The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter
Newsletter No.16
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  Quo Vadis 

Newsletter of the KF Philly Chapter  •  December 2018 •  Issue No. 16
In this Issue:


• Christmas Dinner Gala
• The 10th Salon of Polish Culture
• Celebrations of the 100 years of Poland's Independence: 
  • DC Gala
  • Associated Polish Home
  • Polish Heritage Society Polonaise Ball
  • Harrisburg Capitol
• The 11th Polish Culture Salon: February 9, 2019 
• Polish Heritage Society Annual Chopin Concert: March 10, 2019
• Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the PUL: March 17, 2019 

• Paderewski and the Boston Brahmin 
•  100th Anniversary of Polish Women Rights to Vote 

From the President

On behalf of the Kościuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter Board, I am sending you wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy Holidays to all!  May you all enjoy the peace and blessings of the season with family and friends.

Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku !!!

Marcia Geary Wolnicki                                                                        President, Kościuszko Foundation, Philadelphia Chapter. 

Recent Events 
Christmas Dinner Gala on December 9th, 2018
Our Christmas Gala Dinner held at the beautiful Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, PA was a spectacular evening of great company, music, oplatek sharing and carolling with Beata Andrzejewska. Kristof Medyna's jazzy pieces packed the dance floor. The Raffle and a Silent Auction generated lots of interest and many very happy winners. We were delighted to have the support and to share this event with the Ogniwo Polish School, friends from the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia, Polish People's University, the Jagiellonian Law Society, Druch Studio and many, many others. Great start to the Holiday Season!
The 10th Polish Culture Salon Celebrate 100 Years of Polish Independence with an Evening of Poetry and a Piano Recital

On November 11, 2018, our Chapter celebrated the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence at the 10th Salon of Polish Culture. It was an amazing evening hosted by Elizabeth and John Sozanski, featuring Polish poetry after 1918 and a piano recital by Katarzyna Marzec-Salwinski, who played various works of Frederic Chopin and Ignacy Paderewski. A truly memorable evening attended by sixty members of our Chapter! 
Our Chapter Proudly Supported the Following Events Celebrating 100 Years of  Poland's Restoration of Independence:
  • The Kosciuszko Foundation Annual Gala Dinner and Dance Honoring Loretta Swit

An incredible event that took place on December 1, 2018 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. The KF  President Marek Skulimowski and Basia Bernhardt (Washington DC Director) presented Ms. Swit with the 2018 KF Pioneer Award.
Ms. Swit, a well-known American actress, spoke about her stellar career and her upbringing by her Polish parents.  Best known for her portrayal of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H* (1972), for which she won two Emmy Awards, Ms. Swit was nominated for four Golden Globes. She is also a winner of the 1980 and 1982 Primetime Emmy Awards, 1983 People's Choice Award, 1991 Sarah Siddons Award and 2009 Impact Award. She appeared in over 50 films, in numerous Broadway productions, musicals, and TV series.

Alex Storożynski (KF Board Chair) and Ambassador Piotr Wilczek also spoke during the event.

KF Philadelphia sponsored the program. Board members Andre Zlotnicki, Miron Wolnicki, and Marcia Geary Wolnicki, as well as Chapter members Frances and Eric Herr, and Marian Kornilowicz (a KF Board Trustee) were in attendance.

  • Celebration at the Associated Polish Home 
Philadelphia Polonia celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Restoration of Poland's Independence on Sunday December 2, 2018. The celebration started with a mass at St. John Cantius Church, followed by a whole day program at the Associated Polish Home with presentations, lectures and performances by Marcella Kochanska-Sembrich Chorus and PKM Polish Folk Dance Ensemble. 
The speech by Debbie Majka, the Honorary Consul of Poland, was followed by Kamil Henne - Vice Consul of the Republic of Poland, Bogdan Chmielewski - CEO of Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union - event's sponsor and a member of the Philadelphia's City Council Councilman Al Taubenberger. The polonaise dance was led by PKM Polish Folk Dance Ensemble.  Event hosts included  Aneta Antoniak of Komitet Smoleńsko-Katyński and Andrzej Wisniewski - the President of Associated Polish Home. Among the participants were numerous Polonia organizations including members of our KF Philadelphia Chapter.
The photo album of this event is here.
  • The Annual Polonaise Ball of the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia on November 18, 2018
The Annual Polonaise Ball and Banquet was held at the elegant Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, PA.  The Society's  Distinguished Honoree Aleksandra-Ziolkowska-Boehm, Ph.D. (University of Warsaw), is an independent scholar and the author of many books published in her native Poland, United States and Canada. Her books include historical biographies, autobiographical stories and current perspectives of Native Americans. The Ojczyzna Polish Dancers from Baltimore gave a spectacular performance, followed by the guests taking to the dance floor to the music of Rick Gazda Band. All in all a fun and memorable evening!
  • Celebration at the Harrisburg Capitol
         Report by Peter Obst 

On November 14, 2018, a group of Polish-Americans from Philadelphia led by Poland's Honorary Consul Deborah M. Majka, headed for Harrisburg Pennsylvania to take part in the commemoration of Polish Independence Day in the Eastern Rotunda of the state capitol. Among them were Andrzej Wisniewski, President of the Associated Polish Home; Tadeusz Antoniak, Gazeta Polska; Helen Riker, Dorothy Szychulska, Krystyna Cimoch and  Patricia Wisniewska from the Marcella Kochanska-Sembrich Chorus; Teresa Kozlowska, of the Adam Mularczyk Theater; Barbara Nowicka from Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia; Peter Obst from the Poles in America Foundation and Margaret Zaleska from the Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter and the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia. Also present were Marcia Geary Wolnicki, President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation and members of Harrisburg area Polonia, led by Tom Duszak.

The group was invited by Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Mike Stack to witness the reading of an official proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of Polish rebirth. Mateusz Gmura represented the NY RP Consulate. 

The Proclamation was read by the PA Secretary of State Robert Torres. The Lt. Governor's proclamation praised not only the natural beauty of Poland but also mentioned our shared devotion to democracy. Poland is a valuable partner of the United States, and currently ranks 50th among the countries which trade with the US.

Vice-consul Mateusz Gmura received the Proclamation. Also speaking were David Briel, Executive Director, Center of Direct Investment, Department of Community and Economy Development and Thomas Mainzer, Agricultural Trade Specialist, PA Department of Agriculture. At present, the state imports four times as much agricultural products from Poland as is exported to Poland from Pennsylvania.

Wilfred Muskens, Honorary Consul for the Netherlands, represented the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia at this event. RP Honorary Consul Deborah Majka summed up the proceedings by mentioning the shared history between Poland and Pennsylvania. After Secretary Torres' closing statement, the guests tasted Polish desserts and received colorful brochures as a courtesy of the Polish Tourist Office.


February 9, 2019: The 11th Polish Culture Salon: Andrzej Józef Dąbrowski, Polish journalist, writer and theatre director will present: Edith Piaf - Life and Legacy.

March 10, 2019: Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia Annual Chopin Concert will be held at the Settlement School in Germantown. Guest artist will be Wei Luo, who is studying at the Curtis.

March 17, 2019: Polish People's University (PUL) will celebrate its 100th anniversary at the Associated Polish Home in Philadelphia. The article on the history of PUL will appear in the February Issue of Quo Vadis.
Did You Know?
Paderewski and the Boston Brahmin
by Marcia Geary Wolnicki and Miron Wolnicki

Isabella “Belle” Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) was an outspoken female in an era when most women were considered to be largely ornamental in Boston society.  Having married into the Boston Brahmin intellectual “society” with her marriage in 1860 to John Lowell “Jack” Gardner, Belle lived her life with energy and enthusiasm.  She may best be known for her Museum, originally called Fenway Court, which she built to share with the public the treasures from her art collecting on trips all over the world.  Opening with an invitation-only gathering on January 1, 1903, Mrs. Gardner greeted her guests in elegant black silks, wearing her famous string of 149 pearls, a ruby at her throat, and two 12 carat diamonds in her hair.  She had organized a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Fenway Court, as the immense music room she had designed  could hold many musicians as well as attentive listeners.
She was a philanthropist and good friend to many composers, performers, and artists throughout her life.   One of these relationships was with the great pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941).  In 1891, she invited him to play at her palatial home on Beacon Street in Boston.  Regarding her invitation initially as “as stunt so often indulged in by ladies in search of celebrities”* he refused.  Her reaction? She offered him $1000 to play for her alone in her music room on Beacon Street.  He accepted, and although there are rumours that three other close friends were in an adjoining room, hidden away to listen to his performance, the only people in the music room were Paderewski and Gardner.  She was able to convince him to give another concert a few days later, at the well-established New England Conservatory of Music- this time for Boston’s musicians and students of the conservatory only; no tickets were sold.  She underwrote this concert as well.
If you visit the Isabella Steward Gardner museum today, the Yellow Room has a large glass case.  In this case there are letters and autographed photographs from several musical geniuses, including Paderewski, Johann Strauss, Johannes Brahms, and Charles Martin Loefler, among others.   Mrs. Gardner’s friendships and support of many musicians and artists are one of the ways in which she demonstrated her intelligence, independence, curiosity, and love of the arts.  
*The Paderewski Memoirs, by Ignace Paderewski and Marty Lawton, 1938, Scribener’s.
 Interesting Reads 

Poland Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Women Rights to Vote
by Agnieszka Gerwel

Polish women were granted the right to vote and to be elected on 28th of November, 1918, in the same year as Poland gained its independence after 123 years of living under foreign partitions.
“The new Poland ought to be Democratic”, became one of the main ideologies. During the November and February uprisings, while many men had been killed, women undertook more responsibilities, including running estates, managing finances and bringing up children in the spirit of heightened patriotism. This situation contributed to Poland’s regaining its independence. The 1918 Polish law stated "all citizens of the state, irrespective of sex, are voters in elections to the Sejm and all citizens who have the active, electoral right, are eligible for election to the Sejm."
The first women elected to either the Sejm or Senate in 1919 included: Gabriela Balicka, a botanist, Jadwiga Dziubińska, Maria Moczydlowska and Zofia Sokolnicka, politicians, Irena Kosmowska, independence activist, Zofia Moraczewska, a politician and women’s rights activist, Anna Piasecka, politician, activist and an educator and Franciszka Wilczkowiakowa, political and social activist.
Worldwide, New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote in 1893, followed by Australia in 1902. In Europe, Norway was the leader in 1913, closely followed by Denmark and Iceland in 1915. Poland enabled its women to vote in the same year as Great Britain and Germany.
According to the newsmagazine Polityka, even though granting the vote to women was a big step forward and Poland stood ahead of many nations, they still faced many setbacks. Between 1918 - 1939, there were only 5% of women in the Senate and 3% in the Sejm. Poland never had a woman president and only one premier, Hanna Suchocka in the years 1992-3. Women were deemed too sensitive to practice law. If they married a foreigner, they lost Polish nationality, while men were able to marry foreign women without any restrictions. Until 1921, women had very limited rights and had to obey their husbands in everything.
The situation of women in Poland much improved, but the struggle with regard to equal pay, abortion rights, anti-discrimination and better positions in public and private sectors, is still ongoing.
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.
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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
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
Maria Werner-Wasik
Elizabeth Zechenter

Quo Vadis Editors:

Margaret  Zaleska
 & Agnieszka Gerwel

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