Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Polonia News: The Tatra Eagle at 70, Piast Institute's Women's Hall of Fame, and Jan Jarczyk Fund

The 70th Anniversary of The Tatra Eagle, 1947-2017

Janina Gromada Kedroń and Dr. Thaddeus V. Gromada, Co-editors of the Tatra Eagle quarterly have announced that the Jubilee issue V. 20, no.1 has been released. The sister and brother team has been at the creation of the publication in 1947, Passaic, NJ when they were just completing their high school studies. Many scholars and critics have credited the publication for helping to maintain góral  (highlander) and folk culture not only in America but also in Poland during the Cold War. 

Prof. Thaddeus Gromada with his wife in gorale costumes

For the past seven decades the editors encouraged its readers in Polish and English to become more conscious and appreciative of the folk culture of Podhale and its impact on Poland's high culture. This folk culture was and still is a source of inspiration for many Polish creative artists. For more information write to Tatra Eagle Press, 31 Madison Ave. Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604 or email thadgromada@gmail.com

The Piast Institute Creates The Polish Women’s Hall of Fame

The Piast Institute announces the establishment of the Polish Women’s Hall of Fame. The virtual exhibit, hosted at www.FamousPolishWomen.com raises awareness of and honors women’s lives and contributions to culture and history of Poland and the world. The project provides biographies, photographs,bibliographies, and articles on women in Poland and the diaspora. Ashley Fallon, the director of the virtual project, explained that the Hall of Fame will serve as a resource for the Polish community, for schools and universities, and especially for young Polish women—and for women everywhere. While individuals like Marie Skłodowska Curie are well-known, the overall story of the achievements and contributions of Polish women has long been overlooked. “We can never fully understand who we are until we join the stories of our mothers to those of our fathers,” said Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, President of the Piast Institute. 

Nominations from the general public are accepted in six categories: Science and Education, Arts and Humanities, Religion, Public Life and Service, Philanthropy, and Sports. Final selections for Hall of Fame inductees will be made by a distinguished international panel. For more information, please visit the website at: www.FamousPolishWomen.com or call Ashley Fallon at the Piast Institute at (313) 733-4535 ext. 105.

Jan Jarczyk Fund Honors a Polish-Canadian Jazz Pianist

On 24 March 2017 a Rush Hour Jazz Concert for Two Pianos / Six Hands was held at McGill University in Montreal to honor a Polish-Canadian Jazz pianist Jan Jarczyk. A jazz pianist, composer, arranger and all around musician, Jan Jarczyk, had a profound impact on his students and colleagues at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. He was at the heart and soul of the jazz program for almost three decades: even those who weren’t lucky enough to study with Jan are well acquainted with stories that speak of his formidable musical skills, powerful mind and humorous spirit.

To honor Jan’s devotion to his students and his love of music, the Jan Jarczyk Fund has been established at McGill University to provide financial support to outstanding jazz piano students. Jan has left great gifts for both the current and future generations to enjoy. His music will continue to exist through the wealth of his recorded material and in live performances of his compositions. His teachings will keep guiding all those that he touched. Above all else, Jan will serve as inspiration to artists around the world in their pursuit of what he loved most: music. To contribute to the fund, visit mcgill.ca/seedsofchange.

Friday, July 14, 2017

New Scholarly and Popular Books by PAHA Members

Anna Mazurkiewicz’s New Book on European Exiles in the U.S.

Anna Mazurkiewicz, Uchodźcy polityczni z Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej w amerykańskiej polityce
zimnowojennej, 1948-1954 (Political Exiles from East Central Europe in the American Cold War Politics, 1948-1954), Warsaw-Gdańsk 2016, pp. 543. The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, University of Gdańsk.
Series: „Monographs”, vol. 121.

The recent book by PAHA President, Anna Mazurkiewicz unveils the complicated relationship between the US government and the exiled political leaders from East Central Europe who sought American support after World War II. Examining the circumstances in which émigré ideologies and political programs were developed, attention is given to US political plans, organizations, mechanisms and projects that envisioned political cooperation with exiles from those countries in Europe that were independent in 1939 and then fell prey to the Soviets. Cooperation with East Central European exiles constituted a part of a broader US Cold War effort, which is commonly referred to as psychological warfare. The United States supported the Cold War refugees for humanitarian reasons, but they also used them for intelligence, propaganda and political purposes – both in the United States and abroad (including behind the Iron Curtain). Moreover, the United States wanted to maintain the intellectual abilities of the exiled elites and retain them within their sphere of influence in case Communist regimes were overthrown. For these reasons, political, material and administrative support were extended to them. The exiles, who refrained from referring to themselves as immigrants, became partners with the US government in the Cold War struggle against communism. They were, however, in a very complex and delicate situation.

Deprived of unfettered communication channels with their homelands, and lacking political backing for their activities on the international arena, the exiled political leaders built (and in the case of the Polish government-in-exile upheld) organizations that – during the Stalinist era – became essentially the only tangible form of organized anticommunist opposition. Their goal was to lobby Western powers to  support their agenda: the restoration of basic rights that had been stripped from the so-called “captive nations.” A partnership with the United States promised both much-needed backing for establishing international contacts as well as material support that enabled them to maintain their political and social activities in exile.

Praise for Mary Patrice Erdmans's Book on Teen Mothers 

On Becoming a Teen Mom: Life before Pregnancy  by Mary Patrice Erdmans and Timothy Black
Paperback, 344 pages, ISBN 9780520283428 (February 2015)

In 2013, New York City launched a public education campaign with posters of frowning or crying children saying such things as “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen” and “Honestly, Mom, chances are he won’t stay with you.” Campaigns like this support a public narrative that portrays teen mothers as threatening the moral order, bankrupting state coffers, and causing high rates of poverty, incarceration, and school dropout. These efforts demonize teen mothers but tell us nothing about their lives before they became pregnant.

In this myth-shattering book, the authors tell the life stories of 108 brown, white, and black teen mothers, exposing the problems in their lives often overlooked in pregnancy prevention campaigns. Some stories are tragic and painful, marked by sexual abuse, partner violence, and school failure. Others depict "girl next door" characters whose unintended pregnancies lay bare insidious gender disparities. Offering a fresh perspective on the links between teen births and social inequalities, this book demonstrates how the intersecting hierarchies of gender, race, and class shape the biographies of young mothers.

"Written in accessible language and full of rich interviews and personal narratives . . . A valuable addition to sociology and gender collections."—Y. Besen-Cassino CHOICE

"... first-rate, illuminating... On Becoming a Teen Mom examines the lives of teen mothers prior to pregnancy... [and] analyzes the factors and circumstances that contribute to unmarried young women having babies..."—Ruth Sidel Women's Review of Books

"Informative . . . the book reveals the important role of research in understanding phenomena that people believe they already understand, and how empirically based findings can make a difference."—Adolescent Research Review

“An illuminating, inspiring, often heartbreaking investigation into the lifeworlds of teenage moms. The authors bypass stale moral panic agendas, instead creating space for the young women to speak their own truths, in their own words, while skillfully answering the forgotten question, who are these kids?”—Donna Gaines, author of Teenage Wasteland and A Misfit’s Manifesto

“A revealing exploration of the complex reality and surprising diversity behind the stereotypes of teen motherhood. Mary Patrice Erdmans and Timothy Black combine personal life histories with rigorous argument to show how teen pregnancy in America is the outcome rather than the cause of impoverished neighborhoods, stressed families, and educational inequities.”—Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

“On Becoming a Teen Mom is a welcome counterweight to reductionist and pathologizing accounts of adolescent mothers. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to get beyond pearl-clutching and move toward supporting pregnant and parenting teenagers.”—Jeanne Flavin, author of Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America

“On Becoming a Teen Mom offers one of the deepest investigations into teen pregnancy that I have seen. Until we begin to address issues systemically, the ‘problem’ of teen pregnancy and the real problems young mothers face will not go away. This book is a significant and important contribution toward that effort.”—Wanda S. Pillow, author of Unfit Subjects: Education Policy and the Teen Mother, 1972–2002

“By interpreting common themes in the life histories of the many teen mothers they interviewed, these authors question the assumption that their futures were completely promising before they became young mothers, or that their early motherhood compromised their futures any further. We need to listen to these young women, and policy targets need to be earlier, broader, and deeper than individual sexual, contraceptive, or pregnancy behavior alone.”—Arline T. Geronimus, Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

“On Becoming a Teen Mom powerfully reminds us that any serious discussion of the causes and consequences of teen motherhood is incomplete if it fails to account for the larger social forces at play in girls’ lives.”—Lorena Garcia, Associate Professor of Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

“The writing pulled me in—accessible, serious, straightforward. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put down this compelling and disturbing book on the tragedy that is structural inequality.”—Alisse Waterston, author of My Father’s Wars: Migration, Memory, and the Violence of a Century

“While the statistics about teen pregnancy tell one story, this book tells compelling stories about the multi-challenged lives of teen mothers. Mary Patrice Erdmans and Timothy Black have made a major contribution to the understanding of the intersection of teen pregnancy, family and community violence, and poverty in the United States. The voices of these teen mothers need to be heard.”—John M. Leventhal, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine

Irena Kossakowska’s Story of her Father – A Homeland Denied

In October 2016, Irena Kossakowska Clarke published a book based on the war-time memories and experiences of her father, Wacław Kossakowski. A Homeland Denied (ahomelanddenied.com) follows his harrowing journey as a young Warsaw University student whose peaceful life was changed dramatically on the fateful day of September 1, 1939. From imprisonment in the notorious Kozielsk prison to a forced labor camp in the Siberian Arctic Circle, the story tells of suffering and brutality impossible to imagine.

Forced to dig runways in temperatures reaching as low as minus 50°C while under constant threat from sadistic guards, he experienced a living hell with death his only companion. He endured and witnessed atrocities, which haunted him for the rest of his life, with so many friends murdered or frozen to death in the unforgiving cruelty of Siberia. But fate intervened and the icy wasteland was replaced by the blistering heat and dry deserts of the Middle East, where the student was taught to fight – and fight he did, in the Italian campaign, at Monte Cassino, Ancona and Bologna. Yet the desire to return to his homeland never left him and only memories of the idyllic life before the war and his intense yearning to return sustained him when he sank to the lowest despair. Yet how could he know of the terrible suffering of his family or the sacrifices of his countrymen as they fought so desperately to keep Warsaw, only to be denied their homeland in the cruellest way imaginable. For though ultimately the victors, they lost everything. Their home, their loves, their country and nothing would ever be the same again.

Whittles Publishing, ISBN 978-184995-264-4.