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April 2017



Polish prosecutors are seeking the arrest of a 98-year-old Minnesota resident, who they believe served as a Nazi commander during World War II.

The Warsaw-based Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a government-affiliated organization, which investigates crimes against Poles during and after the war, has identified “Michael K.” a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion. Prosecutor Robert Janicki did not release the last name, in line with Poland’s privacy laws, but the AP has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.

“All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is Michael K., who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region,” Janicki said.

The decision in Poland comes four years after the AP published a story establishing Karkoc commanded the unit. His family has repeatedly denied he was involved in any war crimes and his son questioned the validity of the evidence against him after Poland’s announcement.

EU MAY REINSTATE VISAS FOR AMERICANS (NPR). Saying that the United States still requires citizens of five EU member nations to obtain an entry visa, the European Union’s Parliament approved a measure calling for the EU Commission to urge full visa reciprocity — and reinstate visa requirements for Americans who want to visit Europe.

Washington currently requires citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to obtain visas before visiting. The EU Parliament’s move sets a two-month deadline for the EU Commission to act if the United States doesn’t change its policy — but the Commission says it may not respond until this summer, according to Reuters.

If it is reintroduced, the visa requirement would be temporary, the EU says.

PENDERECKI DENIES ALLEGATIONS. Lawyers for the distinguished Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki issued a statement in response to a website report that the musician had been “used operationally” on “frequent trips abroad” by the Communist state intelligence services. The website claimed to have obtained secret files to this effect.

Penderecki, in a statement to the Polish news agency, PAP, said he had no knowledge of any such documents.

The website, Niezalezna, wrote that a recently-discovered document signed by a high ranking intelligence officer during Poland’s communist occupation implicated Penderecki.

Penderecki is one of Poland’s most famous musical composers, and recently won a Grammy award. Other people who have been accused of being collaborators include former president Lech Wałęsa, who also denied he ever provided intelligence to the then-authorities.

DRONE PILOT DETAINED. A Latvian national was detained in Poland after flying a drone over the Belweder presidential residence in Warsaw, said the Polish Government Protection Bureau (BOR). The unmanned aerial vehicle was spotted by the BOR employees at around midday. The staff started to look for a drone operator, eventually finding and detaining him in the nearby park.

“The operator turned out to be a Latvian citizen who was operating the drone remotely in the company of two women with Russian citizenship,” the bureau said.

The bureau added that it was preparing a protocol to hand the Latvian over to the police. The Polish Internal Security Agency has also been informed of the incident.

The statement did not mention whether the two Russian nationals had also been detained.

Although Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has an office at Belweder, the historic palace is usually used today for ceremonial occasions and for providing accommodations for visiting heads of state. Construction of the palace began in 1660.


SILVER SPRING — Polonian men at Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish in this Washington, D.C. suburb established a Knights of Columbus Council with St. Maximilian Kolbe as its patron on February 5. The 21 members of the new council elected John Armstrong as their Grand Knight, and Jacek Marczyński as Deputy Grand Knight. Some sources have stated that the council, which is a Polish ethnic council, is the first Knights of Columbus council to take St. Maximilian as its patron. St. Maximilian is the second patron of the Polish parish in Silver Spring after Our Lady Queen of Poland.

HAMTRAMCK — The Piast Institute announces the establishment of the Polish Women’s Hall of Fame on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017. The virtual exhibit, hosted at raises awareness of and honors women’s lives and contributions to culture and history of Poland and the world. The project provides biographies, photographs, bibliographies, and articles on women in Poland and the diaspora.

Ashley Fallon, the director of the newly opened Polish Women’s Hall of Fame, explained that the Hall of Fame will serve as a resource for the Polish community, for schools and universities, and especially for young Polish women—and for women everywhere. While individuals like Marie Skłodowska Curie are well-known, the overall story of the achievements and contributions of Polish women has long been overlooked. “We can never fully understand who we are until we join the stories of our mothers to those of our fathers,” said Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, president of the Piast Institute.

Nominations from the general public are accepted in six categories: Science and Education, Arts and Humanities, Religion, Public Life and Service, Philanthropy, and Sports. Final selections for Hall of Fame inductees will be made by a distinguished international panel. For more information, please visit the website at: or call Ashley Fallon at the Piast Institute at (313) 733-4535 ext. 105.

BUFFALO — Ars Nova Musicians Chamber Orchestra, in its 43rd season of performing, will present a concert featuring classical music set in the splendor of historic St. John Kanty Roman Catholic Church. Marylouise Nana, founder, music director and conductor, will lead the orchestra on Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. The talented Emily Tworek Helenbrook, soprano soloist, will also perform.

Tickets for the concert are $12; advance purchase is recommended for preferred seating and can be purchased by calling (716) 893-0412 between 9:00-noon, Mon.-Fri.

St. John Kanty Church opened for worship in 1892 and is located on Broadway between Brownell and Swinburne Streets. It is handicap accessible with off-street parking.

HAMBURG —Hilbert College held a commemorative ceremony in honor the legacy of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSSJ), the college’s founding congregation, on March 16.

Most Reverend Edward M. Grosz, Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo, was in attendance and offered the opening prayer for the ceremony.

The ceremony consisted of a short program, including the unveiling of the FSSJ Legacy Wall, which will honor the nearly 100 members of the FSSJ who have served at Hilbert College over its 60-year history.

The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph were founded by Sister Mary Colette (nee Agnes Victoria Hilbert) of Cieszyn, the territory of Austrian Poland. In 1889, Sister Colette and four Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo were sent to educate the children in the United States. In 1897, Sister Colette and four American novices adopted the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis as their way of life in God’s service. In 1928, Sister Mary Colette became the first general minister of the newly-established Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSSJ). Because of the Congregation’s growth and the number of women applying to this new way of life, the Sisters moved from Buffalo, to the convent in Hamburg. The order founded Hilbert College in 1957.

PHILADELPHIA — On Sun., April 2, 2017, at 2:30 p.m., the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia will host its general meeting/election at the Associated Polish Home, Vistula Lounge, Northeast Philadelphia, 9150 Academy Road, Philadelphia. Donna K. Danielewski, past President of the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia, and author of Journey: A Memoir, will be guest speaker and will give a brief synopsis of her and her family’s journey through war-torn Europe, and across the Atlantic Ocean to their final destination, the U.S.A. Copies of the book will be for sale.

If you plan to attend, please contact, or call (215) 483-0193.Refreshments will be served.


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