Polish American Congress

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The Polish American Congress (PAC) is a U.S. umbrella organization of Polish-Americans and Polish-American organizations. Its membership is composed of fraternal, educational, veterans, religious, cultural, social, business, and political organizations, as well as individuals.

As of January 2009, it lists 20 national organizations as members.[1] It is sub-divided into 41 divisions and chapters.[2] Traditionally, the PAC National President has also been the president of the largest Polish American fraternal organization, the Polish National Alliance (PNA).

Formation during World War II[edit]

In response to the threat to Poland's freedom caused by Soviet and German aggression, a large Congress of Polonia met in Buffalo, New York, from May 28 to June 1, 1944. Composed of roughly 2,600 delegates representing Polish and Polish-American organizations, the Congress created the PAC, defining its goal of a free Poland and underscoring its support for the US war effort against the Axis powers.[3] The PAC incorporated[4] the two former Polish umbrella organizations in the United States, the moderate[4] Polish American Council founded in 1939 and the right-wing[5] National Committee of Americans of Polish Descent founded in 1941. The other umbrella organization, the left-leaning[4] American Slav Congress, remained independent.[4]

Leadership[edit]

The Congress elected Karol Rozmarek as the first president of the PAC.[3] He was succeeded in 1968 by Aloysius Mazewski, who served until his death in 1988.[3] Under Mazewski, Leonard F. Walentynowicz served as executive director of the PAC for a number of years.[6] Edward Moskal was elected president in 1988, and he, too, served as president for the remainder of his life.[7][8] Its current president is Frank J. Spula.[9]

Anti-Bigotry Committee[edit]

The Anti-Bigotry Committee of the Polish American Congress fights anti-Polish sentiment of all kinds. In particular, the Committee has been involved in fighting against Polish jokes and the use of the term "Polish death camps".

The Committee was formed in early 1980s by the initiative of Michael Preisler, a Polish Catholic survivor of Auschwitz death camp. In the opinion of Preisler, malicious jokes such as Polish jokes must be called "untermenschen" jokes, since they are used to denigrate people.[10]

Notable public cases include protests against the use of Polish jokes by Drew Carey (early 2000s) and Jimmy Kimmel (2013), both joking at the ABC network.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "National Member Organizations". Retrieved 11 January 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Directory of State Divisions". Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "MILESTONES IN THE STORY OF THE POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS The First Fifty Years - Part 1: 1944-1980". Retrieved February 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d Bukowczyk, John J. (2006) Polish Americans and Their History University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 142, ISBN 978-0-8229-5960-1
  5. ^ Thernstrom, Stephan (ed.) (1980) Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 800, ISBN 0-674-37512-2
  6. ^ Grand Island, NY Deaths 2005
  7. ^ "MILESTONES IN THE STORY OF THE POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS: The First Fifty Years Part 2: 1981 - 1994.". Retrieved February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Via Sacria, March 2005". Retrieved January 2009. 
  9. ^ "National Officers". Polish American Congress. Retrieved 11 January 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b "WWII and Holocaust: Just A Big Joke At Disney’s ABC-TV"

External links[edit]