History


Great contributions to the defense of Polishness in historically Polish territories, which after regaining independence did not become part of the Second Polish Republic, should be associated with Stanisław Sierakowski. Both he and his wife Helena connected their fates with the Borderlands, Warmia and Mazury, with political, educational and social activities in favor of Poland. Today, it is worth recalling the figures of these wonderful people, who are a bit unjustly forgotten.

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The end of World War I in 1918 brought Europe and the world a whole new political and economic reality. Monarchies have fallen, many nations regained independence, but a new ideological threat has also arisen, which would bring a new war in the near future. That threat was communism and fascism. The borders between countries have shifted or were shaped anew, but the population in most cases stayed where they were. In the new demographic reality, the situation of national minorities, including the Polish minority in Germany and the German minority in Poland, was an important problem to be solved.

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The Polish diaspora in America was very politically active, and so numerous Polish journalists, lawyers, politicians, doctors, Polish priests, nuns and Polish community activists created an efficient pro-Polish lobbying. It was in 1966 that the idea arose for the American Post Office to print a Millennium stamp. The idea was not to be limited only to the Polish circles, but it was probably the first global idea to issue an American postage stamp with the Polish emblem of the Second Polish Republic crowned with a Catholic cross. The graphic design was commissioned to the Polish artist Edmund Lewandowski, born in Milwaukee

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The outbreak of World War I raised great hopes for regaining independence among Poles scattered all over the world. They have been preparing for this historical event since the loss of independence. Each generation has played a part in this struggle, each has made mistakes and has its own vision of the future. However, it can be safely stated that the use of a favorable historical moment was possible thanks to the collaboration of outstanding leaders, their leadership talents, dedication and patriotism and awareness of all social groups.

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JAN FRANCISZEK SMULSKI - an outstanding patriot, champion of the Polish cause towards the US President Wilson, close associate of Jan Ignacy Paderewski and Roman Dmowski, an organizer of financial aid for the reborn Poland, an emigrant initiator of key undertakings for the Independent. Lawyer, journalist, publisher, politician and, very importantly, the first Polish millionaire and banker in Chicago.

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During World War I, the political direction for Polish emigration was simple - Poles should co-operate with the Entente [countries]. After many meetings with government officials, special hopes were placed on the Canadian government, which agreed to accept a group of Falcons into the Toronto military school. On January 1, 1917, 23 candidate officers secretly arrived in Toronto. On May 21, 1917, they received officer ranks. The top five became instructors at the Cadet School in Cambridge Springs.

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On April 15, 1915, the co-founder and the second honorary president, after Sienkiewicz, of the General Rescue Committee in Switzerland, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, came to the United States.

He was welcomed in New York by representatives of the Polish emigration and clergy, including the famous Polish banker, publisher, American and Polish diaspora politician, Jan Franciszek Smulski, who made a very positive impression on Paderewski and was himself fascinated by the personality of the great artist.

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Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the Swedish inventor and founder of the famous Prize by his name, was a rather controversial figure. He was a loner, living in isolation, traveling a lot, never got married, had few friends, and was very distant with his family. Politically conservative, for example, he was against allowing women to vote, and was not particularly liked as a manager. Once he became seriously ill, the only person who visited him was his employee. He lived in hotels and in his laboratories, which is why Victor Hugo called him "the richest vagabond in Europe".

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Stanisław Zwierzchowski was born on April 27, 1880 in Śrem in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), under the Prussian partition. He graduated from gymnasium in his hometown and technical studies in Berlin-Charlottenburg. In 1905. with a mechanical engineering degree, he came to Poznań and did an internship at the Hipolit Cegielski Factory. Following the footsteps of his countrymen, he went to the United States for further studies and quickly found a job as a structural engineer at the Allis Chalmers Co plant in Milwaukee.

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Kuryer Polski was born in hardship and uncertainty, after all, its creator - Michał Kruszka, had already had two unsuccessful publishing attempts behind him. At the beginning of Kuryer's way, Michał was a truly Renaissance figure - the creator and executor of his idea. Soon he was supported in the implementation of his project by two brothers who came from Słabomierz - Józef and Wacław.

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In just a few short years, the south side congregations at St. Stanislaus and St. Hyacinth could not accommodate the growing number of Polish Catholics seeking to worship. Father Gulski decided to divide his St. Hyacinth parish and began efforts to organize a fourth Polish parish in Milwaukee.

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