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POLISH TREE TO GRACE ST. PETER’S SQUARE. A 28-meter (92 foot) tall spruce is Poland’s gift to the Vatican this year, continuing a tradition pioneered by the late Polish Pontiff, now St. John Paul II. He introduced the custom in 1982, and each year the tree set up in St Peter’s square is donated by a different country. This year, is the second time since 1997 that the Christmas tree is coming from Poland. The decorated spruce along with a life-sized nativity scene will remain in St Peter’s Square until January 7, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, which ends the liturgical season of Christmas.

INSPECTION REVEALS CAUSE OF CHOPIN’S DEATH. In what might have appeared to be a secret ritual under the cover of night, a group of Polish genetic and forensic experts were permitted to inspect the heart of Poland’s world-renowned composer, Fryderyk Chopin. The crystal vessel containing the heart immersed in a brown liquid, probably cognac, was removed from a stone pillar at Warsaw’s Holy Cross Basilica, where it has been enshrined. The heart — visually inspected and photographed — was not removed from its container. The examination suggested the cause of Chopin’s death was probably pericarditis, inflammation of tissue surrounding the heart, a likely complication of tuberculosis. Earlier, emphysema and cystic fibrosis had been suspected. Before he died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39, Chopin asked that his heart be sent his sister in then-Russian-occupied Poland. It was smuggled past Russian officials to his native land. The inspection occurred in 2014 but details of the procedure have resurfaced recently. The experts recommended that the heart should not be re-inspected until 2064.

… AND STAY HOME. White nationalist Richard Spencer abandoned plans to speak in Poland after the Polish Foreign Ministry informed him he wasn’t welcome. The 39-year-old leader of the “alt-right” movement, which includes white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, had planned to address an extreme rightist seminar to mark Polish Independence Day. Soon after Spencer’s plans came to light, the Polish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: “As a country which was one of the biggest victims of Nazism, we believe the views voiced by Spencer are in conflict with the legal order of the Republic of Poland. In our opinion, Spencer’s controversial activities and the proclamation of slogans referring to Nazism do not correspond to the character and seriousness of Polish Independence Day commemorations.”

SKLODOWSKA-CURIE’S LEGACY EXAMINED. An international meeting in Warsaw studied the legacy of two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Sklodowska-Curie during 150th anniversary of her birth. The conference was organized by the Medical University of Warsaw, the University of Warsaw, and the Warsaw University of technology.

Skłowdowska-Curie devised the term “radioactivity” and discovered two elements, radium and polonium. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize (in Physics), and upon winning the Prize in Chemistry, became the first person ever to win the Nobel twice.

A number of events were held earlier this year honoring the legacy of the Polish-born scientist, the youngest of five children of Wladislaw and Bronislava Skłodowski. These included lectures, academic conferences, exhibitions and the premiere of a movie about her life and work.



HAMTRAMCK, Mich. — Mayor Karen Majewski was reelected for her fourth term, getting 61% of the vote to defeat challenger Councilman Mohammed Hassan.

The three Hamtramck city council candidates she endorsed —incumbents Andrea Karpinski, Ian Perrotta, and new candidate Fadel Al-Marsoumi — also won, adding to her victory in the diverse city of 22,000.

“This is fantastic,” Majewski, 62, told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m really gratified and pleased that Hamtramck residents placed their confidence in me for another term. I’m especially excited about the council members who won this time. I’m looking forward to working with them. We’re going to have a great council, with a lot of positive movement for Hamtramck.”

Majewski’s vote margin was bigger than four years ago, when she defeated her opponent by just 98 votes.

Hassan, 51, an immigrant from Bangladesh, would have been the first mayor of Hamtramck who is Muslim. Majewski’s win means that Hamtramck will continue to have a Polish American mayor. The city’s mayors have always been of Polish descent since it first started electing mayors in 1922.

In 2013, Majewski defeated Abdual Algazali, an immigrant from Yemen who also was Muslim. Hassan sought to unite the Yemeni and Bangladeshi Muslim communities, who together make up more than half of the population, this year Majewski appeared to get votes from Yemeni Muslims.


BUFFALO, N.Y. — At its recent annual meeting, the Friendship Foundation elected its new officers and board.

To serve one-year terms are:Brian D. Rusk, president; Michael J. Billoni, first vice president; Stan Coleman, second vice president; Frank Barone, treasurer; Ruth Barone, secretary; Jack Guastaferro, executive director; and directors Dorothy Merrill, Hon. Lynn Millane, Jeffrey Lapides, Sigrid Pechenik, and Tom Wilcox.

The Friendship Foundation, Inc. assists the Restoration Society, Inc. in its programmatic efforts, provides education about mental health and psychiatric conditions and advocates for the rights of individuals with psychiatric conditions.

Rusk is an International Public Relations Consultant.


PITTSBURGH — The Karuzela Chorus will present a Christmas Concert of traditional Polish kolędy, Sat., Jan. 6, 2018 after the 4:00 p.m. Mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 3058 Brereton St. in Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill neighborhood.

The Karuzela Chorus is a volunteer choir that sings in the Polish language for cultural events in the Pittsburgh area. I addition to the performance cited above, the chorus can be heard performing at the Polish Day Festival at the Shrine Center in September, the annual Mass in Honor of Our Lady of Częstochowa at St. Paul’s Cathedral in August, and the PolishFest celebration in November at the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning.

The Karazela Chorus is always welcoming new members. If you are interested in participating with this group or know someone interested, please contact the director, Dr. Neil Stahurski, at, or by phone at (412) 732-2566.

Knowledge of the Polish language is not required.


Congressman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) led a bipartisan group of four members of Congress on an official Congressional delegation to Poland, October 21-22. The delegation visited U.S. troops at the U.S. 4th Infantry Division Headquarters in Poznan, where U.S. Major General John Gronski and U.S. Embassy personnel briefed the delegation. Gen. Gronski is a Polish American from Pennsylvania. The delegation shared lunch with U.S. troops at Base 33 in Powidz, located not far from Wrzesnia, the site of a famous school strike in 1901 by Polish school children protesting Germanization.

The delegation also paid homage to victims of German genocide with a visit to the former German concentration camp at Fort VII in Poznan. The Members of Congress lit candles in a hallowed wall that was used for execution of Polish prisoners and not far from the first German gas chamber.

In addition to Congressman Hensarling, Congresswoman Carloyn Maloney (N.Y.), Congressman Anthony Brown (Md.), Congressman Ted Budd (N.C.), and Congressman Alex Mooney (W.V.) participated in the delegation.

Looking for Young Pianists. December 20, 2017 is the deadline for applications for the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Chopin Competition for Young Pianists, which will be held March 3-4, 2018.

The awards include performance opportunities in New York City, Washington D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

To apply, visit, or write to the Kościuszko Foundation at 2025 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; tel: (202) 785-2320


MILWAUKEE — During a whirlwind tour of Poland, November 6-10, University of Wisconsin history professor Neal Pease presented 10 lectures on the past 100 years of Polish American relations. Speaking to audiences in Krakow, Lodz, and Warsaw, Pease stated that the American-Polish partnership has reached a level of cooperation unimaginable even 30 years ago.

The highlight of the lecture tour was an exclusive seminar for over 25 staff of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, including American Ambassador Paul Jones. The U.S. Department of State financed Pease’s power tour in preparation for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining her independence that will be celebrated in 2018.

MILWAUKEE — The 36th annual Polish Fest was held on June 15-17 on Milwaukee’s beautiful Summerfest grounds. This festival of music, dance, culture, entertainment and food was again a great success with over 35,000 in attendance. Polish Fest is sponsored by the Polish Heritage Alliance of Wisconsin, which operates the beautiful Polish Center of Wisconsin, opened in 2000, in the nearby City of Franklin.

Throughout the year, Milwaukee and Wisconsin Polish American organizations, including the Polish American Congress; Polanki, the Polish Women’s Cultural Club of Milwaukee; the Polish Heritage Club in Madison; the Polish Heritage Alliance of Wisconsin; and the Polish National Alliance joined to organize more than a dozen lectures, pictorial exhibits and public manifestations around the state that recalled General Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s life, values, and achievements.

MILWAUKEE — On Sunday November 5, 2017 the Wisconsin Polish American Congress held its 20th annual Polish Independence Day banquet, an event that also honors Veterans Day. Four outstanding community activists in Wisconsin were honored at this event: Alex Durtka, president of the International Institute of Wisconsin; Malgosia Daugherty of Green Bay, a leader of the Polish Heritage Society of Northeast Wisconsin; Neil Dziadulewicz, a long-time leader in the internationally renowned Syrena Polish Dance Ensemble of Milwaukee; and Beverly Krass, a long-time leader in the work to create the annual Polish Fest and the Polish Center of Wisconsin.

Speaking at this year’s event was the Hon. Piotr Janicki, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.

Over the past twenty years, the PAC has recognized more than ninety outstanding individuals for their many contributions to our community at this banquet..

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