The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter
Newsletter No.14
View this email in your browser
  Quo Vadis 

Newsletter of the KF Philly Chapter  •  August 2018 •  Issue No. 14
In this Issue:
• An Unusual Friendship & Polish History
• Flag Raising at City Hall
• Polish Independence Day Ceremony in State Capitol: November 14, 2018
• "How Poland Helped Win WWII" at the Museum of American Revolution
• Styka Art Exhibit & Sale
• Polish-American Family Fair  
• Pulaski Day Parade

INTRODUCING: "Leaning Out" - An Intimate Look at Twin Towers Engineer
INTERESTING READS: Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz & Susan Livingstone
Celebrating 100 years of Polish Independence
How a Friendship Between a Pole and an American Influenced the History of Poland
by Marcia Geary-Wolnicki & Miron Wolnicki

In 1918, the world was filled with major uncertainty, death from war and from disease, as struggles  raged for national and individual  independence. Countries such as Poland, Finland, Estonia,  Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Czechoslovakia, to name a few, declared their independence.  World War I raged on, with events such as the “Spring Offensive“ along the Western Front, the capture of Kirkuk by the British, and the Second Battle of the Marne.  Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, died after having been imprisoned three years earlier for having committed this world-affecting murder. The so - called “Spanish” influenza became pandemic, resulting in over 30 million in deaths in the summer of 1918.   The Romanov Royal family was assassinated by the Bolsheviks in Russia. And women received the right to vote in Britain, Poland, Germany and Canada, setting the stage for future suffragette movements.
This was the arena in which President Woodrow Wilson of the United States formed his “Fourteen Points”, in a speech presented to the U.S. Congress on January 8, 1918. President Wilson had the intelligence and political insight to realize that a larger plan was essential to restore calm after the chaos and destruction of World War I.  His Fourteen Points would be used as a framework for peace negotiations at Versailles in November 1918.  For the formation of modern Poland, Point 13 was crucial. It read:
“An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.”
How did a friendship between a prominent Pole and the advisor to the American President make a difference in Polish history?  By 1918, Poland, historically one of the most prominent countries in Europe, had disappeared for 123 years from the map. As WWI was coming to an end, Poles needed to exclaim: “ We exist!  We want our country returned to us!”
President Wilson, a political scientist with a Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University,  had been aware of Poland's dire history but his real compassion for the fate of  Poles came after the repeated  urgings of his  Presidential advisor,  Edward Mandell House.   When House met Ignacy Jan Paderewski, he was impressed by the pianist's passion for Poland, and they formed a friendship as well as a professional affiliation of such importance that House continued to relay to the President the crucial need for aid to Poland.  
Paderewski had vigorously championed Polish causes, and had formed the General Committee for Relief of War Victims in Poland (known as the Vevey Committee) with Nobel prize-winning writer Henryk Sienkiewicz. House continued to relay to the President the crucial need for aid to Poland.   The fact that House was able to advise President Wilson so strongly on Poland was a major factor in the drafting  of Point 13 calling for the restitution of Poland  in the  Wilson’s 14 points of the Treaty of Versailles.  Wilson was so taken by Paderewski’s passion and intelligence that he invited the Pole to accompany him to the Peace Treaty signing.
In 1932,  Paderewski felt so grateful for his important friendship with advisor House that the pianist funded in Warsaw a statue of House - one of the few statues of Americans in Poland.   While President Wilson is credited with the statements leading to Poland regaining its Independence, this close relationship between House and Paderewski was a major force in aligning the US President’s actions on behalf of Poland.
In this centennial year marking the regaining of Polish Independence, and recognizing Poland's current place in the international community, it is interesting to remark that a deep friendship of two powerful men, House and Paderewski, played such a crucial role in determining the course of history for Poland.
Join Us For These Important Events !
Flag Raising at City Hall

 Place: Thomas Paine Plaza, Philadelphia, PA 

(across from Philadelphia City Hall, at Municipal Services Building)

Date: Friday, August 31, 2018 
38th Anniversary of the founding of Solidarity

Time: 11:00 am -12:00 pm

Persons Present: Mayor's Representative will deliver an official proclamation
Honorary RP Consul of SE Pennsylvania - Debbie Majka
friends of
 Poland and  guests.  
All are welcome!!

You may also want to visit:

Polish Independence Day Ceremony in State Capitol

State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA 
Friday, November 14, 2018

Starts at 12:30
under an hour for the presentations, then there is socializing and reception 
Present: Lt. Gov. Mike Stack &
Honorary RP Consul Debbie Majka
friends of Poland and guests, press and TV.
All are welcome!
Polish food will be provided. 

Transport to the Capitol will be made available from Philadelphia

Those wishing to participate in either or both ceremonies should contact: 
Debbie Majka, Honorary RP Consul for Southeastern Pennsylvania, 

Celebrate Polish Independence at the Museum of American Revolution on September 29th, 2018 
To commemorate the Jubilee Year marking the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its Independence, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation in cooperation with Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution, will sponsor a FREE lecture on September 29, 2018.

The lecture will be given by Lynne Olson, a New York Times bestselling author of a number of books of history, most of which deal in some way with World war II, and will be based upon her most recent book: "Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood that Helped Turn the Tide of War"

This is her second book, which emphasizes the invaluable contributions of Polish Pilots in the Battle of Britain. Her first book on the subject (written with her husband Stanley Cloud), "A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II" was published in both Polish and English.

For more information on this author please visit

The event will include a lecture, book signing and reception, and will be appealing to a wide general audience. The lecture is FREE and open to the public; the reception is via paid tickets.

Please register through EventBrite by September12, 2018
More Events 
40th Anniversary of Adam Styka Art Exhibit & Sale

Our Chapter is proud to be a sponsor of this event!
Organized by Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia annually for 40 years at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa In Doylestown, PA. 

The exhibit is open during the Shrine’s Polish - American Family Festival: September 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9, 2018.
All are invited! 

For more information contact Marie Hejnosz at 215-487-0221 or
Pulaski Day Parade: October 14, 2018

You’re Invited to Join The Philadelphia Area Pulaski Day Parade and
Polish American Heritage Month Celebration!

On Sunday, October 14, 2018, the 85th Annual Pulaski Day Parade steps off at 12 Noon from the Parkway in center city Philadelphia. The parade marches down the Parkway to 16th Street, turns and marches up the Parkway to the reviewing stands at Logan Circle at 19th Street. Live television coverage on WPVI TV 6 ABC begins at 12:30 PM. For information on how to watch the parade from your mobile device, click here to download the 6ABC Mobile App.

The parade will celebrate the history, culture and pride cherished by the Polish American community. During the 2018 Pulaski Day Parade, we will also mark the 410th Anniversary of the First Polish Settlers in America. A complete schedule of events will be listed in the next edition of the Polish American News, announced during the daily Polish American Radio Program and listed on

Leaning Out - An Intimate Look at Twin Towers Engineer Leslie E. Robertson: Producers Basia & Leonard Myszynski

Our Chapter is proud to support a new educational documentary LEANING OUT-An Intimate Look at Twin Towers Engineer Leslie E Robertson paying tribute to an extraordinary man and humanitarian. A relevant film with national and global impact.

Please view our Movie Trailer

This is a film about a living legend, a guru in high-rise engineering, told in his own voice and those closest to him. Robertson was also the lead structural engineer of the World Trade Center, haunted by its fall ever since. Families of 9/11 victims demand answers. This unique bond with humanity solidifies his place in American history. Highlighting landmark structures. 
A rare soul, it is Robertson's fight for human rights that drives him as he continues to educate and shape the lives of others. It is also about a woman engineer who emboldened the man she loved, expanded his worldview and ultimately saved him.

Please follow: 

 Interesting Reads 
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz and Susan Livingston
by Agnieszka Gerwel

Several months ago I had a chance to visit Liberty Hall Museum, a well preserved former estate of William Livingston, New Jersey's first governor. The Georgian style house, from 1772, is located on Kean University Campus, in Union, former Elizabethtown. Families inhabiting the mansion, passed on furniture, books, portraits, decorative items and artifacts from generation to generation creating an unrivaled historical collection.

We were given a detailed house tour by Bill Schroh, who told us that Susan Livingston Kean was married to a Polish Count Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz. She renamed Liberty Hall '"Ursino" in his honor for a period of time. Jonathan Mercantini, Professor of History at Keane University, kindly shared an excellent article with me written by Ryszard Walicki, entitled: "The Marriage of J.U. Niemcewicz". I partially based my piece on his work.

Niemcewicz, born in 1758, was a Polish playwright, poet, leading advocate for the Constitution of 3rd May and a statesman. He is best known for two works: a political comedy: The Return of the Deputy (1790) and John of Tenczyn (1825), reflecting life in old Poland. His stay in New Jersey is depicted in a book entitled: "Under their Vine and Fig Tree, Travels in America in 1797-1799, 1805 with some further account of life in New Jersey"

[Jan Baptist Lampi Portrait of Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz , 1796]

Niemcewicz came to America in exile, under the influence of Tadeusz Kościuszko. He settled in 1796 in Elizabethtown, NJ. Kościuszko introduced Niemcewicz to Susan Kean, a widow of John Kean, delegate to the Continental Congress. Julian thought of her as a handsome lady with a lot of knowledge and paid her frequent visits. Susan was tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She read voraciously and had a great memory, enjoyed a good conversation and had a witty sense of humor.
They became friends and enjoyed reading side by side, by candlelight, late into the night, "not noticing the passing time". After a two year courtship, Susan, against all conventions, asked Niemcewicz to marry her, to which he said yes. Following their wedding on July 2, 1800, they moved to a small house at the edge of Elizabeth, surrounded by a garden and 18 acres of property. Susan and Julian were somewhat opposites of each other. He, happy, healthy and curious and she, more of an introspective introvert, often of weak health and moody. While Niemcewicz enjoyed socializing and visiting his French neighbours, it was difficult for Susan. He was inspired by the political discourse of an emigree. He felt that American political life at that time was quite stable.

Two years following the wedding Julian received sad news of his father's illness. He decided to visit him. He travelled through Hamburg, Berlin, to Warsaw and finally to Skoki, where he was born. During his stay in Poland, Niemcewicz exchanged many detailed letters with his wife. Most of them survived and are archived at Liberty Hall. Upon his return to the States, he brought beautiful gifts for Susan, but he did not stay long. Following Napoleon's invasion in 1807, Niemcewicz traveled to Poland again where he became secretary of the senate. Several letters per year were written between him and his wife until her death in 1833. He was never to return to the United States. Julian Niemcewicz died in 1841 in exile in Paris.

Call for Contributions and Contributors

Our newsletter welcomes contributions, comments and news from our members and friends, as well as from collaborating organizations. Please consider writing a short article for our newsletter on any subject related to Polish culture. Send contributions to:
Margaret Zaleska: 
or Agnieszka Gerwel:
Learn more about our recent and past events here.
Like us on Facebook

Join the Kościuszko Foundation!

For more information about the KF Philadelphia Chapter, or if you would like to become a  Kościuszko Foundation member and join us on our celebration of all things Polish, please visit the website:  We welcome you!

The KF Philadelphia Chapter Board
Marcia Geary-Wolnicki

Miron Wolnicki 
Vice President

Margaret Zaleska
Vice President

Hanna Wewiora 

Sylwia Czajkowska

Andre Zlotnicki

Peter Obst
Board Members:

Ela Bochenek
Elizabeth Gosek
Bozena Korczak
Yolanta Roman
Maria Werner-Wasik
Elizabeth Zechenter

Quo Vadis Editors:

Margaret  Zaleska
 & Agnieszka Gerwel

Copyright © 2018 The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter, All rights reserved.

Contact us at:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp