Polish Cultural and Educational Union

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Polski Związek Kulturalno-Oświatowy
Logo pzko.png
Emblem of PZKO
Formation 1947
Type Cultural and educational organization
Headquarters Český Těšín
Official language
Jan Ryłko
Website http://www.pzko.cz
Gorol men's choir from Jabłonków during the parade at the beginning of the Jubileuszowy Festiwal PZKO 2007 in Karwina.
Local PZKO club in Czeski Cieszyn (Český Těšín), housed in the only standing synagogue in town.

Polski Związek Kulturalno-Oświatowy (commonly known as PZKO) (Czech: Polský kulturně-osvětový svaz) (meaning "Polish Cultural and Educational Union") is a Polish organization in the Czech Republic. It represents the Polish minority in the Czech Republic together with the Congress of Poles. PZKO is the largest Polish organization with largest membership in the Czech Republic, although the number of members is decreasing as a result of demographic decline of the Polish community.


Before World War II there was a myriad of various Polish organizations. When PZKO organization was founded, in 1947, creating of other Polish organizations was prohibited.[1] It was the only organization representing the Polish minority in the communist era, therefore it was under strong influence of the Communist Party. PZKO gained monopolist position, and was responsible for all activities related to the Poles, as other Polish organizations have been banned. Eventually, PZKO became more under influence of the Communist Party,[2] being incorporated by authorities into the communist National Front in the 1950s. During the 1960s, reformists began to have stronger voice, but after the Prague Spring of 1968, purges were conducted, and reformists were fired from their positions.[3] Ernest Sembol, chairman of the General Committee of PZKO was also fired. The so-called Normalization Era had begun, and PZKO was under even stronger influence of the Communist authorities. After the Velvet Revolution, in 1990, PZKO exonerated people discriminated after 1968, including most noted personalities: Jan Rusnok, Henryk Jasiczek, Wiesław Adam Berger, Tadeusz Siwek and Ernest Sembol.[4]


The goals of PZKO are to promote and shield various cultural and educational activities of the Polish minority. PZKO organizes and supports many activities, including clubs (women's, senior's, youth's), lectures, concerts, excursions, dance, music and folklore groups, choirs, art groups, exhibitions, various sport and social activities etc. The largest and most famous event shielded by the organization, is the annual Gorolski Święto, in Jablunkov, another large event organized by PZKO is Festiwal PZKO. PZKO also closely cooperates with Polish schools in Zaolzie, and with the Polish Scene (ensemble) of Cieszyn Theatre, in Český Těšín.

For its activities PZKO was awarded several awards, including the Wojciech Korfanty Award in 2001 for achievements and merits in preserving the Polishness of Silesia.[5]

PZKO comprises local branches, called MKs (Miejscowe Koła) which exist in almost all municipalities and villages in Zaolzie. Most of these local branches have their own buildings, known as Domy PZKO (PZKO Houses), which serve as a place of various cultural and other events.

General Committee (Zarząd Główny) is housed in Český Těšín (Czeski Cieszyn). Its current chairman is Jan Ryłko.


Year Local branches Members
1947 79 7,296
1949 79 11,214
1952 80 13,046
1955 - 16,170
1960 92 17,780
1965 92 19,994
1967 92 20,656
1970 92 20,858
1975 94 23,449
1980 94 24,237
1985 95 23,701
1988 95 23,171
1990 95 23,070
1993 93 20,825
1995 92 20,200
1996 91 19,573
2007 84 12,300

Chairmen of the ZG (General Committee)[edit]

  • Jan Pribula (1950–1951)
  • Józef Kula (1951–1953)
  • Karol Mrózek (1953–1955)
  • Józef Mrózek (1955–1957)
  • Adolf Kubeczka (1957–1959)
  • Bogumił Goj (1959–1962)
  • Eugeniusz Suchanek (1962–1968)
  • Ernest Sembol (1968–1970)
  • Jan Pribula (1970–1971)
  • Eugeniusz Suchanek (1971–1975)
  • Stanisław Kondziołka (1975–1987)
  • Roman Suchanek (1987–1990)
  • Władysław Młynek (1990–1993)
  • Jerzy Czap (1993–1999)
  • Zygmunt Stopa (1999–2009)
  • Jan Ryłko (2009- )

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zahradnik 1992, 128.
  2. ^ Zahradnik 1992, 145.
  3. ^ Zahradnik 1992, 154.
  4. ^ Stopa 2006, 73.
  5. ^ Zwrot 2009, 26.


  • Bałon, Franciszek, ed. (2007), PZKO w roku 2007. Aneks do Leksykonu, Czeski Cieszyn: ZG PZKO, ISBN 978-80-254-0121-7 
  • Zahradnik, Stanisław; Marek Ryczkowski (1992). Korzenie Zaolzia. Warszawa - Praga - Trzyniec: PAI-press. OCLC 177389723. 
  • Zwrot (November 2009). "Polski Związek Kulturalno-Oświatowy w RC: Jak powstawał, rozwijał się i przekształcał". Zwrot: 26. 

External links[edit]