Thursday, September 29, 2016

Polish Americans Honored in Poland and by Poland

    Polish American Philanthropist Dr. Stanley Garstka 
Honored in Poland    

 Dean of the Faculty of History UG – Prof. Wiesław Długokęcki with 
Prof. Mieczysław Nurek presenting the medal and diploma bestowed upon Dr. Garstka.

On June 17, 2016 the Rector of the University of Gdańsk – Prof. Bernard Lammek officially bestowed BENE MERITO ET MERENTI silver medal to Dr. Stanisław (Stanley) Marian Garstka – the founder of the American Polish Research Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame.  Stanley Garstka, MD, initiated the exchange program between U of Gdansk and Notre Dame in 1999. For many years it was administered by the late Fr. Leonard Chrobot (1938-2014).

Stanley Garstka was born in Warsaw on Feb. 22, 1916. In 1935 he began medial studies which he did not complete because of the outbreak of the Second World War. Imprisoned for his underground activities in 1941, he experienced infamous Pawiak prison, and then concentration camps of: Auschwitz, Neuengamme, Dachau, where from he was transferred to Flossenbürg camp (paramedic), and from there to Leitmeritz (subcamp) where while a prisoner he worked as a MD. Upon liberation he migrated to the American zone and by 1947 he had completed his medical studies in Erlangen. Two years later, a married man, he emigrated to the United States.

Living in a modest house in Riverside (California) with his beloved wife of almost 60 years –  Dr. Martha Garstka (nee Alszibaja), Dr. Stanley Garstka opened a golden opportunity to the young and aspiring historians from three Polish universities. Since the signing of the mutual cooperation agreement with University of Gdańsk in 1999 envisioning exchanges occurring „annually in continuity and perpetuity” eleven “recent postgraduates, or junior faculty members at Institute of History UG” went to work and study at the Norte Dame. They were:  Jacek Rześniowiecki, Anna Muller, Anna Mazurkiewicz, Aleksander Michalak, Tytus Mikołajczak, Aleksandra Hallmann, Barbara Klassa, Przemysław Różański, Piotr Derengowski, Łukasz Cherek, Domika Hempel. Among them there are current PAHA members and officers.

The dedication attached to the medal bestowed on Dr. Garstka reads: “In recognition of exceptional contributions to the development of the study of history, in particular for the development of young scientists from the University of Gdańsk within the framework of mutual cooperation”. The initiative to recognize Dr. Garstka was first put forth by Prof. Mieczysław Nurek (Faculty of History UG). The University-awarded honor was bestowed posthumously a decade after Dr. Garstka’s passing (June 20, 2006). In the meantime, the exchange program with Gdansk was closed by the American partner in 2014 due to the lack of funds. The medal assures that its founder will not be forgotten.

Photo from

   The Polish Museum of America 
Awarded Poland’s Medal Gloria Artis   

On September 27, 2016, Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, awarded the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis to the Polish Museum of America (PMA). PMA President Richard Owsiany and Managing Director Małgorzata Kot will accept the award on behalf of the PMA. The ceremony took place at the office of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York.  Other recipients included Janusz Sporek, for his role in the promotion of Polish music.  Jarosław Sellin, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, announced this honor on September 15, during the 38th Annual Conference of the Polish Museums, Archives, and Libraries Abroad, held in London.

One of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in the United States, the Polish Museum of America (PMA) is dedicated to preserving the Polish American past for future generations. Founded in 1935 by an initiative of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and open since 1937, the PMA celebrates more than 80 years of service to the community.  The Museum showcases a unique permanent collection, highlights include: personal and professional mementos of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, inter-war paintings and sculptures; and art and artifacts from the Polish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

  The Pilsudski Institute Awarded 
Poland’s Medal Gloria Artis   

The Pilsudski Institute of America was awarded by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński, the  Gold Medal Gloria Artis for outstanding contribution to Polish culture. During this ceremony, held in the elegant salons of the Polish Consulate General in New York. the Gold Medal Goria Artis was also awarded to the Polish Museum in Chicago and a Bronze Medal Gloria Artis was presented to Janusz Sporek, a promoter of Polish music in New York.

On behalf of the Institute, the Gloria Artis was accepted by Dr. Iwona Korga, President and Dr. Magda Kapuścińska, former President and volunteer of the Institute for the last 40 years. Dr.  Korga said: "On behalf of the Pilsudski Institute of America, thank you very much for this great honor. I must admit, however, that the Institute deserved this medal. During our 73 years of activity, the Institute secured the material artefacts of Polish national heritage: one million documents, twenty thousand books, art gallery and historical memorabilia. [...] I accept this medal on behalf of employees and generations of volunteers that created our facility and generously donated their time, knowledge and financial support. "

Monday, September 12, 2016

Call for Papers for 3rd Congress of Polish History in Poland, October 2017 - Due September 30, 2016

The III Congress of International Researchers of Polish History will take place on October 11-14, 2017 in Kraków, Poland. This congress occurs every five years and is a cyclical meeting of academics from throughout the world who, in their research,address not only problems associated with Polish history but also within its culture, arts and sciences. This congress’s guiding theme is “The Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth: History – Memory – Legacy” („Dawna Rzeczpospolita: historia – pamięć – dziedzictwo”).

The organizers aim to gather in one place and at onetime those scholars interested in the phenomena of the Polish - Lithuanian Commonwealth what it was, how it was memorialized over subsequent decades as well as what consequences or manifestations from its existence are seen in the later histories of Poland, Lithuania and the remaining countries who once found themselves within its sphere of influence. During our conference, we hope to focus on the phenomena of the modern Polish state, in an attempt to answer several important questions: to what extent was the Polish - Lithuanian Commonwealth a unique state and to what degree was its history similar to the histories of neighboring, other European or world states? An important point for deliberations will be questions surrounding the legacy of the Polish -Lithuanian Commonwealth and its presence in the consciousness of national groups inhabiting its territory – Byelorussians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Germans,Russians, Ukrainians and Jews.

The organizers cordially invite and encourage you to take part in the deliberations of this upcoming congress. In response to this invitation, your desire to participate may be declared through sending an abstract of your proposed presentation. A detailed  list of conference panels  with proposed problems and issues is enclosed, with a request that they serve as a guide for your proposed presentation. The proposers are asked to choose the panel which best suits their research interests. Abstracts should be no longer than 1800 characters. The languages of the conference are English and Polish.

The organizers state: "We ask that those interested in participating please inform us by September 30, 2016, using the registration panel. Deadline for submitting abstracts is September 30, 2016. Received abstracts will be analyzed by panel moderators and those accepted will be notified by October 30, 2016. All presenters will be guaranteed lodging in Kraków and a modest reward of 500 PLN. There is no conference fee. We would also be very pleased to receive preliminary information regarding whether you would be interested in conference participation without a presentation. You will be informed in an additional notification about the formal registration date."

This Call for Proposals was submitted by Prof. Andrzej Chwalba, President, Organizing Comittee of the III Congress of International Researchers of Polish History and Prof. Krzysztof Zamorski,
President of the Organizing Bureau of the III Congress of International Researchers of Polish History


Secretary of State and Senator Anna Maria Anders to Give the Keynote Address at the Generations Remember 2016 Conference in Warsaw, on September 18, 2016

The 2016 edition of the Generations Remember conference in Warsaw, Poland, scheduled for September 17 through 19 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Soviet "amnesty" and release of exiled Poles will feature the keynote address by Senator Anna Maria Anders, Secretary of State, Pleniponentiary of the Prime Minster for International Dialogue and Chair of the General Wladyslaw Anders Foundation.  The address will take place during the conference opening rception lunch hosted by Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression.

Anna Maria Anders Costa is a Polish politician and Polish American activist, serving since 2016 as Secretary of State, representing the Prime Minister in internaitonal dialogue. As a senator ishe is a member of the Committee for Emigration Affair and Contact iwth Poles Abroad, dealing wiht care of the Polish daspora and Poles abroad, migration of Polish citizens, ties between Poladn and Poles and people of Polish descent residing abroad, initiating and coordinating cooperation among Polish diaspora communities and protecting the heritage of Polish history and culture abroad. Anna Maria is the daughter of Genral Wladyslaw Anders and Irena Anders. She was educate d at the University of Bristol in Britain where she graduated in Romance Philology. She also studied at Boston University where she earned an MBA in economics. She worked on the UN mission in the UNESCO Press Office in Paris. After the death of her mother, she became the chief executive of the General Wladyslaw Anders Foundation providing scholarships for students of Polish descent from countries of the former USSR, among other projects.

Other events of the Conference include  Generations Remember March on Saturday, September 17, and conference presentations on Monday, September 19. See:
For a copy of the conference program visit also the previous issue of the PAHA Blog.


Searching for Research Project Participants - Descendants of Immigrants from 1945-1952

Pepperdine University’s Culture and Trauma Research Lab is currently seeking participants who are descendants of European immigrants who emigrated post World War II for an important psychological study on generations. Participation involves the completion of an online survey which will take about 15-20 minutes. Participants may be eligible if: they are 18 years of age or older and if their parent or grandparent emigrated from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia (formerly known as Czechoslovakia), Austria, Hungary or Romania to the United States between 1945 -1952. This study will create a more robust understanding of the long-term impact of specific immigration factors. Participation in the study is voluntary and confidential. Participants will receive a $10.00 Amazon or Starbucks gift card for the completion of the survey.

If you have any questions or would like more information on the study, please feel free to contact our principal investigator, Melissa Duguay, at (818) 971-9877. You can also reach her at or contact Additionally, this study is being conducted under the auspices of Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis.