From the Editor’s Desk
You are receiving the Christmas issue of the “Polish Weekly.” The next one will come out in the New Year, on January 11, 2017.
I would like to, first, extend our warm welcome to the new readers, who joined the group of our subscribers. That is the best way to stay assured that the paper will always be at your home.
We are happy that our readership increases, but also concerned to see fewer advertisers. Without the advertisers, it is impossible to maintain an ethnic magazine.
In the history of our Polonia community, newspapers and magazines have played a major role in maintenance and promotion of culture and language of the homeland. Besides the informative role, The Polish Weekly has been essential in fulfilling those didactic tasks for over 110 years.
The first issue of “The Dziennik Polski” (now “The Polish Weekly”) appeared in March of 1904 and was the first ethnic newspaper of metropolitan Detroit. Among the first editors, we can trace W. Halicki, B.M. Zieliński, Joseph Karasiewicz, Franciszek Barc, W. Barr, Stanislaus Trojanowski, M. Gmernicki, Artur Waldo, J. Ostrowski, and from 1960 until 1988,Stanley Krajewski.
During the Great Depression, the editor went bankrupt, but the rights of ownership had been already acquired by the wife of the manager of the “Dziennik Polski,” Franciszek Januszewski. That is how he became the editor and publisher of the paper.
Christmas and the end of year are always good opportunities to reflect on the time passed and to think about what we wish for the future. I believe this is the time to recall some of the original creators of the “Dziennik Polski,” who were Poles deeply involved in the cultivation of the Polish culture, active members of the social and political life. I was privileged to meet with one of them, Mr. Stanley Krajewski. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a lengthier conversation with him and being able to share with you some of the interesting facts from our paper’s past.
One of the known journalist and activist was Frank Januszewski. He arrived in Detroit in 1912 and hired in with the “Dziennik Polski.” During the first World War he was a staunch supporter of the Polish National Defense Committee. During the following years of his journalistic work he took up several important projects and offices; became the leader of the Polish language press and ranked in the top positions within “The Polish Publishers and Editors Guild of the United States.”
In 1939, Januszewski was an important voice of Polonia’s political stance on behalf of Poland. In 1942, he and a friend, Maximilian Węgrzynek, publisher of the “Nowy Dziennik” in New York, played a key role in formation of the National Committee of the Americans of Polish Descent, of which the role it was to pursue the interests of Poland in America. In 1944, both of these journalists work with Charles Rozmarek, in formation of the Polish American Congress. His views were clearly expressed as Republican. His outlook was anti-Russian and he played an important role in influencing Michigan Senator Arthur Vanderberg. Vanderberg was among the first to address in the Senate the Russian expansion in Poland. Along with Maximilian Węgrzynek he was active in the creation of the Piłsudski Institute in New York. Januszewski became its first president.
I also want to mention an extraordinary figure in the history of American Polonia, journalist of the “Dziennik Polski,” Artur Leonard Waldo. He was the editor of the “Dziennik” in Detroit since 1924, and editor of “Weteran”, the press arm of the Polish Army Veterans (SWAP). Waldo organized the Committee of J. Piłsudski in Detroit, with the purpose of establishing and maintaining ties with the elites of the Polish intelligentsia, and the exchange of information. He was the president of this Committee, and organized a series of lectures and academic panels in the local university as well as in the Polish societies and organizations. In 1928, he organized the Society of Friends of Polish Book in Detroit. It was upon his requests that the bookstore “Ludowa Księgarnia” of Jana Żukowskiego z Detroit began to import from Poland books on history, literature, and technology, as well as albums in Polish and Polish schoolbooks; devotionals and hymnals. Reasonable prices contributed to the fact that the Friends of Polish Book chapters throughout American ordered materials from that very place.
In February of 1928, he was elected chair of the Board of the Federation of Polish College Students. He ran a radio broadcast in Detroit, devoted to Polish music, religious and classical song. The broadcast was sponsored by the “Dziennik Polski.” He also studied journalism at the University of Michigan. In 1929, he started the work of organizing Polish schools, which were helping with education of the youth studying in the public schools. Waldo also initiated the first board of the Saturday Polish School in Detroit. While with the “Dziennik Polski,” he created The Polish National Alliance (PNA). Since 1930, he was the secretary of the Polish Pen Club in Detroit. Its members consisted of young journalists, poets and writers from different parts of the country. During its meetings, discussions were held on new writers’ debuts and selected texts were printed in the Polonia press. Waldo also made possible the issuance of a postal stamp featuring Kazimierz Pulaski. It topped the records of circulation and was reprinted several times. In 1934, with the efforts of Waldo, the U.S. Postal Services issued a stamp featuring Tadeusz Kościuszko. In May of 1939, Waldo took the position of adviser on Polish-American affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. World War II broke out while he was in Lvov. Since he was a U.S. citizen, thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, he was able to obtain soviet visas allowing some two hundred U.S. citizens of Polish, Jewish and Ukrainian descent to safely depart. He returned to the United States on March 15, 1940.
I have already written in earlier issues of “The Polish Weekly” about Stanisław Krajewski. Remembering these fine figures, former journalists and editors of the “Dziennik Polski”, should remind you just how great the efforts to support the Polish culture in Detroit and in America used to be.
Soon Advent will be over and Christmas is right around the corner.
As an adult I have thought, what could I take along with me on this year’s journey to Bethlehem? Should I take all of the problems and tribulations?
Jesus is being born there, in Bethlehem. I await Him with joy so I will take with me the joy of living, the joy of meeting another human being, the joy which publishing this issue of “The Polish Weekly”, the heir of the “Dziennik Polski”, has given me.
In my journey to Bethlehem I will forget about the fatigue, about the problems and constant climbing up the hills which are such a big part of my life, both personal and professional.
The overcoming of difficulties and publishing of yet another issue of our “The Polish Weekly” is what gives joy that conquers any fatigue and problem.
In fact, I refer to each published issue of our paper as a “miracle”, for we work in a very tough market, with constant shortage of finances which would assure that the next issue will come out.
And so, it is this daily joy of small achievements that I will take with me this year to Bethlehem.
I wish for everyone, that the upcoming remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ become the joy and the illumination of the discovery of God’s existence.