72nd Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz at West Point

invitation coverIMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (Wednesday February 8 2017, 3:17 pm EST): The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning in effect from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm EST on Thursday, February 9.  All guests are advised to take responsible measures for personal safety in consideration of severe weather.  DO NOT attempt travel is you feel unsafe.  THE EVENT AND FOLLOWING PROGRAM WILL CONTINUE AS PLANNED.  Please check back for any updates.

It is our distinct pleasure to announce that our annual commemoration of the Liberation of Auschwitz (January 27, 1945), will be held this year at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Thursday February 9th, 2017.  We extend our gratitude to Mr. Francis Sehn, the Orchard Lake Schools Ambassadors, the West Point Class of ’65, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland for their support of America’s only joint commemoration of Liberation Day in full cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum of Poland.

Check this page for any and all updates.

For information on attending, contact jjprzewozniak@orchardlakeschools.com no later than Tuesday, January 31.

To view accolades/welcome letters, click here.

To download the event program, click here.

For parking information, click here. (UPDATED February 3)

For information on Dr. Cywiński’s lecture at West Point on Friday, February 10, click here.

For directions, click here.



Master of Ceremonies: JJ Przewozniak

5:00 pm

National Anthems
Master Sergeant MaryKay Messenger, soprano

      MSG MaryKay Messenger is a Newburgh, New York native and well-know soloist throughout the Hudson Valley region performing Classical, Broadway, Jazz and Popular music. She is the premier vocalist for the United States Military Academy Band, West Point, NY and first sang with them in 1980, at the age of 12, singing for the season finale 1812 concert.  She continued throughout the years as a guest vocalist for a variety of concerts until she joined the Army in 1996.  She performed as a soloist for a European Summer Broadway Tour in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France and England and has appeared locally in several musicals including Godspell, Shenandoah and Grease. She has sung the role of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and the First Lady in The Magic Flute, with the Amato Opera Theatre in New York City.

She also appeared as Mimi in La Boheme in Montclair, New Jersey, and performed in An Evening of Bel Canto and An Evening of Operatic and Neapolitan Love Songs at the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since then she has performed with the famous Irish tenors, Frank Patterson, John McDermott, the Nexus percussion ensemble and Sylvia McNair and with the Boston Pops under the direction of Keith Lockhart.  She performed as a featured soloist for the United Military Academy’s Bicentennial Concert in Carnegie Hall, the Royal Norwegian Military Band in Oslo, Norway and as the first American Military vocalist to perform with the Military Band of the Peoples Liberation Army in Beijing, China. She recently performed as a soloist for the New York Stock Exchange Closing Bell, the New York Mets Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, Boston Pops 2015 Summer Concerts in Nantucket/Hyannis and their 2013 Holiday Concert at Eisenhower Hall Theater.  She sang “God Bless America” at the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., nationally televised Game 1 for the 2009 World Series and Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. She sang the National Anthem for the 2013 Bruce Springsteen “Stand Up For Heroes” at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, at Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks, November 2013, at Radio City Music Hall for World Championship Boxing, April 2013, at Yankee Stadium for various games to include the televised May 21, 2011 Subway Series, July 18, 2010 Tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, July 4, 2010, July 4, 2008, 2007 Opening Day, 2005/2012 American League Division Series, New York Mets 2011 Subway Series, 2009 Memorial Day Game, for numerous New York Jets and Giants football games and at the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. MaryKay is often highlighted in Army football halftime shows, and performs for many official functions at West Point and in New York City for distinguished guests, politicians and international dignitaries. She was promoted to Master Sergeant and featured for the 2010 New York Philharmonic Brass Holiday Concerts in December at Avery Fisher Hall and on the local Newburgh Actors Studio stage in Newburgh, NY for a Holiday Cabaret.

She received her degree in Business Management from Mount Saint Mary College in which she was honored with the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award in October and studied voice with Walter Blazer from Manhattan School of Music. MaryKay resides in Milton, NY with her husband David and daughters Emma and Grace.

Colonel Fr. Matthew Pawlikowski, and Captain Rabbi Bruce Bublick

Marcin Chumiecki
Director of The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools

Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen
Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point

Russell Campbell
President of the USMA Class of ‘65

 Colonel Michał Sprengel
Acting Defense Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Poland

Maciej Golubiewski
Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York

Colonel Eugeniusz Szajbel
European Union Delegation to the United Nations

6:00 pm

Keynote Address
Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński
Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum of Poland


September 1st 2016 marked ten years since the appointment of Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński Ph.D. as the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Through that time, the Memorial has developed dynamically and changed in several aspects.

On a scale incomparable to any Memorial in the world, it has developed preservation programs and created the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation with an accumulated Endowment Fund of over 100 million Euro (of the planned 120 million), which serves the long-term financing of work in preserving the authenticity of all the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp. In 2016, the grant of the Foundation for the Memorial will be approximately 8 million Polish złotych. Thanks to the funds raised, necessary conservation works commenced in the area of the former women’s camp at Birkenau, among others. Thanks to action taken under the Foundation’s activities, the Auschwitz Museum is the only Memorial in the world, with such an extensive infrastructure that serves conservation.

Work is underway to completely modify the main exhibitions dating from 1955. Several new temporary and national exhibitions have been created, as well as several traveling exhibitions, including Forbidden Art. The authentic German railway car from the period, that has been placed at the ramp of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, has become a symbol of the Memorial. In the last ten years, more than 13 million people have visited the Memorial. At the personal request of Pope Francis, director Cywiński welcomed him at the Death Gate in Birkenau. The number of visitors in the period from 2006-2016, more than doubled, and the annual budget of the museum tripled, despite adhering to the principle of free admission to the Memorial.

One of the most important events of the decade was undoubtedly the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 2015, which was attended by approx. 300 survivors and delegations from 48 countries. Broadcast on more than 250 television stations around the world, over half a billion people viewed coverage, while more than 1 billion 750 million people read newspaper reports on the event. According to commentators, the commemoration recieved the greatest ever media coverage in the world.

Piotr Cywiński while in office as director, wrote several books of the series “The Place of Truth”, describing selected aspects of the history of Auschwitz through quotes from the accounts of the survivors, as well as a collection of essays “Epitaph”. Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński is also the co-author of several other publications, among others the compendium “Auschwitz from A to Z”.

Piotr Cywiński has participated in the work of important committees, namely: The International Auschwitz Council, the Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom, and the Board of Museums among others. His work has been recognized with numerous awards and decorations, including the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Belgian Order of the Crown, Monaco’s Order of St. Charles, and the Greek Order of the Phoenix among others.

Questions & Answers Immediately Following

Concluding Musical Performance: America The Beautiful
Marina Arsenijevic


MARINA ARSENIJEVIC (arson-nee-vitch) is an international award-winning pianist and composer, star of the Emmy-nominated Public Television program, “Marina at West Point: Unity through Diversity” which has been broadcast to more than 180 Million viewers with over 450 airings by PBS Stations across the country.  The Concert was recorded live at West Point’s historic Eisenhower Hall and continues to be broadcast through 2017.

Marina is the winner of six international piano competitions. Her recordings of classical and original compositions have sold over 1 Million copies worldwide. Marina’s compositions reflect her experiences of widespread ethnic strife during the Yugoslavian civil wars: “Whenever I blend diverse cultural melodies with varied ethnic rhythms, regardless of their conflicted history, the music always reveals our common humanity.

Marina has received standing ovations at major venues including Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, Toronto Center for the Arts and many others. She has performed for First Lady Laura Bush and Cherie Blair, wife of the British Prime Minister.

Marina’s many honors include the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her outstanding achievements and humanitarian efforts in building bridges among diverse cultures and nations through her music.

For more info about Marina go to: www.MarinainAmerica.com

For coverage of the most recent venue of the Forbidden Art exhibition at University of Michigan-Dearborn, click here.

For all inquiries, please contact Forbidden Art North America project manager JJ Przewozniak by calling (248) 738-6720.



PRESS RELEASE (Click for .pdf):

December 12, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: America’s oldest Polish cultural Mission partners with Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to host national observance of the 72nd Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Thursday, February 9, 2017  5:00 pm EST

Orchard Lake, MI – The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools (founded 1885 – Detroit, MI) continues nation-wide cultural programs aimed at combating anti-Semitism and Holocaust-related misinformation.  The Polish Mission is America’s leading non-profit cultural institution, and continues a long-standing exclusive partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum of Poland (A-BSM).

To commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (January 27th, 1945), The Polish Mission will present the 3-ton Forbidden Art exhibition to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for a comprehensive Holocaust educational program.  Forbidden Art is a collection on twenty examples of artwork created by concentration/death camp inmates.  A-BSM Director Dr. Piotr Cywiński will ceremonially open the exhibition, and offer a lecture series to the cadets.

The cooperation between The Polish Mission and A-BSM has been endorsed by the President and Vice President of the United States.  This event marks U.S. participation in worldwide commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz.

According to Polish Mission director Marcin Chumiecki, “We have brought the message of Auschwitz, in a tangible way, to the United States.” He continued, “We invite all Americans to join the international community as we remember the Holocaust in January and always.  Silence can be violent, so we must join in voice and action.”

Dr. Piotr Cywiński said that “It is urgently critical that we preserve Auschwitz, the most authentic symbol of the Holocaust.  West Point will be a most meaningful venue for Forbidden Art, and it will be most especially important to the global community of survivors.  At the site of Auschwitz, at West Point, and around the world, we honor them through our observance, active participation, and dedication to the memory of this tragic past.”

Admission to the exhibition premier gala is by invitation only.  Contact JJ Przewozniak for more information, or to RSVP.  All event guests must present sufficient identification upon entry, in accordance with USMA policy which can be found at www.westpoint.army.mil/visitus.html.

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