21 January 2018
Dr Jarosław Szarek and the IPN delegation participated in a holy mass at the Holy Trinity Church. Polish community members, scouts and representatives of Polish schools participated in this unique ceremony. Polish consuls, Paweł Janicki and Piotr Semeniuk, a representative of the National Armed Forces, as well as reconstruction groups and members of the Polish Teachers Association in America, who invited the IPN delegation to Chicago, were also present. After the mass President Jaroslaw Szarek deposited the soil from lot “Ł” of the Powązki Military Cemetary in Warsaw in the church catacombs. After laying flowers and lighting candles, the IPN delegation together with the President met members of the Polish community.
The meeting began with the animated film The Unconquered, which aroused great enthusiasm in Chicago. The President of the IPN thanked the hosts for the invitation to Chicago, noting that he feels at home here. He asked Poles living in Chicago to cherish the soil in the catacombs, because it is a relic, a reminiscent in this ever-free city, that Poland cannot be killed. This is what lot “Ł” at the Powazkowski Cemetery is about, where heroes fighting for the freedom of their homeland were buried secretly in oblivion. The President thanked pupils of the Polish schools and their teachers who make the Polsih identity last, as well as scouts, veterans, and the clergy. He remarked that the place where Paderewski and the boys from the Haller army were once photographed, today gathers a new generation. Dr Szarek also sent his thanks to educators from the National Education Office of the Institute of National Remembrance – thanks to their work pupils from Polish schools deepened their knowledge. The ceremony was accompanied by the exhibition "Not only 303", which aroused great interest among the guests.
In the afternoon, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance met with the mayor of the city of Niles Andrew Przybyllo, whom he thanked for supporting the initiative to give one of the streets in this city the name of General Anders. He also went to the Saint Adalbert cemetery in Niles, where he laid flowers at the monument honouring American soldiers of Polish descent killed in the battles of the First World War and the soldiers of the General Haller Army. The monument was raised in 1928 thanks to the Polish-American Gold Star Fathers’ and Mothers’ Association. In the plinth of the monument, under the memorial plaque, names of the soldiers of the infantry and the navy are inscribed. The President of the IPN also laid flowers at the Katyn monument (by Polish sculptor Wojciech Seweryn) and at the Smolensk plaque and the tomb of Agnieszka Wisła, one of 42 women, volonteers from the Unites States, who in 1918-1921 as nurses of the Polish White Cross took care of the wounded soldiers at military hospitals in France and Poland . In 1922 Agnieszka Wisła set up the Veterans Assistance Committee. Finally, President Szarek laid flowers at the tomb of the Polish Soldier in the veterans’ quarter of the Maryhill Cemetery in Niles.
20 January 2018
During the visit to Chicago, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance Dr Jarosław Szarek - together with the Institute delegation - visited the headquarters of the Polish Army Veterans Association (SWAP), where he presented, among others, an album published by the IPN, devoted to the legendary commander of the Blue Army - General Józef Haller. SWAP is the oldest Polish veteran organisation in the world, operating continuously since 1921. In 2017 the Association was honored by the IPN with the title of Custodian of National Memory.
The President of the Institute of National Remembrance together with the Institute delegation visited the House of Scouts in Niles near Chicago, where he met the instructors and young scouts.
The representatives of the Institute were also hosted by Fr. Zdzisław Torba, parish priest of St. Ferdinand parish. The agenda also included a meeting with Krystyna Kołacińska, participant of the Warsaw Uprising, widow of the Cpt. Władysława Kołaciński alias "Żbik", officer of the National Military Organization and the National Armed Forces, commander of of the Świętokrzyska Brigade.
19 January 2018
On 19 January the IPN delegation headed by dr. Jarosław Szarek met with Polonia in House of Podhalans. - We have opened our History Point in Chicago, we would like our employees - educators to be present in this city every quarter. We need the young generation to know our history. We have come in a special year, that is, the hundredth anniversary of Poland’s regaining independence and the 40th anniversary of our compatriot’s election as Pope - said the President of the Institute of National Remembrance during the meeting. Dr Jarosław Szarek presented the structure of the Institute and its statutory tasks. Dr Mariusz Żuławnik, Deputy Director of the Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance, talked about the work of the Archive. He presented two projects conducted by the Archive: the Center for Information on the Victims of World War II, both German and Soviet, operating for 4 years now, and a project operating since mid-2017 – the Archive Full of Remembrance. The Director of the National Education Office Adam Hlebowicz talked about 400 exhibitions that the Institute of National Remembrance had prepared during its activity. He announced that on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Independence, the Institute, is preparing an exhibition on Independent Poland, the opening of which will take place in May this year. Director Hlebowicz also talked about the exhibition devoted to “Żegota” council of Aid to Jews prepared in December last year. During the meeting, the publication Association of Polish Veterans in the United States in 1953-1990 was presented by dr hab. Piotr Kardela, Director of the Białystok branch of the Institute of National Remembrance. The meeting was attended by the vice-consul of the Polish Consulate Piotr Semeniuk. The IPN delegation also gave an interview to the Radio of Związek Podhalan.
18 January 2018
On 18 January the Institute of National Remembrance and the Association of Polish Teachers in America inaugurated in Chicago a series of meetings "The IPN History Point ". The idea of "points" is the idea of places where one talks about history – discusses historical films and books, where you can view an exhibition, participate in workshops or meet with a witness to history. At the inauguration at the headquarters of the Polish Consulate in Chicago, the Institute's delegation with President Jarosław Szarek, president of the Association of Polish Teachers in America Ewa Koch and the Polish community members were present. The coordinators of the project were: Helena Sołtys, Vice-President of the Association of Polish Teachers in America, and Marek Adamczyk, a Polish teacher.
- The IPN has been present in schools in Chicago for a long time, sending its materials here - reminded the President of the IPN. - And now employees of the National Education Office of the IPN will come every 3-4 months to Chicago (and to New York, where since June 2017 also a similar educational institution of the Institute of National Remembrance has been operating) to meet Polish youth who live here on American soil. We want the youngest generation to know the history of Poland and be proud of their identity - he stressed.
During the meeting, the Director of the National Education Office of IPN Adam Hlebowicz presented the rich educational offer of his office. The office employees have conducted numerous workshops for students and teachers in Chicago. Rafał Pękała, head of the Multidimensional Notation and Drafting Department, presented the worldwide animation The Unconquered.
The Director of the IPN Archive Marzena Kruk talked about the project Archive Full of Remembrance, which is intended to encourage private individuals, including those living outside of Poland, to transfer their private collections to the Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance. The collected souvenirs are successively displayed in a special portal of the Archive Full of Remembrance.
A panorama of the central research projects of the Institute of National Remembrance was presented by the head of the IPN Branch in Białystok, Piotr Kardela, discussing one of them - Polish political Emigration 1939-1990. He also presented publications: Association of Polish Veterans in the United States in the years 1953-1990" and Associated Groups of Polish Veterans in the United States 1953-2012, prepared by the Białystok branch of the Institute of National Remembrance, and a study by Witold Bagieński" published as part of the IPN archival research.
17 January 2018
The President of the IPN, Jarosław Szarek and members of the delegation met with the President of the Polish American Congress, Frank Spula, and leaders of Polish diaspora organisations.
The Polish community in Chicago has a rich history. It should be preserved and passed on to future generations. One of the Institute's priorities is to work with young people, because the future depends on them - said the President of the IPN addressing the hosts. - Young people will feel a certain bond with a nation with such a rich history, we have a wide educational offer for them - he added.
For years, the Institute of National Remembrance has been presenting its exhibitions in the United States. The latest exhibition entitled "Fathers of Independence" presents six leaders of the fight for Poland in 1918: Józef Piłsudski, Roman Dmowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Wincenty Witos, Wojciech Korfanty and Ignacy Daszyński. It portrays over two-meter high silhouettes of the politicians with their biographical entries in Polish and English. It also contains a calendar of events concerning the most important stages of the Polish struggle for independence. President Jarosław Szarek expressed the hope that the exhibition will be permanently displayed in the US.
The representatives of the Institute of National Remembrance also talked about the activities of the Institute regarding the "Polish operation" of the NKVD in 1937-1938 and the Polish Righteous who saved Jews during the Second World War. The President of the Institute of National Remembrance stressed the fact that this knowledge should be popularised in the USA. The representatives of the Polish community promised their assistance in this area.
The Polish American Congress was established in 1944. It is a nation-wide federation representing Americans of Polish descent (about 10 million or 3.3 percent of American society in 2010). Both organizations and individuals can become members of the Polish American Congress which includes the Polish National Association, the Polish Roman Catholic Union, the Polish Women's Association in America, the Polish Falconry in America, the Polish Army Veterans Association and the Polish Combatants Association, the American Council for Polish Culture and the National Bar Association. Numerous state and local organizations, parish groups, professional associations and social organisations are also members of the Congress.
In the afternoon the IPN delegation attended a meeting with Josep Drobot, President of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, the oldest Polish Catholic organisation in the USA, established in 1873. The delegation also visited the headquarters of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America in Chicago, the Polish Museum in America and its extensive library. It is the oldest and largest institution of this type on the American continent. The guests from Poland met with the President of the Museum, Ryszard Owsiany and Director Małgorzata Kot.
Also on 17 January in three places in Chicago – at the headquarters of the Polish Teachers Association in America, the Juliusz Słowacki Polish School in Wheeling and in the House of Podhalan-IPN educators carried out a set of workshops for teachers. During the meetings, the Institute's educational offer as well as ways of working with educational publications of the Institute of National Remembrance were presented.
During the classes on Polish national symbols, the participants familiarised themselves with the puzzle "Polak Mały" and the educational project "History in colors". During the workshop on the use of educational games in teaching history, the participants were not only introduced to the game "303", but also learned about the most important events and symbols in the history of Poland thanks to the game "Znajoznak". In the "Katyn Investigation - Work with Artifacts" the class found out which artifacts were discovered in the graves of the victims of the Katyn Massacre and how, it was possible to determine who the victim was. Similar workshops will be conducted on January 20 and 22.
16 January 2018
The IPN delegation visited the editorial board of the Polish Daily News - the oldest Polish-language daily newspaper in the USA and in the world, which has been published continuously since January 15, 1908. The President of IPN, Dr Jarosław Szarek congratulated the editorial board on the 110th anniversary of the newspaper . He reminded the audience that the boys from Jacków (Polish district in Chicago), whose parents came to the city of Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century with hope for a better life, were able to return to their homeland to fight for Poland’s freedom. He also remarked that in the year of the celebration of the 100 anniversary of independence, the IPN would like to put emphasis on the effort of that emigrant generation, present it especially in Poland, where the history of the involvement of Poles in the United States in regaining independence is still not familiar enough. The Polish delegation also visited the archives of the Polish Daily News. The Institute will establish archival cooperation with the newspaper aimed at securing and digitizing the collected documents. At the end of the visit, the President handed the editor-in-chief of the Polish Daily News Małgorzata Błaszczuk a calendar issued by the Institute of National Remembrance to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Polish independence.
Dr Jarosław Szarek also gave an interview to the Polish community Radio Wpna.fm
In the evening, the representatives of the Institute of National Remembrance met with the Polish community at the Jesuit Millennium Center in Chicago. - The history of Poles in Chicago is unusual. What distinguishes us among other nations is persistence in the Latin civilization, faithfulness to its basic values and the love of freedom - said Jarosław Szarek, President of IPN during the meeting. - We are ready to pay the highest price for this freedom (...) we have been sentenced to death so many times, and we have always been able to rise”, he added. He pointed out that today "we must join our efforts to educate the elite for whom Polish issues will be of major importance". - We represent the generations that have lived to see Poland's independence. At the Institute of National Remembrance, we work to ensure that this ‘Polishness’ lasts - he concluded.
- Young Poles in the USA have a thirst for historical knowledge about Poland. What this knowledge will be and whether the ‘Polishness’ will last, depends largely on you - said Dr Jarosław Szarek, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance, addressing the Board of the Polish Teachers Association in America and the directors of Polish schools in Chicago. - Your students are our ambassadors, they create the image of Poland here and in the world - he added. The meeting started off the visit of the representatives of the IPN in the United States
The ceremony of establishing the History Point of the Institute of National Remembrance and signing the cooperation agreement will take place on January 18, 2018 at the headquarters of the Polish Consulate in Chicago. The partner of the project will be the Polish Teachers Association in America. The meeting is going to be accompanied by the presentation of the "Unconquered" animation and a presentation of the educational offer of the IPN’s National Education Office, a presentation of the "Archive Full of Remembrance" project and books entitled "Association of Polish Veterans in the United States in 1953-1990" and “Associated Groups of Polish Veterans in the United States in 1953-2012 prepared by the Białystok branch of the Institute of National Remembrance.
During their stay in Chicago, the members of the IPN delegation headed by the President of the Institute, Dr Jarosław Szarek, will meet representatives of Polish organisations, among others the Polish Teachers Association in America, the Polish National Alliance and the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. The program also includes a meeting with members of the Polish Army Veterans Association. The representatives of the Institute of National Remembrance will also visit places of remembrance related to the history of Poland. On January 21, 2018, after the mass, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance will place soil from lot ”Ł” of the Warsaw Military cemetery in Powązki in the catacombs of the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church.
During the visit there will also be open meetings with the Polonia - at the Millennium Jesuit Center (January 16), at the House of Podhalans (January 19) and at the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church (January 21), where the meeting will be accompanied by the opening of the exhibition "Not only 303".
At the same time, IPN educators will be hosted at polish schools in order to conduct classes on Polish national symbols and selected issues related to the animation of the "Unconquered", Captain Witold Pilecki, Poles saving Jews during World War II and Polish pilots in the Battle of Britain.
On 15 January, at the Tadeusz Kościuszko Polish School in Chicago, the students learned about the history of the 2nd Polish Corps through the prism of the latest game prepared by the IPN entiled "Miś Wojtek". During the workshops the children learned about the fate of Poles sent to the USSR and the Polish Army created there. The students were greatly interested in the story of Wojtek, a bear which accompanied the soldiers of the 2nd Corps.
The educators will also conduct workshops for teachers on the use of IPN games during history classes, "The Katyn Investigation - work with artifacts" and "Around National Symbols".