Greetings from Poland

We’ve arrived safe in Warsaw Thursday at 3:15 P.M.  We started the day at 5:45 P.M. with the meeting with Poland’s First Lady in the Royal Baths Park (Lazienki Krolewskie) in Warsaw.  The goal of the meeting was to introduce Orchard Lake and Polish Mission and to extend an invite to our campus.  We also had the pleasure to meet and chat with two Polish actresses Anna Kozuchowska and Anna Dymna.  We met with a group of Scouts and presented their leader with our Home Army and II Corpus collections as well as information regarding scouting in Michigan.  The event ended with an elegant banquet.  The first day in Poland was a success.

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The First Lady of Republic of Poland Mrs. Kaczynska i Director of Polish Mission Marcin Chumiecki on the private meeting in Lazienki Krolewskie Warsaw May 21, 2009

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On Friday May 22 we met with a group of advisers to the Ministry of Culture and Director of National Heritage (Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego). Also present was the Deputy Director of the Biblioteka Narodowa.  The three hour meeting began with The Polish Mission Director Marcin Chumiecki presenting the history of Orchard Lake and the responsibilities of The Polish Mission. He covered the archives, Galeria, and museums. He mentioned that he was thankful for the opportunity to represent Orchard Lake and that all official letters and agreements will be exchanged between Chancellor Whalen and the Ministers .Cecile Wendt Jensen, director of the Polonica Americana Research Institute presented a copy of her book “Detroit’s Polonia” and spoke of the grant she obtained for The Polish Mission from the Michigan Humanities Council of Michigan on behalf of the National Humanities Council. The grant will provide funding for two campus events: Commemorating 1 September 1939 and Celebration SS Cyril and Methodius Seminary 1909-2009. Jensen presented a copy of her book “Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy” published by Michigan Polonia LLC which outlined the process English speaking researchers follow in documenting their Polish heritage. There was a discussion regarding indexing civil records.

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This has been a hectic but productive trip. The Krakow visit was a success. The Jagiellonian University professors gathered to hear about The Polish Mission. The Jagiellonian University professors congratulated Father Timothy Whalen and the Board of Regents for establishing The Polish Mission thus beginning a new era for the campus of Orchard Lake. Several of the professors sent their regards to Karen Majewska PhD and several more spoke of their attempts to access the Orchard Lake archives for their doctoral studies. Director Chumiecki gave a general overview of the situation, condition and holdings of the archives, Galeria, and museums and the plan for the future. Cecile Jensen, MA spoke of the dual role of the Polonica Americana Research Institute, a new department of The Polish Mission, which offers professional genealogical services to family researchers and CEU for K-12 teachers based on the campus holdings. Immediately after the two hour presentation the professors began to offer plans and their expertise to help The Polish Mission. It was an overwhelming and positive response from this esteemed academic group. Professor Pietrzyk, Director of the Jagiellonian Library, invited Marcin Chumiecki and Cecile Wendt Jensen to his office the next day to discuss ways in which his department can become involved.

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After the long and exhausting session we were given a walking tour of the Jagiellonian University campus. We walked over the 13th century cobblestones and passed the oldest building on campus, The Collegium Maius. We stopped for a photo in front of the Collegium Novum. We ended our tour at the Jagiellonian University Guest House situated at ul. Floriańska. It was a great location, only a few blocks away from Krakow’s most splendid monuments, the Florian Gate and Barbican on the one side and the Market Square on the other.

The Polish Mission Director Marcin Chumiecki and Cecile Wendt Jensen of Michigan Polonia LLC met with Professor Zdzislaw Pietrzyk, Director of the Jagiellonian University Biblioteka Jagiellonska (The Jagiellonian Library) 29 May 2009 . Although his mentor’s funeral was scheduled for noon, he made time to meet with The Polish Mission. We were warmly greeting and after a few pleasantries Cecile presented him with a copy of her book “Detroit’s Polonia”. Professor Pietrzyk asked her to sign her book because after fifteen years of working with manuscripts he values a book with the handwritten signature of the author. It will become part of the Jagiellonian Library Collection.
Professor Pietrzyk developed a rough draft of a plan that includes a grant proposal. Marcin Chumiecki will present this information to Chancellor Whalen for consideration by the Executive Council. Director Chumiecki extended an invitation to visit the campus of Orchard Lake and Professor Pietrzyk accepted and set a tentative date in August, 2009.

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The only downside to the whole day was that the rain took down the free WI-FI signal for the Rynek (Market Square).
The rain did provide a perfect back drop for evening photos.

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The last visit in Krakow was with the Director of the State Archives. Cecile presented her with a copy of “Detroit’s Polonia” and Marcin presented the history of Orchard Lake Schools and The Polish Mission.  The Archivist visited the Orchard Lake campus in the early 1980s and would like to visit again. She was impressed with the plans for the archives, galeria and museums. She pledged her support to help in any way she can and looks forward to an announcement from her director detailing the scope of participation.