The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter
Newsletter No.21
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  Quo Vadis 

Newsletter of the KF Philly Chapter  •  December 2019 •  Issue No. 21


Dear Members and Friends,


Wishing you and your families all the happiness of the Season. We hope that your Holidays shine with joy and good cheer. As we look back on 2019, we are grateful for your continued friendship and the memories you helped us create. Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year to you and your loved ones from the KF Philly Chapter Family.

In this Issue:

• Christmas Gala
• 25th Anniversary of Philadelphia Chapter
• Pulaski Parade 
• Toruń Student's visit
 • "The Volunteer"
• United Way Campaign

• Polish Culture Salons:
      February 8, 2020 & March 28, 2020
• PUL lectures 
      January 12, 2020 & February 9, 2020 
• Polish Heritage Society Annual Chopin Concert, March 22, 2020

• Józef Piłsudski: Hero of Poland by Dr. Antoni Lenkiewicz

Recent Events

Christmas Gala 

This year's Christmas Gala was organized by the Kościuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter and Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia at the elegant Spring Mill Manor, Ivyland, PA.


It was a memorable evening filled with a great music performance by Krystof Medyna, dancing, sharing of the opłatek, caroling, raffle and the silent auction. Guests represented several Polish organizations including Polish School "Ogniwo", Jagiellonian Law Society, Associated Polish Home, Polish People's University, the A. Mularczyk Drama Theatre and Polish Folk Ensemble PKM.

Thank you and looking forward to seeing you next year!
Photos: [1] and [2] Guests in the ballroom, [3] Silent auction, [4] Hanna Wewiora (the KF Philadelphia Chapter Treasurer and the Chairwoman of the Gala Organizing Committee) and Jean Joka (President of the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia) welcoming the Gala guests.

Celebration of our Chapter's 25th Anniversary  

Commemorating the important milestone and the centennial of the Polish-American relations, as the United States officially recognized the newly re-born Poland in early 1919, we held special public lectures on Polish and American Constitutions. Lectures took place at the Museum of the American Revolution on October 27th, 2019. Presenters included: Elizabeth M. Zechenter,  J.D. Ph.D. (Board member of the Philadelphia Chapter and the President of Jagiellonian Law Society (JLS) and Marian A. Korniłowicz  Esq. (Trustee of the Kosciuszko Foundation and Vice-president of JLS).

Lectures were both captivating and educational. The United States was the first country in the world to adopt a modern, written constitution and Poland was the first European country to do so (with France being the third one). Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, and the American Constitution of 1787, have many shared values and ideals. Both are examples of successful modern constitutions that implemented the ideals of Enlightenment, such as separation of power, checks, and balances and effective judicial review, while also providing human and civil rights for their constituents. Both were successfully grounded in local legal traditions. While it is generally known that American Constitution was based on British parliamentary traditions, Poland's long-standing liberal, legal and political traditions, including extensive protection of human rights and religious freedoms, were introduced much earlier than in any other European country. Moreover, Poland had developed parliamentary traditions, an effective court, a judiciary system and was politically innovative. Poland introduced elective monarchy while the rest of Europe was ruled by absolute monarchs. The latter, while progressive, enabled maneuvers by Poland's enemies, resulting in partitions of the country lasting a total of 123 years. The lecture discussed the two constitutions in great detail.

Special thanks go to the Chapter's founders who honored us with their presence and willingness to share chapter's history dating back to the initial meeting in 1994. As we continue to celebrate throughout the year, look for a Special Issue of Quo Vadis in June!

Snapshots of this enjoyable evening are featured below:

Our Chapter founders in attendance: From left: Elżbieta Bochenek, Peter Obst, Jolanta Roman, Romuald Roman, Monica Polowy-Winter and Andre Złotnicki  
Photos: [1] Sylwia Czajkowska, President of the KF Philadelphia Chapter delivering opening remarks, our speakers: [2] Elizabeth Zechenter, [3] Marian Korniłowicz, [4] Board members of the KF Philadelphia Chapter with guest founders

Philadelphia Pulaski Parade

The Philadelphia Area Pulaski Day Parade and Polish American Heritage Month Celebration took place on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

This year's Pulaski Day Parade highlighted “Firsts in Polish History”, and the 400th Anniversary of the First Strike in America by the Polish settlers at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. The earliest Polish settlers came to America twelve years before the Pilgrims. The settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in October 1608. They were craftsmen invited by Captain John Smith who arrived to establish a glass industry in the Jamestown Colony. They opened a glassblowing shop, the earliest American factory, whose products were the first commercial items to be exported from America to Europe.  In 1619, after being denied participation in the new Virginia Assembly, Polish settlers staged the first labor strike in America. Recognized for their vital role in the Jamestown settlement, Poles were granted the same voting privileges as those enjoyed by the English.

Thank you to all participants of the Pulaski Parade! We were honored to represent the Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation and march with many local Polish organizations!

Polish High School from Toruń visits the Kościuszko House 

The Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia has been hosting the Sister City student exchange program for many years. Students from Toruń’s Tadeusz Kościuszko High School came to Philadelphia in October 2019.

Citizen Diplomacy International organized a program for their sightseeing, which included a visit to the Kosciuszko House on Pine Street.  Students were hosted by Yolanta Roman, the former president of our Chapter. 

Lecture by the Author of "The Volunteer"

The evening with Jack Fairweather, proudly co-sponsored by our Chapter, was a memorable experience. Mr. Fairweather, a British journalist, Washington Post war correspondent and a writer, spent three years traveling back and forth to Poland and other countries, meticulously researching the remarkable life of an all-forgotten Polish war hero Witold Pilecki. At times breathtaking presentation, told the incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter’s infiltration into Auschwitz, sabotaging the camp from within, and his death-defying attempt to warn the Allies about the Nazis’ plans for the “Final Solution".  "The Volunteer" has been shortlisted for the 2019 Costa Book award in the Biography and Memoir category.

 The presentation, hosted by the Associated Polish Home, was well attended with long lines awaiting the book signing by the author. Following Mr. Fairweather's talk, our board member and the President of the Jagiellonian Law Society, Elizabeth Zechenter, presented a brief summary of an unknown and fascinating story on her family's role in Pilecki 's hiding after his escape from Auschwitz. 

Link to that story published in a special issue of Quo Vadis is here.



United Way Campaign

We are excited to let you know that The Kosciuszko Foundation is participating in the United Way Campaign!

We worked hard to add our non-profit organization to the list of United Way partners because just like them, we focus on giving back to our community. Their primary emphasis is to help create a better future through education, establishing career pathways, and discovering new learning opportunities.
Kosciuszko Foundation is appealing to the community and the world to help us build a better future and to improve lives. We believe that KF's mission perfectly matches the United Way goals – “We’re fighting to shift the odds so tomorrow’s leaders can build a better foundation today”.

If you intend to contribute to the 2020 United Way campaign through your employer, please consider donating to the Kosciuszko Foundation. You can search the ePledge system and find the Kosciuszko Foundation on public website: 
Our donor code is 54825 or you can simply search for the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Many thanks in advance for your continued generosity!

Gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please retain the receipt for your records. 

Future Events 

Polish Culture Salons

Save the dates for the two upcoming salons!

On February 8, 2020, Hania and Mirosław Wewiora will host Janusz Smulski - jazzman, pianist, composer, arranger, songwriter and performer, the key musician of the Trenton "Odlot" cabaret.  Mr. Smulski will present: 
"The Influence of an Unruly Jazz on my Slavic Imagination"

On March 28, 2020, Maria Werner-Wasik and Mariusz Wasik will host 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"

Kindly watch your email for the eVITE invitations!

PUL Lectures

The next two lectures at the Polish People's University include:

 January 12, 2020, at 3 PM: Richard Brzozowski, an engineer, will talk about "Polish-American Museum in Fort Washington, NY- Its Profile and History"  (in English)

February 9, 2020 at 3 PM: Dr. Miron Wolnicki, Professor of Economy at the Villanova University, will  present:"Ekonomia i Polityka Przyszłości: Jak Może Wyglądać Świat za 50 Lat"

Lectures are held at the Associated Polish Home, 9150 Academy Road, Philadelphia, PA 19114 and are free to the public. Everyone is invited!

Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia Annual Chopin Concert    

The 2020 Annual Chopin Concert will take place on March 22  at the Settlement Music School in Germantown.

Mr. Martin Labazevitch will be the guest pianist. Mr. Labazevitch was born in Poland and studied at the Odesa Conservatory in Ukraine, before immigrating to the United States and obtaining a scholarship to study at the Manhattan School of Music.  Currently, he is pursuing his doctoral studies with Jose Ramos Santana in Washington DC. Mr. Labazevitch performed in many prestigious concert halls in Europe, the United States, and Japan.  He is also a Founder and the Artistic Director of the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition and Chopin Piano Academy in Washington D.C.

More information will be forthcoming from the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia.

Book Review  

New  biography "Józef Piłsudski: Hero of Poland"  by Dr. Antoni Lenkiewicz

Translation by Peter J. Obst

Just off the presses is a translation of Dr. Antoni Lenkiewicz's  biography of Józef Piłsudski. The translator is Peter J. Obst - the KF Philadelphia Chapter Board member and a known activist on behalf of several Polonia organizations. Publisher Vincent Rospond of Winged Hussar ( calls the 296 page book "Piłsudski Light" in opposition to the voluminous (and dry) works produced in the past. Available through Amazon. 

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 warmly welcome you!

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

Margaret Zaleska 
Vice President

Peter Obst
Vice President

Hanna Wewiora 

Ela Gosek


Bozena Korczak
Maria Werner -Wasik
Elizabeth Zechenter
Andre Zlotnicki

Quo Vadis Editors:

Margaret Zaleska
Agnieszka Gerwel

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

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The Kosciuszko Foundation Philadelphia Chapter · 15 E 65th Street · New York, NY 10065 · USA

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