Friday, December 21, 2018

Congratulations and Best Wishes! From the Polish American Historical Association

The anniversary year 2018 is winding down. PAHA celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a special conference held in Chicago at Loyola University Chicago in September, whereas all Polish communities celebrated Poland's 100th Anniversary of Regained Independence across the U.S. through October and November.  The number and type of anniversary celebrations was staggering, with conferences, festivals, conferences, commissions of new works, recitals, film screenings, religious celebrations, theatrical premieres, school performances, receptions, and more.

While Poland was independent for just 50 of the past 100 years, the fact that the country was resurrected at all was a major miracle deserving our gratitude and pride. Congratulations and best wishes to all event organizers, attendees, speakers, dancers, musicians, actors, and chefs!  It was a major effort of every Polish American community to celebrate the rebirth of their Old Country! Thank you very much!

Educational Display of fighters for Polish Independence, Polish Center, Yorba Linda, CA 

One of the most notable celebrations was the worldwide tour of Polish Tallship, Dar Mlodziezy, that is in San Francisco on Dec 19 - 22 and will arrive in Los Angeles on Dec 25 to Dec 27, going down to San Diego afterwards. In Los Angeles area the tallship will be in the harbor of San Pedro.

Its worldwide tour is partly funded by Polish National Foundation and organized in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute of Poland, and the Foreign Ministry of Poland (and the local Consulates of the Republic of Poland along the route of the tallship).  The crew includes hundreds of teens and young adults, some of whom will be able to come offshore and visit the places that they stopped in. The local residents will be able to visit the tallship and see its magic.


Image may contain: sky, bridge, outdoor and water
The Dar Mlodziezy in San Francisco.

Meanwhile PAHA is returning to Chicago, for its 76th Annual Meeting held at Hilton Downtown, in association with the American Historical Association. The Awards Banquet will be at the Chopin Theatre on Saturday January 5, 2019.  We selected this location partly to highlight the Chopin Theatre's 100th anniversary this year. For the program or registration information visit the website


The Chopin Theatre in Chicago celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. According to information provided by the Dyrkacz family, the theatre opened March 11, 1918 and was designed by architects Worthmann & Steinbach. It originally had 546 seats and was operated by Victor Bardonski.  It was first opened as a motion picture theatre. In 1923, the site was renamed the Harding Theatre and the seating capacity was expanded to 987. By 1931 it was called the Chopin Theatre again. At some point it was also called the Pix.

The Chopin Theatre has always been very supportive of the ideas of PAHA: in 1980s it created & published 10,000 copies of “The Story Map of Poland” and distributed it to Polish schools and other organizations.  In 1990, the Chopin Theatre saved from demolition four buildings on the Polish Triangle. After a decades-long fight with the Daley Administration, the activists associated with the Chopin Theatre won the restoration of the name “Polish Triangle” to the intersection of Milwaukee, Ashland and Division streets.  The Chopin Theatre is located across the Polish Triangle in Chicago and since 1990 it has been owned and managed by the Dyrkacz Family.  It is a multi-cultural arts center with three stages presenting over 500 theatrical, literary, film and music events annually.  Visit:



Congratulations to the legendary actress Jadwiga Baranska for graciously receiving the Helena Mojeska Prize from the Helena Modjeska Art an Culture Club in Los Angeles. Established in 2010, the Modjeska Prize honors the most eminent Polish actors and commemorates the patron of the Modjeska Club, actress Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska, 1840-1909). Previous Modjeska Prize recipients include Jan Nowicki, Barbara Krafftówna and Anna Dymna. More information is on the Modjeska Club blog.

We wish all our readers and visitors Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and the happiest and healthiest New Year 2019! 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Valdosta State University Conference to Celebrate 100 Years of Poland's Regained Independence

Conference Celebrating the Centennial of Poland’s Rebirth in Georgia

Valdosta – Students, faculty, and local citizens attended a conference celebrating the centennial of Poland’s rebirth on 9 November 2018.  Sponsored by the History Department of Valdosta State University (VSU), it was also supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington D.C., the Polish American Historical Association, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and the Faculty of History, University of Gdańsk (UG).

The conference featured four components:  academic papers, a Polish lunch and trivia game, a student essay competition, and a film screening.  Organized by visiting professor Anna Mazurkiewicz (UG) and John Dunn (VSU), their goal was to provide an introduction to Poland’s history and culture.  This started with a collection of posters graciously provided by the Polish Embassy in Washington.  These gave a real sense of the tremendous strides made by Poland in the last 30 years, along with enticing images that encourage students to consider a study abroad experience in 2019.

Mazurkiewicz established a focus of academic presentations, one that showed how America responded to crises in Polish history.  The keynote speaker, Dr. Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM), started with a concise look at why Poland’s rebirth was important in an international context.  Dunn followed up with an account of Paul Eve, the only native-born American who served with insurgents during the November Insurrection (1831), while Dr. Mathew Adams, Savannah State University, told of the many American connections to Poland’s 1918-1921 struggles, ranging from the Grey Samaritans to the Kościuszko Squadron.  The academic papers concluded with Mazurkiewicz explaining 1980s America’s part in “Poland’s way out of Communism.”

With a sense that students were still hungry for knowledge about Poland, the next component featured an east-central European lunch.  Guests were offered barszcz, bigos (regular and vegan), piernik and of course pierogi. Dr. Yakov Woldman, VSU Chemistry, earned a special distinction for making 100 of the pierogi Russian style, while Ewa Barczyk gained honor for bringing a suitcase full of pierogi and sausage from Milwaukee.  An hour later, only a few slices of bread remained on the tables.

Barczyk, former director of the Library at UWM continued support for the conference by allowing students to submit encyclopedia entries for her upcoming book, A Guide to Polish Historical Sites in North America.  Two students produced entries worthy of reward:  Ms. Logan Mabey of Georgia, and Ms. Aylar M Chijayeva, a native of Turkmenistan.  Both obtained a certificate, plus an award of $50.

The conference concluded with a screening of the Fourth Partition.  This 2013 documentary directed by Adrian Prawica, tells the story of Polish emigration to America, all the way back to Jamestown.  Following this, select participants enjoyed a celebratory banquet.  Rumor has it Żubrówka, complete with bison grass, may have been served.

Participants judged the conference a success, as it helped cement the already good relations between Gdańsk and Valdosta Universities.  Future plans include continuing exchanges of professors and students, while furthering a mutual interest in Polish History.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Concerts to Celebrate 100th Years of Poland's Regained Independence - In Chicago, New York & L.A.

Eagle at the Garrison Church on Podwale St. in Warsaw, Poland

Music has been a crucial part of Polish national identity especially during the 123 years of partitions, when Poland disappeared from the maps of Europe, yet Polish culture survived in Polish homes and concert halls. Thus, music is a crucial part of celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Poland's Regained Independence. There are many concerts planned  for this weekend, and some have already taken place. 

100 for 100 Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York

PWM Edition and the Polish Cultural Institute New York present Oratorio Society @ Carnegie Hall - a Concert Commemorating the Centennial of Poland's Regained Independence and the Armistice of the First World War on November 11, 1918 (Sunday at 2 pm). On this special occasion, the legendary and award winning Oratorio Society of New York will perform at Carnegie Hall featuring masterpieces by renowned Polish composers, Henryk Górecki and Karol Szymanowski, as well as an English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert is part of the NYC Chapter of the 100 for 100. Musical Decades of Freedom program. The program includes Henryk Górecki, Euntes ibant et flebant; Karol Szymanowski, Stabat Mater, Op. 53, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, Dona Nobis Pacem.

The Oratorio Society of New York (OSNY) is one of the city's oldest cultural organizations and since its foundation in 1873 has been an essential part of New York City's cultural fabric. OSNY has performed internationally across Europe, Asia, Latin and South Americas, and has won numerous awards including a UNESCO Commemorative Medal and the Cocos Island World Natural Heritage Site Award for its series of benefit concerts in Costa Rica.

Karol Szymanowski is considered one of the most renowned Polish composers of the Young Poland modernist movement. Rather than rely on the traditional Latin text of the Stabat Mater, Szymanowski based his piece on a modern Polish version by the writer and philosopher Józef Jankowski. Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, Op. 53 (Composed in 1925-26), combines authentic folk materials from the Tatra Mountains, echoes of old church songs, and post-Romantic orchestration.

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki became a leading figure of the Polish avant-garde in classic music, bringing together a genuine interest in Polish "roots" culture and folk traditions with a minimalist focus in his Euntes Ibant et Flebant, Op. 32 (Composed in 1972).

Ralph Vaughan Williams is the great symphonists and a composer of the utmost importance for English music of the 20th century. In spite of incorporating music written much earlier, Dona Nobis Pacem is all of a piece, aided by motivic evolutions that course almost instinctively through the entire work.

This concert is a part of 100 for 100: Musical Decades of Freedom is co-organized by PWM edition to celebrate the centenary of Poland regaining independence. On this day, ensembles from around the world are performing 100 works by Polish composers. It is held under the National Patronage of Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland to mark the Centenary of Regaining Independence and financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the Multi-Annual Programme Niepodległa 2017-2021. This concert is also presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Chicago Philharmonic Proudly Celebrates Polish Classical Music 
with Ground-Breaking Five Day Festival

As Chicago’s vibrant Polish community celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the regaining of Polish independence, Chicago Philharmonic honors the rich music traditions of Poland and the importance of the community in the cultural history of Chicago in Chicago Philharmonic Festival: Poland 2018, November 7-11.The ambitious festivalwill present world-class Polish musicians and soloists, Polish-Chicago music and arts organizations, music from Polish composers, the Chicago Philharmonic orchestra, and Artistic Director Scott Speck across five concerts presented in five days throughout the city of Chicago culminating in a free performance on November 11 – the day celebrating the 100th year of independence and Armistice Day. The festival comes following a tour of 10 Chi Phil musicians to Poland in April of this year and this is the first project of its kind from the organization, with plans to celebrate Chicago’s many diverse communities with similar festivals in the future.

The festival opened on November 7 with a guest performance from award-winning Polish string ensemble The Silesian Quartet performing at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. The quartet is known for their skilled, enthusiastic interpretations of Polish repertoire both timeless and contemporary; “The highest level of performance. They play like devils.” (NRC Handelsblad) The ensemble  showcased their stunning textural range and artistry in masterful 20th century string quartets. Featured were trailblazing female composer Grażyna Bacewicz’s driving, expressive String Quartet No. 4, written in post-WWII Poland in 1951; String Quartet No. 2 by Karol Szymanowski, who took inspiration for the piece from the folk music of the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland; and String Quartet No. 1 by Henryk Górecki, which is centered around the 16th century Polish church song “Already it is Dusk”. Rounding out the program was String Quartet No. 3 (“Leaves of an Unwritten Diary”) by beloved Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.

On November 8, the festival continued at the stunning St. John Cantius Church (named “The Most Beautiful Church in America” in 2016) with a solo performance from Kraków born and raised organ master Andrzej Białko. Recipient of the Polish Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis, Białko performed organ music from Poland, Eastern Europe, and North America on the church’s historic 92-year old Casavant Frères pipe organ. The program began with Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt as the composer explored the popular B-A-C-H motif in music. Also featured were pieces by Polish composers including church and organ composer Mieczysław Surzyński, living sacred choral music composer Paweł Łukaszewski, and a Christmas Carol-inspired fantasy Christmas Eve on Wawel Hill by Feliks Nowowiejski. Also performed was an excerpt from prominent Czech composer Petr Eben’s“Job” for Organ cycle. In addition to these Eastern European composers, Białko completed the program with English-Canadian Healy Willan’s Five Preludes, influenced by the composer’s love of Gregorian chants.

In partnership with the Polish Museum of America, the Chicago Philharmonic will present jazz pianist Piotr Orzechowski on November 9 at the museum in an evening event with music, food, and drink. Orzechowski will bring his 24 Preludes and Improvisations, based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s pivotal 24 Preludes and Fugues. The first ever Pole to win the prestigious 1st Prize at Montreux Jazz Festival, Orzechowski’s 24 Preludes and Improvisations allow his extraordinary composition and improvisational talents to shine.

On Saturday, November 10, the festival’s first full orchestral concert, Celebrate Polonia, will take place at the Copernicus Center. Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago Piotr Janicki will introduce this concert. Joined by young piano virtuoso Łukasz Krupiński, the Chicago Philharmonic and Principal Conductor Scott Speck will perform legendary Polish pianist, composer, and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Piano Concerto and Frédéric Chopin’s dazzling, technically demanding Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante for solo piano and orchestra.Also featured is Karol Szymanowski’s Concert Overture, masterfully orchestrated in the style of the composer’s contemporary Richard Strauss. Finishing the program is the Tragic Overture by 20th century composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, composed in secret during World War II and later reconstructed by the composer from memory after the score was lost in the devastating fires of the Warsaw Uprising. Pre-concert entertainment will be provided by the Lira Ensemble singers, Chicago’s premier Polish music ensemble.

November 11 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the regaining of Polish Independence and Armistice Day. Chicago Philharmonic will join in the worldwide celebration with a free performance of Polish composer Wojciech Kilar’s Missa pro pace (Concert for Peace).Kilar has composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, and soloists, but is best known for his film score compositions including those for The Pianist and Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Kilar’s 2001 Mass, Missa pro pace, was composed for a full symphony orchestra, mixed choir, organ, and a quartet of vocal soloists. The piece is inspired by the composer’s deeply spiritual background, and was performed in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope. The performance will be presented in a liturgical setting in Chicago’s stunning St. Hyacinth Basilica. Chicago Philharmonic will be joined by Kilar expert conductor Marek Mośand guest vocal soloists. Also included in the program is the world premiere of Fanfara by Krysztof Penderecki, commissioned by PWM edition and being performed in 11 cities around the world all on November 11.Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago Piotr Janicki will speak before the concert on this historic day.

Celebrate Polonia, November 10, 7:30pm, Copernicus Center, 5216 W Lawrence Ave,
Scott Speck conductor, Łukasz Krupiński, piano: Paderewski Piano Concerto; Chopin Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante; Szymanowski Concert Overture; Panufnik Tragic Overture

Concert for Peace, November 11, 1:30pm, St. Hyacinth Basilica, 3636 W Wolfram Street,
Chicago Philharmonic with members of Paderewski Symphony Chorus, Marek Moś conductor, Natalia Rubiś soprano, Katarzyna Sądej mezzo-soprano, Jesse Donner tenor, Kurt Link bass, Andrzej Białko organ. Program: Wojciech Kilar Missa pro pace (Mass for Peace).
(312) 957 0000

Full program reprinted on Chopin with Cherries blog:

Gothic Ceiling in NMP Church in Warsaw, Poland

Polish Organ Music at the Cathedral in Los Angeles, November 10, 2018

Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles invites to concert of Polish organ music performed by Jan Bokszczanin professor at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. The program will include music by Karol Szymanowski, Mieczysław Surzyński, Feliks Borowski, Feliks Nowowiejski, Marian Sawa and Johann Sebastian Bach. The concert will take place on November 10, 2018, at 18.00 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St., 90012 Los Angeles.  The organ concert will be held directly after the Mass for the Homeland on the Centenary of Poland's Regaining of Independence (the service will start at 17.00)

Professor Jan Bokszczanin   graduated from the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in the class of prof. Joachim Grubich in 2000. In later years he was a doctoral scholarship holder at the University of North Texas (USA), where he studied under the direction of an eminent pedagogue prof. Jesse E. Eschbach (graduate of master classes Marie Claire Alain and Marie Madeleine Durufle). He also completed the class of Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Game Practice under the supervision of prof. Lenory McCroskey (graduates of master studies of Prof. Gustav Leonhardt).

He has performed in most of Europe, Russia, Asia and the USA. He has given organ recitals at such prestigious venues as: Notre Dame de Paris, Freiberg Cathedral, Bruges Cathedral, University Chappell in Glasgow, Catholic Cathedral in Moscow and Meyerson Symphony Hall in Dallas (USA). He has held over 50 organ recitals in philharmonic halls around the world.

Organ at the Garrison Church in Warsaw, Poland

Jan Bokszczanin has recorded over twenty CDs with organ music for renowned record labels. Four notebooks with Marian Sawa's works were published by the Polihymnia Lublin publishing house. Many contemporary composers wrote for him, among others, Marian Sawa, Krzesimir Dębski, Adam Sławiński, Paweł Łukaszewski, Miłosz Bembinow, Alicja Gronau-Osińska, Dariusz Przybylski, Weronika Ratusińska, Piotr Tabakiernik, Ignacy Zalewski and Paweł Wróbel. Marian Sawa dedicated him to eight of the eleven compositions composed for him.

Jan Bokszczanin works as a professor at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (Białystok). He also holds the position of a Deputy Dean at the same university.

Kate Liu Photo by Mary Kubal

Pianist Kate Liu Appears in a Gala Concert in Los Angeles

A Gala Concert to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Poland Regaining Independence 1918-2018 took place at Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, on November 5, 2018, with American pianist of Singaporean descent, Kate Liu. Organized by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland with the assistance of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, the Gala Concert was sponsored by the Polish National Foundation (concert) and Polish Investment and Trade Agency (reception). The program included works by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Fryderyk Chopin (mazurkas) and Beethoven's sublime sonata Op. 110.  This was a star studded evening, with Poland's Senator Anna Maria Anders, Secretary of State for International Dialogue who flew in for one night! Also, many celebrities, including Wojciech Kocyan, pianist, Katarzyna Sadej, mezzosoprano, Kasia Smiechowicz and Marek Probosz aktors, Marcin Gortat from the Clippers, and many representatives of Polish American organizations from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Francisco.

Kate Liu with Maja Trochimczyk and Consul Jaroslaw Lasinski.

Born in Singapore in 1994, Kate Liu began to study piano at the age of four and moved with her family to the Chicago area when she was eight. She continued her studies at the Music Institute of Chicago and graduated from the New Trier High School in 2012. Currently she is studying at Curtis Institute of Music. Winner of the First Prize at the 2010 New York International Piano Competition in New York City and at the 2015 Chopin Competition in Daegu, South Korea, Katie Liu was also a prizewinner at the 2010 Thomas & Evon Cooper International Competition in Oberlin, 2011 Hilton Head International Piano Competition for Young Artists in Hilton Head, 2012 Eastman Young Artist International, and 2014 Montreal International Musical Competition. In 2015 Kate Liu was the Third Prize winner at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw and the recipient of the Polish Radio Special Prize for her performance of Chopin’s Mazurkas. Widely popular with the Polish public, Kate Liu received the highest number of votes cast by listeners of the Second Program of the Polish Radio, and won the “My Chopin” contest. In the opinion of listeners, she was the best pianist of the 2015 Chopin Competition.

Maciej Swirski of the Polish National Foundation with Minister Anna Maria Anders
Photo by Anna Krusiewicz

Katarzyna Sadej in 100 Years of Poland in Music Concert in Beverly Hills

The concert "100 Years of Poland in Music" featured Katarzyna Sadej (mezzosoprano) and Basia Bochenek (piano) with a special guest appearance by film composer & pianist Miro Kępiński. The event was held at Beverly Hills, CA, on Saturday, October 20, 2018, 6 p.m. and organized in collaboration with the Polish Film Festival of Los Angeles.Program included Zakazane piosenki – Inspiracje / Forbidden Songs – Inspirations, by Miro Kepinski, based on songs from the 1946 musical about occupied Poland, e.g. Zielone Jabłuszko, Hymn Szarych Szeregów, Kto handluje ten żyje, and a vocal recital by Sadej and Bochenek featuring patriotic songs, Hej, Orle Biały / Hey White Eagle
(1917) by Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941); Dziś do Ciebie przyjść nie mogę / I Cannot Come to You Tonight by Stanisław Magierski, written for the Home Army in German-occupied Poland during WWII, and Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino / Red Poppies on Monte Cassino (1944) by Feliks Konarski (text) and Alfred Schütz (music), written for the Polish II Corps of Gen. W. Anders.  The program included Five Songs by Derwid (Witold Lutoslawski) from the upcoming CD by Sadej and Bochenek, as well as "100 Years of Poland in Music– Remarks" by Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D.               President of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club.

Photo by Iga Supernak

Miro Kępiński is an award-winning film composer, producer and performer. His music mixes minimalism with a ‘rawness’ of the north and a Slavic melancholy blended with classic themes. Miro’s recent credits include: a multiple-award winning feature documentary, The Wounds We Cannot See; a dark-comedy, Suicide For Beginners (with Sig Haig and Corey Feldman); In This Gray Place, his feature debut (with Phil LaMarr) and Lord Finn.

Photo by Lucyna Przasnyski

Katarzyna Sadej, a Polish-Canadian-American Mezzo-soprano was born in Wrocław, Poland, and is based in Los Angeles, California. Her international, eclectic career spans concert, opera, chamber music, oratorio, recital and voice-over performance. She has performed numerous world premieres and has had over a dozen new works composed especially for her. Recent opera performances: L.A. Opera debut as the Page of Herodias in Strauss’ Salome, SOPAC Ottawa debut as Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon, and the title role of Bizet’s Carmen in the Palm Springs Opera Guild annual gala. Upcoming highlights include her debut with the Chicago Philharmonic as the alto soloist in Wojciech Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace, her Chinese debut at Opera Chengdu as Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore, and her debut with conductor Alexander Shelley as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the NAC Ottawa. Her debut at Walt Disney Hall was with the Pacific American Chorale (alto solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony). Other notable debuts: Industry Opera, Carnegie Hall, Festival Mozaic, the National Theater in Taipei, the Nuits Blanches Festival of Toronto, San Diego Opera, the Ravinia Festival as a Steans Fellow, the 2012 London Olympics, the Ojai International Music Festival, the Montenegrin National Theater, the Lviv (Ukraine) and Banatul (Romania) Philharmonics, the Music Biennale Zagreb, the Bard Summerscape Music Festival, the Cartagena International Music Festival, Harvard University, and more notable venues.

Basia  Bochenek, a Polish-American pianist, is an avid performer of classical music, whose passion and dedication for collaborative arts brought her to venues throughout the U.S. and Europe,working with world-renowned composers, incredible musicians and great conductors. Basia has made Los Angeles her home. Her performances include world premieres and new interpretations of art songs as well as chamber music. Basia has worked with Robert Jason Brown, Richard Faith, Anne LeBaron, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen and Sofia Gubaidulina, among others. In the exploration of performing lesser known music by Polish composers as well as art songs, Basia works with Katarzyna Sadej. Their dedication to exploring new approach to art songs began at Songfest.  Basia has worked at the California Institute of the Arts, coaching young artists, accompanying opera productions, recitals, classical works and musical theatre. Other engagements include accompanying the studios of acclaimed artists, such as LA Philharmonic concertmaster Martin Chalifour, Vermeer Quartet violist Richard Young, baritones Rod Gilfry and Sherrill Milnes. Her collaborations include performances with mezzo-sopranos Suzanna Guzman, soprano Ashley Maria Bahri, violinists Roberto Cani, Mark Menzies, Lorenz Gamma and Cheryl Norman-Brick.

More information:

Remarks by Maja Trochimczyk:

And let us end with quite another concert: greetings from Lithuanian Railways to Poland, with the train horns performing the Polish national anthem; quite an amusing presentation, indeed.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Polish American Studies Vol. 75 - Two Issues in 2018

The Autumn 2018 issue of Polish American Studies is here! The striking cover image is by Wladyslaw Benda. Benda was born in 1873 in Poznan, Poland, and lived and worked in the United States since 1899. He died in Newark, NJ, in 1948. Benda was an accomplished artist and illustrator, and creator of theatrical masks. This PAS cover image was featured in Life magazine in 1922.

The issue brings four research articles. Jill Walker Gonzales analyzes an 1883 biography of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, written by A. Walton White Evans. The biography reflects both the celebration of Poland's culture and military heroism, and the anxieties of the Gilded Age era.

Stephen M. Leahy examines the events of Alabama Governor George Wallace's presidential campaign in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1964. Leahy challenges the prevailing but inaccurate assumption about Milwaukee's Polish Americans as "white ethnic racists."

Joanna Wojdon presents an insightful picture of everyday life and work of the Warsaw Communist regime's intelligence officers employed within the PRL diplomatic structures in the Cold War United States. Wojdon asserts that they acted not only as "people of the regime" but also temporary migrants, who developed their own strategies for for survival.

Joanna Kulpinska, the winner of PAHA's Graduate Student Award in 2016, shares her research on the chain migration from the village of Babica, Poland. She examines migration patterns and motivations of forty-eight families, who left Babica in recent decades.

The issues includes also reviews of books by Urszula Chowaniec, G. W. Stephen Brodsky, Jaroslaw Klaczkow, Jan Krawiec, Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich, Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, and Beata Dorosz, as well as a review of the Polish Past in Chicago Exhibit by the Polish Museum of America.


Mark Kulikowski (James S. Pula)

by Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann

  • Broken and Broke: Financial Loss and Fragmentation in A. Walton White Evans’s Memoir of Thaddeus Kosciuszko. By Jill Walker Gonzalez 
  • George Wallace and the Myth of the White Ethnic Backlash in Milwaukee, 1958-1964. By Stephen M. Leahy
  • A Portrait of the Intelligence Officers of the Polish People’s Republic in the United States. By Joanna Wojdon
  • Multigenerational Migration Chains of Families from the Village of Babica – An Attempt to Create a Typology. By Joanna Kulpińska

  • Urszula Chowaniec, Melancholic Migrating Bodies in Contemporary Polish Women’s Writing (Mary Patrice Erdmans
  • G. W. Stephen Brodsky, Joseph Conrad’s Polish Soul: Realms of Memory and Self (Grażyna Maria Teresa Branny)
  • JarosławKłaczkow, The Polish Protestant Emigration in Western Europe, America, and Australia in the 19th and 20th Centuries (John M. Grondelski)
  • Jan Krawiec, Od Bachórca do Chicago: Wspomnienia (Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann)
  • LucynaAleksandrowicz-Pedich, Memory and Neighborhood: Poles and Poland in Jewish American Fiction after World War Two (Thomas J. Napierkowski)
  • “Polish Past in Chicago 1851-1941/Dawne polskie Chicago 1850-1941: Exhibition Drawn from Photographic Archives of The Polish Museum of America” (Ann Hetzel Gunkel)
  • Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz, Artyści Andersa. Continuità e Novità (Maja Trochimczyk)
  • Beata Dorosz, ed.  Od New Orleans do Mississauga. Polscy Pisarze w Stanach Zjednoczonych i Kanadzie po II Wojnie Światowej (Najnowsze Badania) (Grażyna Kozaczka)


EDITORIAL NOTE by Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann.


“Polish Participation in the Anti-Slavery Crusade,”  by James S. Pula

“A Winter’s Tale on the Chesapeake: The Hardships Endured by Polish Oyster Dredgers before the First World War,”  by Thomas L. Hollowak

“Polish Souls in North America for Christ: Polish Baptist Churches in Rochester, New York, and Wilmington, Delaware,” by Kathleen Urbanic and Thomas Duszak


⦁ Anna Rudek-Śmiechowska, Władysław Teodor Benda. Życie i twórczość polsko-amerykańskiego ilustratora i twórcy masek [Władysław Teodor Benda. Life and works of a Polish-American illustrator and mask creator] (Maja Dziedzic)

⦁ Polonaises aux champs. Lettres de femmes immigrées dans les campagnes françaises (1930-1935), ed. by Sylvie Aprive, Maryla Laurent, Janine Ponty [Polish women on the fields. Letters of immigrant women from the French countryside (1930-1935)] (Anna Łysiak-Łątkowska)

⦁ Rachel Feldhay Brenner, The Ethics of Witnessing: The Holocaust in Polish Writers’ Diaries from Warsaw, 1939—1945 (Barbara Rylko-Bauer)

⦁ Joshua C. Blank, Creating Kashubia. History, Memory, and Identity in Canada’s First Polish Community (Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf)

⦁ Tara Zahra, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (Radosław Misiarz)

⦁ Czesław Karkowski, Na Emigracji (Grażyna J. Kozaczka)

⦁ Marek Liszka, Życie kulturalne Polonii orawskiej w Chicago [Cultural Life of Orawa Polonia in Chicago] (Thaddeus V. Gromada)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Tours of Chicago with Dominic Pacyga and Victoria Granacki during PAHA's 75th Anniversary Conference

Chicago’s Polish Downtown Tour at PAHA’s 75th  Anniversary
(Victoria Granacki)

On September 9, 2018, attendees at PAHA 75th Anniversary Conference were treated to a Sunday morning bus tour of the “Polish Downtown” with Victoria Granacki, an architectural historian, as a guide. Chicago’s Polish Downtown, from the late 19th throughout the first half of the 20th century, was the capital of American Polonia. It was known to its Polish residents as “Stanisławowo-Trójcowo,” after St. Stanislaus Kostka and the Holy Trinity, two of the largest Catholic parishes in the world. 

Abakanowicz sculpture in the park

The community grew on the northwest side of the city of Chicago, around Division, Ashland, and Milwaukee Avenues, and by 1890 was the city’s largest Polish settlement, with almost half of all Chicago Poles living there. The neighborhood contained a rich complex of parish and community institutions so complete that the local community could provide nearly all the services its members required without ever leaving—religious, educational, political, economic and recreational. Yet though its physical size was compact, its influence was far-reaching. Nearly all Polish undertakings of any consequence in the United States through the World Wars either started or were directed from this tight-knit neighborhood in Chicago.

Buffalo grass on Loyola University Campus

         The tour began at the Polish Museum of America, housed within the historic Polish Roman Catholic Union of America head-quarters at 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue. This building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Managing Director Małgorzata Kot guided the group through highlights of the collection in the Great Hall, Kusmierczak Art Gallery, and the Paderewski Room. 

Polish Museum of America, courtesy of the museum.

The 16 mostly out-of-town visitors were greatly impressed with historic artifacts from the 1939 New York World’s Fair aglow under new lighting in their oak cases, as well as by “Poland Reborn” (a massive stained-glass window), newly restored paintings from the interwar period, and a peek into the archives behind the Paderewski Room. A special treat was a look at the PRCUA offices and board room with its intricate wood carvings and trim. 

Church of Sw. Wojciech (Adalbertus)

       Visits to the two most significant churches in Polish Downtown, St. Stanislaus Kostka, and the Holy Trinity, were squeezed in between the Sunday mass schedules. St. Stanislaus, founded in 1867 is considered the “mother church” of Chicago’s Polonia. The parish today serves a multi-ethnic congregation with services in English, Polish, and Spanish and also houses a Shrine of Divine Mercy, open for adoration 24/7. At the Holy Trinity Polish Mission Rev. Andrzej Totzke greeted us and proudly directed us to the lower level catacombs which display 267 relics collected from 1911—present. Holy Trinity (left) was magnificently restored from 2002-2007 under the leadership of the Society of Christ Fathers from Poland and all services today are in the Polish language.

      Commentary was also offered from either the bus or standing around on the sidewalk about other notable structures in Polish Downtown including Noble Street businesses, Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, Holy Trinity and Holy Family high schools, the former Polish National Alliance headquarters and the Northwestern Trust and Savings Bank/Daily Zgoda building.                        
~ Victoria Granacki

Tour with Dominic Pacyga, Photo Marcin Szerle.

South Side Polonia Tour Guided by Dr. Dominic Pacyga

 During the 75th PAHA Anniversary meeting in Chicago, Dominic A. Pacyga took members on a tour of South Side Polonia neighborhoods. The excursion began at Loyola University and made its way south to Roosevelt Road were the bus headed west through the old Praha neighborhood, at first a Czech neighborhood that included St. Wenceslaus Parish, but later both the parish became largely Polish in ethnicity. 

The tour then went south on Halsted Street, past the site of  the old Maxwell Street Market, to 18th Street to visit Pilsen, another Czech neighborhood in which Poles soon arrived to found the parish of St. Adalbert, the second Polish parish recognized by the Diocese of Chicago. There parishioners hoping to save the parish, which is threatened to be closed, greeted the group.  The beautiful church, designed in the Polish Cathedral style, was being prepared for a concert by the Chicago Chopin Society to raise money with the hope of preserving the church.

           After touring Wojciechowo, the bus took members to Bridgeport and St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church (Kościół Matki Bożej Nieustającej Pomocy). This church continues to provide services to the quickly gentrifying Bridgeport neighborhood. Originally the large Polish community that worked, for the most part, in the nearby Union Stock Yards created the parish.

 Another Polish parish, St. Barbara’s also serves the Bridgeport Polonia. The tour then returned to Halsted Street and followed it south to the Union Stock Yard, which provided the economic/symbolic base for much of Chicago’s South Side.

           The bus stopped at the Stone Gate entrance to the stockyards where visitors were given a short history of the Union Stock Yard, which opened on Christmas Day 1865.  Today the site holds the most successful industrial park in the city and some 15,000 people are employed in the district. The tour saw an old packinghouse and the newer structures that have largely replaced the meat industry in the area. After touring the yards and neighboring Packingtown the bus headed west of the stockyards to the neighborhood called Back of the Yards. 

Three parishes once served the Polish community in the area. Today the parish of St. Joseph still serves the now largely Hispanic neighborhood.  The bus passed Davis Square Park, a park designed by Jane Addams and Daniel Burnham. It was the site of a 1917 rally of the Stock Yard Labor Council and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen Union to announce the first agreement between organized labor and the meat packers. It also witnessed much of the fighting during the 1921-22 packinghouse strike.

            After touring the Back of the Yards, the bus made its way to Garfield Boulevard and headed east towards Hyde Park passing through the northern edge of West Englewood, Englewood and through a neighborhood once called “Between the Tracks.” Finally, the tour passed the University of Chicago and then made its way along Lake Shore Drive back to Loyola University. Hopefully the tour gave PAHA members at least an introduction to a part of Chicago largely unexplored by many histories of Polish Chicago.

Dominic A. Pacyga, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of History, Columbia College/Chicago

All photos by Maja Trochimczyk, unless otherwise noted.

Text: Reprinted from PAHA Newsletter, Fall 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Program of PAHA's 76th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Il, January 3-6, 2019

76th Annual Meeting of Polish American Historical Association

All Sessions will be at Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, Illinois, 60605. PAHA's meeting is held in association with the 133rd Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association.

To get to the hotel from the O'Hare Airport take the Blue Line train to Jackson stop and walk 0.6 miles southeast. To get to the hotel from  Midway Airport take the Orange Line train to the Roosevelt stop and walk 0.5 miles north to 720 S. Michigan.

REGISTRATION for PAHA's 76th  Annual Meeting in Chicago is REQUIRED. The attendance is FREE - there is NO Registration Fee to attend the meeting. However, there  is a FEE of $45 per person for the Awards Banquet which will take place at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642. The awardees attend for free. The Banquet Fee may be paid using PayPal: links are on the website:

This program may be dowloaded in PDF Format from PAHA Website.

Chicago and Lake Michigan, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 1: Building the Polish Diaspora: Polish Communities Abroad
Thursday, January 3, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Pien Versteegh, Avans University of Applied Sciences

  • From Popular to Personal: Polish-American Influence at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference - Denis Clark, University of Oxford
  • Building the Diaspora: Circulations of Ideas and Practices between French and American Polonia during the Cold War - Florence Vychytil-Baudoux, Centre Français de Recherce en Sciences Sociales
  • Jones Island Milwaukee Kaszube Fishermen and Loyalty Bonds to St. Stanislaus Church  - Ann Gurnack, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  •  Comment: The Audience
                                            PAHA Board Meeting in Chicago, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

PAHA Board Meeting Part 1

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4L
Presider: Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdańsk

 Lake Michigan, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 2: Loyalty to a Patriotic Ideal? And If So, Which? Memory Politics and Cultural Politics in Post-World War II Poland

Friday, January 4, 2019: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Michal Janusz Wilczewski, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • “Her Soul Was That of a Heroine”: Polish Warrior Women in 19th-Century American Literature - Jill Noel Walker Gonzalez, La Sierra University
  • Satiric Rogues: Satire between Protest and Team Building in Stalinist Poland - Elizabeth Wenger, independent scholar
  • Between Gender Blindness and Nationalist Herstory: Writing Women's History in Times of Illiberal Revisionism in Poland - Weronika Grzebalska, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Active National Forgetting and Sexual Violence in Poland during and after the Second World  War as Seen through the Works of Andrzej Wajda - Meghann T. Pytka, Northwestern University
  • Comment: The Audience
Sculpture by Magdalena Abakanowicz in Chicago, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 3: Lifelong Affection: Americans in East Central Europe from World War I to the End of the Cold War

Friday, January 4, 2019: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Anna Muller, University of Michigan–Dearborn

  • William J. Tonesk: Polish-American Quests in East Central Europe, 1920s–40s - Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdańsk
  • Hugh S. Gibson: An American Diplomat in Warsaw, 1919–24 - Vivian Reed, Western Oregon University
  • Gene Deitch: An American Illustrator in Prague, 1959 to the Present - Francis D. Raška, Charles University
  • Comment: The Audience
 Lake Michigan, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 4: Conflicted Loyalties and/or Pragmatism

Friday, January 4, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, Eastern Connecticut State University

  • Conflicting Loyalties: Sexual and Ethnic Identity among Polish Immigrant Gay Men in Chicago - Hubert Izienicki, Purdue University Northwest
  • Loyalty and Pragmatism: US Naturalization Rates of New Polish Immigrants - Mary Patrice Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University
  • Comment: The Audience
Chicago and Lake Michigan, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 5: Polish Soldiers' Loyalty in Transnational Context

Friday, January 4, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: James Pula, Purdue University Northwest

  • Between Civilization and Barbarians: Loyalty of Slavic and Roman Soldiers in the Second Half of the 6th Century - Łukasz Różycki, Adam Mickiewicz University
  • False Stones or Diamonds in the Rough? Polish and American Mercenary Officers in the Egyptian Army, 1833–83 - John P. Dunn, Valdosta State University
  • Negotiated Loyalties: Poles and the Polish Cause on the Battlefields of the American Civil War - Piotr Derengowski, University of Gdańsk
  • Loyalty to Your Country, to Your Men, or to Oneself? The Question of Surrender in the Polish Military during World War II - Jan Szkudliński, Gdynia City Museum
  • Comment: The Audience

South Chicago, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 6: Reconstructions, Processes, and (Invented) Traditions

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Mary Patrice Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University

  • Kosloski’s Kashub Commodities: Tradition, Scarcity, and Why We Value Wilno Furniture - Joshua Blank, independent scholar
  • Staying Polish? Changing Ethnic Sentiments of Polish Migrants in the United States - Pien Versteegh, Avans University of Applied Sciences
  • The New Ethnicity Movement and Polish Americans: It's Coming, Going, Significance, and Consequences - Donald Pienkos, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Comment: The Audience
St. Stanislaw Kostka Church with Girls in Gorale Costume

Session 7: Different Faces of Polishness

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdańsk

  • The Warsaw Positivists and the Racial Redefinition of Polishness in the Second Half of the 19th Century - Marta Cieslak, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Social Theory of the Peasant Migrant and the Problem of Universalism in Polish History - Kathleen Wroblewski, University of Michigan
  • Polonizing an Anglo Community - James Pula, Purdue University Northwest
  • Comment: The Audience
South Chicago street,  Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Session 8: American Ethnics in the Post-World War II Decades

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: David A. Gerber, State University of New York at Buffalo

  • Urban Renewal and the Response of American Ethnic Groups, 1949–74 - Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Racial Reason and Post-World War II Italian American Assimilation in Boston’s North End - James Pasto, Boston University 
  • Italian Americans and the Limits of White Ethnic Liberalism in Postwar Immigration Reform Campaigns - Danielle Battisti, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Individual Effort, Not Quotas: American Jews against Affirmative Action in the 1970s and 1980s - Eric Morgenson, State University of New York, University at Albany
  • Comment: David A. Gerber, State University of New York at Buffalo
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in South Chicago

Session 9: War, Displacement, and Polish Communities

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Chair: Angela Pienkos, Polish Center of Wisconsin

  • "For Us Americans of Polish Descent, War Broke out on September 1st, 1939": The Divided Loyalties of the Sienkiewicz Youth Circle - Andrew Kless, University of Rochester
  • Defining Poland through Music: American Musical Celebrations of the Centennial of Poland’s Regained Independence - Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press, Los Angeles
  • The Foundations of the Polish Diaspora in Exile after World War II: Cultural Identity and Loyalty of the Polish Emigres in Resettlement - Agata Błaszczyk, Polish University Abroad
  • Comment: The Audience

Chicago street, photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Annual  PAHA Awards Banquet 

Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 7 p.m.
Chopin Theater, 1543 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642
Tickets are $45 per person, the awardees attend for free.

To reserve your seat for the Awards Banquet, register for the conference and pay the Awards Banquet Fee, please visit our website:

PAHA Board Meeting Part 2

Sunday, January 6, 2019: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Hilton Chicago, Conference Room 4K
Presider: Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdańsk