The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter
Newsletter No. 6
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  Quo Vadis 

Newsletter of the KF Philly Chapter  •  February 2017 •  Issue No. 6
From the President 

Dear Members and Friends of the KF Philadelphia Chapter, 

Last year marked an important milestone for Polish Americans living in the Delaware Valley. For the first time the three Polish organizations came together to pool their talents on a Christmas Gala. One hundred and eighty-six guests joined in the spirit of celebrating Christmas and friendship.  Those of us who organized this event worked together with the shared goal of promoting Polish heritage and culture. I extend a special note of thanks to Anthony Krzywicki from the Jagiellonian Law Society for promoting the idea of a common celebration.  I would also like to express my sincerest thanks to Jean Joka, Marie Hejnosz and Diana Blichasz from the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia, whose experience in years of organizing such events was invaluable.  I would like to also thank Marcia and Miron Wolnicki, Margaret Zaleska and Hanna Wewiora from the KF Philadelphia Chapter for all your work and dedication on this project.

Finally, I sincerely appreciate the work of Peter Obst in developing the Program Book. The KF Philadelphia Chapter is looking forward to learning from this first effort, working together again, and making the 2017 Christmas Gala an even more spectacular and joyous event.

Yolanta Roman, President 
The Kościuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter 

Recent Events
Meeting with Marek Skulimowski, the new President of Kościuszko Foundation

Mr. Marek Skulimowski visited Philadelphia on January 6, 2017.  Seven Philadelphia Chapter Board Members met with him and discussed our various initiatives.  In particular, we discussed in some detail this year’s main project focused on the celebration of the bicentennial of Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s death. We also discussed the challenges of expanding and improving the presence of Polonia in Center City.

We wish Mr. Skulimowski great success in his tenure as President and an Executive Director of the Kosciuszko Foundation.  We are here in Philadelphia to help him to succeed.

Celebrating Thaddeus Kościuszko's Birthday

The Polish American Congress (PAC) Eastern Pennsylvania District organized a ceremony marking the 271th anniversary of Kosciuszko's birth and the 200th Anniversary of His death on February 4, 2017 at the Kosciuszko House on 3rd and Pine street in Philadelphia.
Michael Blichasz, President of Polish American Cultural Center and Polish American Congress, Eastern Pennsylvania District,  welcomed representatives of Polonia and recognized the presence of military banners including Polish American Veteran Association Post 12. Among the celebrants were Yolanta Roman, President of KF Philadelphia Chapter, Peter Obst, Vice President of KF Philadelphia Chapter and member of Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia and Dr. Janusz Romanski president of Polish Peoples University. Chairman of Philadelphia City Council, Al Tautenberger, presented a citation which commemorated General Kosciuszko’s military successes. Philadelphia City Councilmen David Oh and William Greenlee were also present at the ceremony. 
The citation called Thaddeus Kosciuszko a pure son of liberty and  a dedicated fighter for freedom and liberty. Bill Piszek, whose father Edward Piszek was instrumental in establishing the Kosciuszko House was also a featured speaker. In addition, John Groch, an English teacher from St Joseph Preparatory School gave a short overview of Kosciuszko’s life and his struggle for freedom in America and Poland. 
At the end of ceremony the American and Polish anthems were sung by the participants. The ceremony then moved to the Polish American Cultural Center in Historic Philadelphia for the swearing in of the newly elected PAC officers. This was followed by a short cultural program presented by children from St Albert school. Closing remarks were made by Michael Blichasz.

 Updates and Announcements
Polish Poster Exhibit at the Drexel University

This exhibit will be open from January 27, 2017 through March 31, 2017.  The Plakat Polski exhibition contains selections from The Frank Fox Polish Poster Collection and Kenneth F. Lewalski Polish Posters.
Posters will be on display in the Rincliffe Gallery and Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery on the third floor of Main Building at 3141 Chestnut St. 

The Frank Fox and Kenneth Lewalski collections together represents the largest collection of Soviet era poster art in the United States.

The Rincliffe Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Gallery is free and open to the public.

For more information see:

Frances E. Wyszyński Memorial Scholarship and Tomaszkiewicz - Florio Summer Study Abroad

Study in Kraków this Summer! Deadline April 18th!

The Frances E. Wyszynski Memorial Scholarship for summer study in Poland at the Jagiellonian University has been offered  by Mr. Raymond Wyszynski in a memory of his mother Frances E. Wyszynski. This scholarship is awarded to a woman of Polish descent from the Philadelphia area.
The Tomaszkiewicz-Florio Scholarship is awarded to a woman or a man by the KF Foundation Philadelphia Chapter. Eligible candidates must be from the greater Philadelphia area and environs who are high school graduates, at least 18 years of age and are attending classes on a full-time basis.

Applicants must be US citizens of Polish descent or Polish citizens with legal US permanent residency status who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
The deadline for the scholarship is April 18, 2017.  Updated information for Summer Study 2017 is available at:

Please submit applications to:
Teresa G. Wojcik, PhD
3261 Adams Ct. N.
Bensalem, PA 19020

Future Events
Kościuszko Bicentennial Celebration

  • On September 23, 2017 there will be a Bicentennial Celebration at the Museum of the American Revolution on Third and Chestnut Streets. Professor Gary Nash of UCLA, author of “Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Agrippa Hall” has agreed to do a scholarly presentation at this event. This lecture will be FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. A prepaid reception will follow in the beautiful “Liberty Hall” room of the museum. We plan to invite the Polish Ambassador to the U.S., Piotr Wilczek, KF President Marek Skulimowski,  Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Zbigniew Brzezinski and other officials.
  • Our committee for liaising with the African American community is planning a teaching project with the Underground Railroad Museum and African-American Museum to showcase Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role as a pioneer of abolition in the USA.
  • On October 15, 2017 on the 200th anniversary of Tadeusz Kosciuszko's death, we will be placing flowers at his monument in Philadelphia.
  • We continue our efforts to name part of Third Street “Kosciuszko Way.” 
We are looking for the volunteers to help us to organize these events. Everybody is welcomed, please let us know if you would like to join us.  We are applying for grants to different foundations to help with financing this celebration. We are also asking for private donors for contributions which are tax deductible. 

"Friends of Liberty" is a great book to read on subject.
Annual Chopin Concert

The Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia will be presenting Chopin Concert 2017. The concert will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Holy Family University in Northeast Philadelphia.
The concert will feature pianist Eric Lu. Mr. Lu is a native of the Boston, MA area and is the  first prize winner of the Ninth Moscow International Chopin Competition for Young Pianists and the 2015 National Chopin Competition in Miami, where he also received the best concerto prize.  For more details of Mr. Lu’s biography please see:
A light reception will follow the performance which will be held in the Sister Francesca Onley Education Center at the intersection of Frankfort and Grant Ave. Parking is free for this event. Entering the campus from Frankfort and turning onto Stevenson Lane, parking will be available immediately to the right.

Tickets are $30 per person and $20 for students. Tickets will not be mailed. Concert chairperson, Debbie Majka, is taking reservations. Please call 215-627-1391 or e-mail:, or via USPS mail to Debbie Majka; 812 Lombard Street #12.

Checks are payable to: "Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia.”

Polish Culture Salons

Two Salons are planned:

March 19th Salon will consist of a screening of the documentary movie “Kosciuszko: A Man Before His Time ” written and directed by Alex Storozynski. This Salon is organized in commemoration of the Bicentennial Death Anniversary of Polish and American hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

Kosciuszko, Thomas Jefferson declared, was “as pure a son of liberty as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, and not to the few the rich alone”. 

April 30th Salon will be devoted to poetry readings. 

Detailed information will be distributed to all KF Philadelphia Chapter members shortly.
From the Academy
 Polish Scientists 

This column is devoted to the accomplishments and life stories of eminent scholars of Polish origin and ancestry who have achieved recognition in the USA.

High Honors for Lehigh’s Professor Wojciech Misiołek.

Lehigh University’s Materials Science and Engineering Chair and Director of Loewy Institute was honored for work in engineering science in his native Poland. Prof. Misiołek received the prestigious title of Professor from Polish President Andrzej Duda during a ceremony in Warsaw last month. Wojciech Misiolek M.S., Sc.D and  Pawel Stankiewicz M.D., Ph.D. of Texas' Baylor College of Medicine are the only two professors currently teaching in United States to be so honored.
Prof. Misiołek is an internationally recognized leader in the field of structural materials, their forming and  processing. His research is focused on development of industrial technologies and understanding of microstructure evolution in different materials during their processing. He served as co-director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Aluminum Processing Program, an international industrial consortium performing pre-competitive interdisciplinary research that focused mainly on the aluminum extrusion process from 1992 to 1997.
During over 30 years of independent research Prof. Misiołek has contributed over 300 publications (journal peer reviewed and conference papers as well as book chapters) to the research literature and had given over five hundred lectures including workshops and short courses at international and national symposia and at research centers in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and Middle East. 
 Prof. Misiołek collaborates with several research institutions around the world and is a recipient of numerous international awards. He is also a Fellow of American Society for Materials International, class of 2005 and Honorary Member of Polonia Technica and Fellow of the Kościuszko Foundation Collegium of Eminent Scientists, New York, NY, since 2016

Prof. Misiołek completed his MS degree in Metallurgy followed by Sc. D. degree at the AGH, the University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland, the institution at which he continued his research as an Assistant Professor. After coming to the US in 1987, as a Visiting Scientist and a Kościuszko Fellow at the Lehigh University, prof. Misiołek remained affiliated with this institution until today with nine years break (1988 – 1997) while he was affiliated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
Did You Know?
The White Eagle - Polish National Coat of Arms

The Polish coat-of-arms consisting of a crowned white eagle on a red background is one of the oldest coats-of-arms in the world. It dates back seven centuries and is associated with many historic traditions and legends.

The most popular legend involves the three brothers, Lech, Czech and Ruś. Over a thousand years ago these leaders of their Slavic tribes set out together to find new territories where they could settle. Each of them founded settlements and their names give clues as to what nations they established. Czech became the founder of Czechy (today's Czech Republic), Ruś who went east established Ruś- Ruthenia (the land of Ukrainians and Belarusians) and Lech, who wandered further north founded the Polish nation (Poland- known as Lechia or Lechistan).

While Lech was wandering through northeastern Europe, he saw a large, white eagle riding the air currents. He and his tribe followed the bird which landed on a nest in a large oak tree. Looking at the eagle against the sunset inspired Lech to conclude that it was a good omen and declared to his Lechitians that this would be the place of their permanent settlement which they would call Gniezno (old Polish for nest), and that the white eagle would be its symbol. Gniezno, about 30 miles east of Poznań became an important fortress and capital city in Polish history and today is a town of over 70,000 inhabitants.

 Eagles on coats of arms appeared widely in the 13th century, the bird having important symbolic value. The eagle symbolized acumen, courage, strength and immortality, but was also considered "king of the skies" and messenger of the highest gods. With these attributed qualities the eagle became a symbol of power and strength in Ancient Rome. Mythologically, it was also connected to the Greek god, Zeus, the Romans god, Jupiter, and the Germanic god, Odin. In Christian art it is associated with Saint John the Evangelist.

 In the thirteenth century Przemysł II, duke of Wielkopolska, assumed the crown of Poland in Gniezno, and brought about the unification of the country. During his rein he introduced the white eagle as his personal emblem and dignified it with a golden crown, golden beak, and golden claws. In November 1705 August Mocny (Augustus II, the Strong) officially instituted the crowned white eagle on red background as Poland’s coat of arms. The white is thought to symbolize peace and the red background symbolizes Polish blood spilled over the centuries.
 Questions arise over the presence of the crown on the head of the eagle which appeared even when Poland was a republic. This may be explained historically in that Poland before the 18th Century partitions was in effect an elective monarchy. The Polish monarchy was known as the 'Rzeczpospolita Polska', or 'Polish Republic', the official name of the country since 1919 with the exception of the Communist period.

 At the end of the 18th century Poland lost its independence when it was partitioned in three stages by Russia, Prussia, and Austria in 1772, 1793 and 1795. The use of the white eagle was forbidden during the partition years but it was revived during the insurrections of 1830 and 1863.

The present white eagle was introduced by constitutional amendment as the official state symbol in 1927 after Poland regained its independence following World War I. But during World War II, the German and Russian occupiers of Poland forbade the portrayal of the white eagle symbol, and the coat-of-arms went “underground” becoming the symbol of the nation's struggle for independence. It was used by the Polish Underground Army and by the Polish Government and Armed Forces in Exile.

         In 1945, the Soviet communist regime removed the crown from the Eagle's head. Following the downfall of the communists, the Polish Sejm voted to replace the crown in 1990 and the current version is basically the same as that of 1927, with minor cosmetic changes.

Contributions From Our Readers - THANK YOU!!!
Jagiellonian Summer
by Mrs. Barbara Nowicki 

In July 2016, I had the pleasure of attending the 3-week intense Polish language immersion program at the Jagellonian University in Kraków, Poland. It was a phenomenal opportunity!
As you read this you may be wondering what a 64 year old was doing in this university program. Although I had learned to read and write Polish at an early age, my opportunities at using the language were limited. So I was not really fluent and I wanted to polish my language skills.
People from around the world attended. There were over 400 participants representing 35 different countries. While most participants were college students, there were people even older than I in the program.  For example, there was a gentleman from Sweden who was 77 years old. The diversity of ages and nationalities was invigorating. People’s reasons for attending were very interesting and ranged from some people intending to remain in Poland to young people taking the course of study for college credit.                              
 After taking a placement exam and having an interview, all students were assigned to groups of 10-12. I have to admit that I cried when I saw that I was in a beginner class, but at least it was not the most basic section.  The classes were difficult, if not sometimes exhausting.  Every day my group spent from 9:00 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. in class. Class work was demanding, and after the first couple of days, the professors almost totally conducted classes in Polish, but we could ask questions in English. They used a “tag team” approach with professors alternating classes.  They used many different and ingenious props, such as pictures, toys, and recordings, and they assigned homework at varying intervals. We also were given mid-term, final examinations and grades, all of which was necessary in that many students were taking the course for college credit.
 Beyond the language classroom experience, the university provided new learning opportunities every day of the program. Activities were extremely well planned, well organized, and fun! Students could create their own schedules, and choose which classes they wanted to attend. Some of the classes were in English and some in Polish and they spanned such topics as literature and history.
Every night the university provided an activity after dinner. On Mondays we had pronunciation practice sessions. On other nights we attended a Christmas celebration, a wedding, movies, and karaoke. We laughed and had a great deal of fun. In addition our weekends were packed. Students had the opportunity to go to Wieliczka Salt Mines, Auschwitz, Zakopane & the Dunajec River and even more.  Fees for all of these trips were included in our costs.
 At first, I was not sure I had learned a great deal because the pace did not allow for much reflection. It seemed that we focused on one set of topics, and in a day or two we would move on. But when I came home, I began gradually to appreciate that I had learned much more than I realized. I might not always remember the exact vocabulary word or ending for the feminine genitive, but I had a greater awareness of resources which I can access and that will be invaluable to my continued efforts to learn the language.
I cannot praise this program enough. Although it presented challenges, such as living in a hot student dorm without benefit of air conditioning, I would not trade my experience for anything. If you are considering this program, I highly recommend that you go. You will not be sorry. And you are never too old.

Photo: Myself and Director Dr. Piotr Horbatowski

The Polish People's University 
by Dr. Janusz Romański

The Polish People's University in Philadelphia is a volunteer organization associated with the Polish American Congress. Its cultural and educational achievements for Polonia date back to 1918. The University’s goal is to introduce and promote Polish culture and traditions, as well as to educate Americans of Polish descent about contemporary Poland. The University has placed a great emphasis on maintaining and preserving the beauty of the Polish language since its inception, and most of the lectures and readings are in Polish.
 The lectures encompass a diverse topics and these are published yearly in the "University's Bulletin". Many of the subjects and topics from past years have been collected and printed in a commemorative publication: "Memoirs - Program of Lectures of Polish People's University". The publication was created to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the University, and it also includes the brief history of the institution.
A social hour follows the lectures during which informal discussions with the speaker take place and where attendees have an opportunity to exchange questions and opinions in Polish and English. Many distinguished representatives from Polonia's political, cultural spheres and arenas including academics, clergy, representatives of Polish government, diplomats,  physicians, engineers, and artists have made presentations at the University.
The Board of the University would like to continue serving the Polish American community with this form of activity. Any suggestions, help, and volunteers are greatly appreciated. Financial contributions are especially needed, as lectures are underwritten by the voluntary donations of its members.

Membership is open to all who are interested in Polish culture and heritage, and cherish the beauty of the Polish language. The Board of the Polish People's University especially invites, a local Polonia to suggest topics for future lectures, as well as active volunteering to bring planned lectures to fruition, for continuing and keeping the Polish traditions alive.

The Polish People University is preparing celebration of its 100th Anniversary

Join our activities and bring your friends with you. Everyone is very welcome!

Photo: Polish People University Board members from left: Standing: Dr. Janusz Romanski, Dr. Jozef Rzeznik. Sitting: Dr. Malgorzata Romanski, Mgr. Regina Gorzkowska- Rossi, Janina Zagorska (not present)

Proverb Corner
Polish proverbs are short and frequently metaphorical expressions of popular wisdom from all Polish speaking parts of the world. A few examples below are from the collection of Joel Stern.

Czego kobieta chce, tego i Pan Bóg chce
What a woman wants is God's will
Bez pieniędzy nawet umrzeć trudno 
Without money it's even hard to die 

Miłość, śmierć i sraczka przychodzą znienacka
Love, death, and diarrhea come unexpectedly 
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 small article for our newsletter on any subject related to Polish culture. Send contributions to:
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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 welcome you.

The KF Philadelphia Chapter Board
Yolanta Roman

Miron Wolnicki
1st Vice President

Peter Obst
2nd Vice President

Wanda Mohr
Recording Secretary

Vincent Rospond
Corresponding Secretary

Marcia Wolnicki
Board Members:

Ela Bochenek
Monica Polowy-Winter
Charles Pydych
Kris Walski
Maria Werner-Wasik
Hanna Wewiora
Teresa Wojcik
Margaret Zaleska
Andre Zlotnicki

Quo Vadis Editors:
Wanda Mohr
Margaret Zaleska
Copyright © 2017 The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter, All rights reserved.

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