitism in Poland. It discusses the efforts of the American Jewish leadership to end the state-sponsored anti-Semitism in Communist Poland as a form of repression of freedom and democracy by the issuing of public statements and organizing protests, to calling for the revocation of Poland’s Most-Favored-Nation (MFN) status and allowances for Polish Jews wishing to immigrate to the United States. The efforts of the American Jewish organizations also included a push for exceptions to American immigration policy. The text is very descriptive and aptly discusses tensions around Most-Favored-Nation status, immigration laws, former Communist party members.

Presidents Tom Napierkowski and Grazyna Kozaczka. Photo by Marcin Mazurkiewicz

There were several Skalny Civic Achievement Awards presented to “honor individuals or groups who advance PAHA's goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or have made significant contributions to Polish or Polish-American community and culture.”

Karen Majewski with Tom Napierkowski. Photo by Scott Whittle

A. Dr. KAREN MAJEWSKI was recognized for her unwavering efforts to revitalize Hamtramck, one of America’s oldest and most interesting Polonia’s communities located in the heart of Detroit. Her efforts include preserving and promoting Polish cultural heritage in this community. Majewski was elected Hamtramck’s first woman mayor in 2005, since then re-elected twice (2009, 2013). Former executive director of PAHA, she has also organized exhibits devoted to the Polish presence in Detroit, published works related to the Polish-American identity, and continues to work on community revitalization programs.  She is also being recognized for her work as the Curator, of Polish and Rare Books at Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. Dr. Majewski has previously received the 2004 Halecki Award for her book Traitors and True Poles:Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003). The book was also recognized by the Kulczycki Prize in 2000 for its unique contribution to the history of Polish-American literature. In 2001 she organized the Detroit Historical Museum exhibit, The Polish Presence in Detroit. Dr. Majewski is also the Piast Institute Fellow and a Board Member of the Dekaban Foundation.

Photo by Scott Whittle

B. Mr. TIMOTHY J. KUZMA of Pittsburgh was honored with the Skalny Award for his many faceted, highly productive, and forward looking work as President of the Polish Falcons of American fraternal, his guidance in making the Falcons publication an outstanding fraternal vehicle promoting the Polish heritage that it is, and for his impressive work in making the March 2014 Polish American Summit of national Polonia leaders a success.

Photo by Scott Whittle

C. Mr. FRANK MILEWSKI of New York – Chair of the Anti-Bigotry and Holocaust Documentation Committees of the Polish American Congress was recognized  with the Skalny Award for his continuing and longtime efforts as a Polish American Congress activist in New York, notably his time-consuming work of monitoring American mass media for themes related to Poland and the Polish American community, correcting  errors, and fighting defamatory comments in a professional and informed manner.

D. Dr. ALEKSANDRA ZIOLKOWSKA-BOEHM received the Skalny Award for her role in advancing knowledge and appreciation of Polish history and culture in the United States. Ziółkowska-Boehm is a Polish born writer who now lives in the United States. Her widely acclaimed works published in English deal mostly with the Polish experience in Second World War.

E. Dr. ALEX STOROZYNSKI was presented with the Skalny Award for his past leadership of the Kosciuszko Foundation. Due to his efforts and incentive, the Kosciuszko Foundation moved its operations and communications system to the 21-st century. Modernization, enhanced efficiency, greater outreach must also be paired with his widely read and very well publicized biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko which has generated renewed interest and appreciation of Kosciuszko as an American and Polish hero of historic stature.

Adrian Prawica with Tom Napierkowski. Photo by Scott Whittle

The Creative Arts Award „recognizes the contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups who have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas” and was presented to ADRIAN PRAWICA, director and executive producer of the film The Fourth Partition: Chicago (2013).

The Fourth Partition: Chicago tells a unique and rarely talked about history of Chicago’s Polish Community at the dawn of the 20th century.  It examines economic and political reasons for the migration of over 4,000,000 Poles to the United States between 1870 and 1920. Starting with the first Polish settlers in the Jamestown colony in 1608, this documentary focuses on Polish immigrant workers in heavily industrialized Chicago neighborhoods, their community, as well as their political activism, which aided Poland in her fight for independence during WWI.  The Fourth Partition: Chicago features interviews with some of the most known Polish-American historians in the United States [including PAHA’s James Pula, Don Pienkos and Dominic Pacyga]. The film shows rare images of Poles in the Unites States and their communities, which they built while working in some of the heaviest industries such as steel and meatpacking.  Most of all, it tells a history of one of the largest ethnic communities in Chicago, that is still ever present today”. Trailer of the documentary mayh be seen at:  Mr. Prawica was accompanied at the Award Ceremony by Associate Producer Rafał Muskała and PR Representative Paulina Szymczak from Krakow, Poland.

Jim Pula with Tom Napierkowski. Photo by Scott Whittle

At the end special appreciation was expressed for the work of Dr. Jim Pula as Editor of the Polish American Studies in 1996 to 2014, and to Mr. Thom Duszak for his service as PAHA Secretary.

Thom Duszak with Tom Napierkowski. Photo by Scott Whittle

The Award Ceremony and Reception were coordinated by Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz, Chair of the Awards Committee and Dr. Iwona Drag Korga, Director of the Pilsudski Institute in New York. Thanks to the generosity of the Consulate and the hard work of all involved the ceremony was enjoyed by all attendees - who started the New Year by celebrating achievements of scholars of Polonia.

Photo by Pien Versteegh.

Photo album from the event may be found on Picasa Web Albums (authored by Maja Trochimczyk, with photos by different authors).

1 comment:

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