The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter
Newsletter No. 23
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  Quo Vadis 

Newsletter of the KF Philly Chapter  • May 2020 •  Issue No. 23

In this Issue:


  • Summer in Poland 
  • Our Next Polish Culture Salon: June 6th, 2020
  • Next Tablet Ceremony in Savannah
  • A New Polish Heritage Guide
  • Sztuka: The Society of Polish Artists by Wanda K. Mohr
  • Robert Zazyczny by Peter Obst

From the President

Dear Members and Friends of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation,

I hope all is well with you and your families. 
We miss networking with you at various events. As you recall, we had to postpone our March salon “The Warsaw School of Logic and its Global Legacy”. 
At this time, we were hoping to share with you details about our Annual General Membership Meeting that usually takes place in June. The health and safety of our members and supporters is our primary concern and given the potential risks associated with COVID-19, we believe it is best to move that event to a later date. We are taking this step to ensure that everyone feel comfortable and safe. We will continue to monitor the situation and will plan in-person get together as soon as circumstances allow for it. 
Meanwhile, as we all adjust to the “new normal”, our team continues to work on turning our Cultural Salon into a remote/virtual event. We are excited for the potential opportunity to connect with you shortly via zoom platform. We will share more information as we finalize the details.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate this challenging time together.
Stay safe. 
Sylwia Czajkowska

Announcements & Updates

Update: Summer Program at Jagiellonian University in Krakow

Students will not be traveling to Poland for the summer study abroad program this year as a result of the corona virus pandemic. 
The Jagiellonian University will be offering classes on-line and The Kosciuszko Foundation will be posting this information shortly. Please visit their website for the updates: 

The 14th Polish Culture Salon Returns in Zoom!


Due to the Corona virus pandemic we will have the first ever virtual Polish Culture Salon in Zoom! 

On Saturday, June 6, 2020, Maria Werner-Wasik and Mariusz Wasik will host remotely an evening with David Dunning, Ph.D. Candidate in History of Science, Princeton University. The topic of Mr. Dunning presentation is:
"What Is Polish Logic? National Identity in a Universal Science"

       Statue of Polish logicians above the University of Warsaw Library

Logic is the science of reason itself. Those who study it, seek to understand not the human minds that think but the theoretical laws that those minds supposedly follow, or ought to follow. In such an abstract and seemingly universal science, it might be surprising to find talk of a distinctly “Polish logic." But between the World Wars, not only did Warsaw emerge as the world’s most vibrant center for logic, but the research produced there came to be seen as representing a specifically Polish approach to the subject. This talk will explore the rise of the Warsaw School, its characteristic practices, and its global legacy in postwar computer science.

Although we will miss the usual fun of social gathering, we hope you will join us for this fascinating premiere event while sipping wine in a comfort and safety of your own home ....More details coming soon!

Two more Tablets Dedicated in Savannah 

On October 9, 2020  two additional tablets dedicated to Polish Participants in the American Revolution will be dedicated on the Battlefield in Savannah GA. Everyone is invited. The weather there in October is pleasant and the town, a historically and architecturally significant place in the United States is definitely worth experiencing.
Information is posted on the website listed below.  see:

A New Guide to Polish Places

by Peter Obst

Ewa Barczyk of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) has taken up the challenge and accepted the post of editor for a new edition of the Polish Heritage Travel Guide to the USA and Canada.  The guide was originally  published by Hippocrene Books in 1992 and contains a listing of places significant to the Polish-American experience. Because of space limitations it concentrated  on the most  important  ones and provided an interesting survey of Polish contributions to the North American landscape. The new version will expand on this concept and update some of the listings as things have changed during the last three decades. A  web page explains the goals  for the new edition. Please see:

Interesting Read 

Sztuka: The Society of Polish Artists

by Wanda K. Mohr


Modernism in art was a movement that arose in the late 19th and at the turn of the 20th century against rapid and monumental changes in Western society and was shaped by industrialization, urbanization and later to the horrors of World War I. Modernists rejected the hegemony of Enlightenment thinking and many rejected religious thought, as well.  They sought to break down conventional formulas of artistic representation. Most of us are familiar with the giants of modernism in European artistic expression, but there are no household names such as Matisse or Picasso among Polish artists. To this day, Polish art has remained mostly unknown to Western art history.

         Yet there is a rich tradition of modernism in Polish art history which was shaped in part by an influential school of visual artists that arose around the turn of the century calling themselves the Society of Polish Artists (Towarzystwo Artystów Polskich). This society became known as ”Sztuka” and consisted of prominent Polish artists who came together during a time when Poles were living under partition and the country had ceased to exist as an independent state. Poland's complex political history and passion for independence dominated its nineteenth-century culture and in the absence of a stable independent political structure, patriotism and national sentiment strongly influenced the development of Polish art. For Poles, their culture was the repository of national memory, essentially an enclave for their threatened national identity and a requisite tool in their political struggle. The goal of the Sztuka movement was to re-affirm the importance and unique character of Polish contemporary art at a time, when Poland could not exist as sovereign nation.

  Sztuka’s artists realized their goals through propagating naturalism (depicting realistic objects in a natural setting), based on a mixture of plein-air (open air) observation and depiction of commonplace, yet personal domestic scenes, particularly those within domestic interiors. Their works stressed the “Polishness” of the Polish landscape and life as a source of national distinctiveness and pride. Among Sztuka’s members were some of the leading artists of the period, such as the painters Olga Boznańska*, Józef Marian Chełmoński, Józef Pankiewicz, Leon Jan Wyczółkowski, and Stanisław Wyspiański. The group was headquartered in Krakow although it never had its own administrative center nor did its members publish their own journal.  During its existence, the association organized numerous exhibitions in major Polish artistic centers including Kraków, Warsaw, Lwów and Wilno. Believing in the importance of art as a means of promoting national unity, the artists also exhibited in less prestigious locations such as Poznań, Łódź, Toruń, Sosnowiec and Katowice. Sztuka promoted Polish art abroad and helped to facilitate artistic contacts with artists in other parts of Europe and the U.S. By 1914 most major modernist Polish artists were affiliated with the movement, although Sztuka was criticized by some younger artists for its exclusivity.

            Sztuka artists drew their inspiration from European modernism, which they treated as a means for conveying patriotism and for creating a pictorial style expressive of native tradition. Hence, Polish art of this period exemplifies, a balance between foreign influences and the unique means of expression native to Polish culture.

            The Sztuka artists were also influenced by Japanese art as well. Japonisme had a huge influence on the Impressionism, Post-Impressionism & the Nouveau art movements, peaking in the 1890s. Several prominent Sztuka artists were introduced to Japanese art by Władysław Ślewiński*, a leading artist of the young Poland movement and a student of Paul Gaugin who’s work was influenced by Japanese prints. These influences can be seen in some of the magnificent art nouveau projects in architecture, painting and stained glass produced by Stanisław Wyspiański*  

 Wyspiański was one of the most outstanding and eclectic Polish artists of his time under the partitions. He blended modernism with history and Polish folk tradition. One can see the fusion of history and modernism in his 1904–5 series of pastel drawings of the Kosciuszko Mound. The series is an excellent example of an expressionist landscape charged with historical importance. His representation of the Kosciuszko Mound at different times of the day can be seen as a reminder of the mound’s significance over time as a symbol of uprising and liberation and reflecting the hopes of the nation to regain independence. Reflecting the influence of Japonisme, the Kosciuszko Mound series with its offset mound, echoes Hokusai Katsushika’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji, with its offset mount (more here) While Wyspiański’s emphasis is on the patriotic, historical meaning of the site, Hokusai’s is meant to convey Mount Fuji’s spiritual meaning, nevertheless the influence of Japonisme on Wyspiański’s work is striking.

             Poland’s past and history was also revealed in the landscape imagery and depersonalization of the human being in the works of Władysław Ślewiński  and Witold Wojtkiewicz*, both of whom conveyed an extreme pessimism rooted in the broader context of a captive people under decades of partition. Their landscapes in particular are characterized by unusual light effects, permeated by a drab color palette and certain pictorial motifs predominate. For example, misty depictions of dawn conveyed melancholy and a dissipated light of dusk evoke a feeling of unease.

            Polish modernists preferred the transitional phases of the seasons of the year—early spring and late autumn— and had a strong preference for sorrowful autumn evenings, wistful twilight hours, and uneasy cloudy nights to convey the despair of living under partition and the vagaries of Polish history.

            The modernist tradition took root in Poland largely because of the Sztuka movement and the association had its major impact on Polish art prior to World War I. Their contribution was to imbue traditional themes and artistic expression with the exigencies of the sociopolitical issues of their time in history, specifically keeping the idea of Poland as an independent country and peoples alive.  During the interwar years, a new generation of artists expressed a dissatisfaction with Sztuka’s dominance over the Polish art world and its influence waned. Polish artists moved on to the next stage of their evolution, embracing most of the new internationalist movements including cubism, expressionism, surrealism, and dada. Although no longer active, the association existed until 1950.

* denotes artists whose works are exemplified


Brzyski, A ( Published 02 October 2012). Sztuka.
 Cavenaugh, J. (2000). Out Looking In: Early Modern Polish Art, 1890-1918. Berkeley, CA.

Irena Kossowska, book review of “Out Looking In: Early Modern Polish Art, 1890–1918 by Jan Cavanaugh,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 1, no. 2 (Autumn 2002), (accessed February 27, 2020).

Wichmann, S. (1988) Japonisme: The Japanese Influence on Western Art in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Random House Publishing, NY.


A special thanks to: Jenni Drozdek (Assistant Director for Interpretation, Philadelphia Museum of Art) and Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk (Professor of Art ret. Oldham Sixth Form College, U.K.) for their feedback on this article.


Robert Zażyczny
1935 - 2020

by Peter Obst

Joseph Zażyczny, born July 17, 1935,  a well known figure in Philadelphia political and Polish American life, passed away on March 26, 2020 at age 84. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Martha (nee Stronski), better known as "Marti," with whom he had six children: Jacqueline, Joel, Jocelyn, Jayda Lynn, Jason and Justin.  He was grandfather to 15.
He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School and continued his education at Alliance College, University of Colorado and Temple University in Philadelphia. He attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He devoted his entire life to public service and a good portion of that was given to Poland and Polish-Americans living in the Philadelphia area. He was President of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) from 1986 to 1989. Under his administration the ACPC established the American Center for Polish Culture in Washington DC.  During  his tenure  the ACPC organized the Norwid Memorial Committee, which culminated with a bronze memorial to the poet in Harper's Ferry, and supported the translation of Henryk  Sienkiewicz's Trilogy by Wiesław Kuniczak.

He was an elected member of Philadelphia City Council (1967-1978) for the 6th District and was the original  founding member and later president of the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia, one of the ACPC's affiliate groups.
In 1987 he went to work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Government as  Deputy Secretary in the Department of Health. Later, he was appointed by the  governor to the Cabinet Post of Secretary of Administration, where his policies effected substantial savings within the state  employee health and retirement programs.
During his time in Philadelphia City government he played an important part in several projects that were directly connected to Poland and Polonia.
• Monument to astronomer Mikołaj Kopernik (1969)
• Tadeusz Kościuszko Memorial (museum) under the US National Park Service (1976)
• International Sister City agreement between Philadelphia and Toruń (1976)
• Statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko, donated by Poland (1978)

After leaving public office he supported other Polish cultural initiatives including:
commonwealth of Pennsylvania Historical Commission markers for bridge engineer Ralph Modjeski (2007) and tandem-rotor helicopter inventor Frank Piasecki (2010).

In 2013 the President of the Republic of Poland awarded Joseph Zazyczny the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit in recognition of his work. 
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, his funeral was held in private for the family. A Celebration of Life Ceremony is planned for a later date. His mortal remains are interred on the Avenue of the Meritorious at the cemetery of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA.

Call for Contributions & 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:
Learn more about our recent and past events here.
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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 warmly welcome you!

The KF Philadelphia Chapter Board
Board photo, June 2019
Sylwia Czajkowska

Margaret Zaleska 
Vice President

Peter Obst
Vice President

Hanna Wewiora 

Elizabeth Zechenter 


Ela Gosek
Bozena Korczak
Maria Werner -Wasik
Andre Zlotnicki

Quo Vadis Editor:

Margaret Zaleska

Copyright © 2019 The Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation, All rights reserved.

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