Polish American Historical Association Announces its Annual Awards

Los Angeles, January 30, 2015 – During its 72nd Annual Meeting in New York, at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) announced the winners of the organization’s annual awards. Consul General, Hon. Urszula Gacek welcomed the guests and recounted the history of PAHA and its role in the documentation and promotion of Polish American history and culture. Established in 1942, PAHA is the premier international scholarly association dedicated to the study of Polish emigration and immigration to the Americas.

The Mieczysław Haiman Award, offered annually to an American scholar for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans, was presented to Dr. Neal Pease, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for his extensive record of valued publications in the field of Polish and Polish American history. A recipient of PAHA’s Swastek Prize, as well as a Past President of PAHA, Dr. Pease serves on the Board of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, and is the editor of its journal, The Polish Review. Simultaneously he is a member of PAHA Council and of the editorial board of the Polish American Studies.

PAHA presented the Oskar Halecki Prize that recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States to Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdańsk, Poland. She served as the editor of East Central Europe in Exile, vols. 1-2: Transatlantic Migrations and Transatlantic Identities (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). This outstanding two-volume work, takes up an extremely significant area of research in the broad field of Polish American studies, namely the experience of emigration and resettlement in a new homeland. The books include contributions by thirty-eight scholars from North America and Europe that examine aspects of both the Polish emigration and settlement experiences, along with those of other peoples from East Central Europe. Dr. Mazurkiewicz’s effort makes an inestimable contribution to scholarly research and knowledge in the important field of emigration studies – and with special attention to the experiences of peoples who are all too often overlooked in discussions of this subject.

The Amicus Poloniae Award that “recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community” was given to Ms. Terry Tegnazian, the co-founder of the Aquila Polonica Publishing dedicated to issuing books about Poland in World War II. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Terry Tegnazian became interested in the Polish experience of World War II while reading memoirs of key Polish Underground leaders. She was moved by the stories of the Poles’ incredible courage during World War II — an aspect of the war she had not previously been aware of. In addition to being a hands-on publisher involved in all aspects of each Aquila Polonica title, Terry has written about Poland in World War II for the Wall Street Journal Europe and the Warsaw Business Journal, she’s been interviewed on national television, and has presented numerous lectures in a wide range of venues including colleges, museums, and libraries.

Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, of Moonrise Press, Los Angeles, received the Distinguished Service Award “given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.” Dr. Trochimczyk is PAHA’s Newsletter Editor and Online Communications Director. She created and expanded the organization’s internal and external online and print communications including the newsletters, marketing materials, a blog, and social media. A member of the PAHA Board since in 2009, Dr. Trochimczyk previously received the PAHA’s Swastek Prize in 2007 for the best article published in the Polish American Studies, “The Impact of Mazowsze and Śląsk on Polish Folk Dancing in California” (Vol. 63, No. 1, Spring 2006). A music historian and a poet, Dr. Trochimczyk published six books on music and five of poetry, including, most recently, Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (co-edited with William Śmiałek, Routledge, June 2015) and a poetry collection, Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014) based on her parents’ childhood memories of WWII.

PAHA’s Creative Arts Award “recognizes the contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups who have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas” and was presented to Mr. Adrian Prawica, director and executive producer of the film The Fourth Partition: Chicago (2013). The documentary tells a unique and rarely talked about history of Chicago’s Polish Community at the dawn of the 20th century. It examines economic and political reasons for the migration of over 4 million Poles to the United States between 1870 and 1920 and focuses on Polish immigrant workers in heavily industrialized Chicago neighborhoods, their community, as well as their political activism, which aided Poland in her fight for independence during WWI.

The Swastek Prize “awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association” was presented to Dr. Leonard Kurdek for “The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Call Northside 777’: The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice” from Polish American Studies, Vol. 70, no. 2 (Autumn 2013). The editors consider it a meticulously researched reconstruction of a story with compelling human interest which also deals with the interplay of life with art and Hollywood’s depiction of Polish Americans: “A very detailed piece of detective work, it holds the interest of readers from start to finish, is clearly written, and raises a number of very serious and provocative questions about the character of American justice and the consequences of injustice as experienced by a family of poor, working class Polish Americans during the worst times of the Great Depression—a topic that has implications for all disadvantaged peoples.”

The Skalny Civic Achievement Awards “honor individuals or groups that advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or that have made significant contributions to the Polish or Polish-American community and culture.” There were the following 2015 Skalny Award recipients.

Dr. Karen Majewski was recognized for her unwavering efforts to revitalize Hamtramck, one of America’s oldest and most interesting Polonia’s communities located in the heart of Detroit. Majewski was elected Hamtramck’s first woman mayor in 2005, since then re-elected twice (2009, 2013). Former executive director of PAHA, she has also organized exhibits devoted to the Polish presence in Detroit, published works related to the Polish-American identity, and served as the Curator of Polish and Rare Books at Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. Dr. Majewski has previously received the 2004 Halecki Award and the Kulczycki Prize for her book Traitors and True Poles: Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003). She is a Piast Institute Fellow and a Board Member of the Dekaban Foundation.

Mr. Timothy J. Kuzma of Pittsburgh was honored with the Skalny Award for his many faceted, highly productive, and forward looking work as President of the Polish Falcons of American fraternal, his guidance in making the Falcons publication an outstanding fraternal vehicle promoting the Polish heritage that it is, and for his impressive work in making the March 2014 Polish American Summit of national Polonia leaders a success.

Mr. Frank Milewski of New York – Chair of the Anti-Bigotry and Holocaust Documentation Committees of the Polish American Congress was recognized with the Skalny Award for his continuing and longtime efforts as a Polish American Congress activist in New York, notably his time-consuming work of monitoring American mass media for themes related to Poland and the Polish American community, correcting errors, and fighting defamatory comments in a professional and informed manner.

Dr. Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Boehm received the Skalny Award for her role in advancing knowledge and appreciation of Polish history and culture in the United States. Ziółkowska-Boehm is a Polish born writer who now lives in the United States. Her widely acclaimed works published in English deal mostly with the Polish experience in Second World War.

Dr. Alex Storożyński was presented with the Skalny Award for his past leadership of the Kościuszko Foundation. Due to his efforts and incentive, the Kościuszko Foundation moved its operations and communications system to the 21-st century. Modernization, enhanced efficiency, greater outreach must also be paired with his widely read and very well publicized biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko which has generated renewed interest and appreciation of Kościuszko as an American and Polish hero of historic stature: The Peasant Prince:Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution.

The Graduate Student Research Paper Award “recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences” and was presented to Rachel Rothstein, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Florida, Gainesville, for a study entitled “Defending the Remnants: American Jews Respond to Poland’s 1968 Anti-Zionist Campaign.”

The Award Ceremony ended with an announcement of the new leadership of the organization which will lead PAHA through 2015 and 2016. THE OFFICERS: Dr. Grażyna Kozaczka of Cazenovia College was elected the President, Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdańsk – the First Vice President, Dr. John Radzilowski of the University of Alaska-Southeast – the Second Vice President; and Dr. Maja Trochimczyk of Moonrise Press – the Secretary. She will continue serving as PAHA Newsletter Editor and Online Communications Director. Dr. Jim Pula of Purdue University North Central will continue in his role as Treasurer and Dr. Pien Versteegh of Avans University, The Netherlands, as Executive Director. Dr. Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann of Eastern Connecticut State University will be the new Editor of Polish American Studies.

The COUNCIL MEMBERS will include: Dr. M. B. Biskupski, Central Connecticut State University; Dr. John Bukowczyk, Wayne State University; Dr. Mary Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Ann Gunkel, Columbia College-Chicago; Dr. Iwona Korga, Józef Piłsudski Institute; Dr. Dorota Praszałowicz, Jagiellonian University, Kraków; Dr. Marta Cieślak, Independent Scholar; Dr. Czesław Karkowski, Hunter College and Mercy College; Dr. Stephen Leahy, Shantou University, Shantou; Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (Past President, 2013-2014); Dr. Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; and Mr. Robert Synakowski, Syracuse Polish Home.

ABOUT PAHA: The Polish American Historical Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the study of Polish American history and culture. Founded in 1942 as part of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, PAHA became an autonomous scholarly society in 1948. As an affiliate of the American Historical Association, PAHA promotes research and dissemination of scholarly materials focused on Polish American history and culture, and its European origins. PAHA publishes a newsletter and a biannual scholarly peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Polish American Studies (available from the University of Illinois Press; with past issues on JSTOR). The organization sponsors an annual conference, in conjunction with the American Historical Association, which serves as a forum for research in the field of ethnic studies. PAHA has over 600 international members, including both individuals and institutions; membership is open to all individuals interested in the fields of Polish American history and culture, and immigration studies. In 2011, PAHA sponsored the critically acclaimed Polish American Encyclopedia, published by McFarland and edited by Prof. James Pula.

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