By Michael A. Szymanski

Of special significance this past week was the visit to Detroit of newly appointed Polish Consul General in Chicago Paulina Kapuścińska. Kapuścińska has only just been appointed to the Chicago post as of this September first.  I consider it both astute of her and productive that, by her visit, she recognizes the importance of Michigan and the metropolitan Detroit area as part of her Consular territory, which includes jurisdiction over 13 Midwestern states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Another significant item this week is the latest “Direct from Orchard Lake with JJ Przewozniak.” In his article, JJ says it’s time to “ramp up our presence in the modern-day plethora of ethnicities in the United States.” This means that the wealth of information over which the Polish Mission presides is not just for Polonia itself to study and cherish. It means we should put it to use in educating the many other ethnicities that make up mainstream America (along with Polonia!). We need to pass our story on to our younger generations, but we also need to share it with those outside Polonia. If you plan to visit exhibitions such as the Righteous Among Nations or Forbidden Art, invite someone who is not Polish or Polish American to join you. Open their eyes. I am still frequently frustrated by the fact that so few outside of Polonia realize that tens of thousands of non-Jewish Poles were exterminated in the Nazi Death camps before the Nazis got started on the “Final Solution,” and that the heroic role of so many Poles in defying the Nazis to help their Jewish neighbors is so little known.

Among the news from Poland there is an item that relates to telling our Polish story in the form of a major motion picture in the works about the Battle of Vienna in 1683. In addition to a number of prominent Polish actors who are involved, “…Hollywood legend F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, Scarface) plays the central role of Marco d’Aviano, a Capuchin friar who was an advisor at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I in Vienna.” Hopefully an English language version of this film, described as a historical epic, will make the rounds and appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers outside Polonia.

And there’s more. After the Item on the Battle of Vienna-based film, we read there is a new Documentary film about Polish and American war hero General Tadeusz Kosciuszko. It was recently screened at the 2nd International Congress of Polish History in Krakow and includes reconstructions of Kosciuszko’s most noted battles. Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Storozynski, current president of the US-based Kosciuszko Foundation, has been involved in making the film a reality. I think it’s about time for another Polish Film Festival.



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