Space for the pierogi class on Saturday, March 28th is full. We are sorry to all who wanted to take this class but were not able to so we are going to schedule another class in October just in time for Christmas. PACT will announce the October date when it is finalized. Thank you to all who wanted to take the March class. We hope you will be able to attend the next one in October.
2015 Scholarship Awards
The Polish American Community of Toledo is happy to announce that along with the Toledo Poznan Alliance of Toledo, we will again be awarding scholarships to High School/College students based on academics, extra-curricular activities and an essay submitted about “What Having a Polish-American Heritage Means To Me”. Last year four area high school or college students each received a $1000 scholarship toward their education.
Click on PACT/TPA scholarship application button on the right of the screen to download a copy of the application. After filling it out, send it to PACT, P.O. Box 1033, Sylvania, Ohio, 43560 no later than May 31st. Winners will be announced in June.
This year PACT will have a shopka in the Toledo Holiday Parade.
by Stas Kmiec
Mention the word szopka (creche) or jaselka (nativity play) to someone born in Poland long ago, and you will see a spark of joy light up in their eyes. They recall the live nativity scenes, puppet shows, pageant plays and shimmering fairy tale castle-like scenes of their youth.
The Christmas creche is common to all of the Christian faith, but the szopka is unique to Poland. The szopka, once a humble peasant pleasure, has become a recognized Polish institution. A truly Polish Christmas celebration is not complete without some form of this scene.
The custom originated with St. Francis of Assisi, who set the first Nativity tableau in 1223. It was brought to Poland by Franciscan monks around the 13th century. The earliest sign of a manager scene in Poland was in St. Andrew’s church in Kraków. The first crìches were quite simple and portable, but eventually monks took on the roles of the figurines, with the exception of the infant and animals, and developed a living nativity.
Dialogue crept in and eventually the jaselka play developed. The monks were replaced by peasants, students, artisans and even the nobility. Figures from history, local tradition and legend, such as Pan Twardowski were added for national color. Allegorical figures such as the devil and smierc (death) carrying a scythe soon appeared, along with Biblical figures, such as, the Holy Family and King Herod.
The still managers became filled with multi-figure compositions. In addition to the Biblical figures and animals, Polish peasants in their regional finery and whole armies accompanying the three kings were displayed.
By the eighteenth century these figures were moveable. Stringed marionettes or stick puppets replaced the static figures. The performances presented two types of integrated plots: a Biblical one telling the Nativity story and a lay one of traditional, folk and satirical nature.
Still taking place in church, it was soon realized that the excitement of such an entertainment had gotten out of hand. In 1736 these plays were banned from the churches by Bishop Teodor Czartoryski, permitting only immobile scenes of a strictly Biblical Christmas. Both the live and puppet shows now were passed down to the people, who included them in the ritual of caroling (kolednicy). Following the ban the performances evolved into a true expression of folk art.
The live Jaselka became a traveling show beginning on St. Stephen’s day (December 26). The Bethlehem locale, was now set in Poland. Original characters and much of the traditional dialogue were preserved, but in the hands of artists and students it became a mirror of community life, with political satire and local anecdotes added in. Key moments were preserved, such as the well- known scene between King Herod and the devil. The devil triumphantly exclaims in retribution for Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents, “Królu Herodzie za twe zbytki, chodz do piekla, bos ty brzydki” (King Herod for your wicked ways come with me to hell because you are deplorable). This scene was extremely popular with the audience.
In literature and theater, the plays were made famous by such authors as Lucjan Rydel (Betlejem Polskie) and Leon Schiller (Szopka Krakowska and Pastoralka), and continue to appear in the repertoire of professional theater companies in Poland to this day.
Throughout the 18th century, native artisans were making crìches that were distinctively Polish in architectural design, folk costume and motif. Each region developed its own unique design, but it was in Kraków that it developed into a high art.
By the 19th century several elements defined the szopka’s shape, finding inspiration in the existing structures of Kraków. The stable’s roof was covered by a second story and was flanked by two towers. The two towers eventually resembled the Kosciól Mariacki (St. Mary’s Church) and the central Renaissance dome was reminiscent of Wawel Castle’s Zygmunt Chapel. By the end of the 19th century the stable was moved to the second floor and bottom floor was filled with figuures of folklore and history.
The outbreak of World War I brought an end to the szopka, when Austrian occupation forces prohibited home-to-home caroling accompanied by a szopka. Due to the change in political climate after Poland had regained its independence in 1918, it seemed this form of folk art would disappear entirely. A Jaselka was staged at a Kraków theater in 1923 and this sparked a revival of sorts. Szopki were made and sold as souvenirs. The city’s municipal authorities decided to save this decaying tradition by announcing the first competition in December of 1937. Eighty-six cribs were entered. With the exception of the wartime period of 1939-1944 the competitions have become an annual holiday tradition with a magnitude of entrants. Kraków hosts the competition in the central Rynek (marketplace) Square. The puppet shows survive to this day as popular entertainment and are included in this event, as well.
PACT will be offering some great items this year for the silent auction at the Kielbasa Cook Off on Saturday, Oct. 4, at St. Clements Community Center. All items are Polish . Amber pieces, Polish pottery, books about local Polish history, Polish beer, liqueurs, vodka, Polish t-shirts, amber cut wine glasses, Christmas pieces and much more will be available. So come out to the cook off and enjoy some great kielbasa and check out our Polish items.
Presented with support from the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies.
This series of restored classic Polish films has been organized and curated by Martin Scorsese, one of the most recognized and respected filmmakers in the world, and is the largest presentation of restored Polish cinema to date.
9/8: The Last Day of Summer & Innocent Sorcerers
9/15: Night Train
9/22: A Short Film About Killing
10/6: The Illumination
10/13: The Saragossa Manuscript
10/27: Mother Joan of the Angels
11/3: Ashes and Diamonds
11/10: The Hourglass Sanatorium
11/24: Black Cross
12/1: The Promised Land
12/8: Man of Iron
Below are just three of the films being shown.
To see more, go to http://www.michtheater.org/series/polish-cinema/
Monday, September 15 at 7 PM. Part of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema. Presented with support from the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies.
In Night Train (Pociag), directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, a subtle game of emotions between two travelers—changing from mutual aversion to closeness without hope of a future—plays out amidst the human microcosm of a night train. Jerzy (Leon Niemczyk) and Marta (Lucyna Winnicka), accidentally end up holding tickets for the same sleeping chamber on an overnight train to the Baltic Sea coast. Also on board is Marta’s spurned lover, who will not leave her alone. When the police enter the train in search of a murderer on the lam, rumors fly and everything seems to point toward one of the main characters as the culprit.
1959. 98 minutes. Polish with subtitles.
A Short Film About Killing
Monday, September 22 at 7 PM. Part of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema. Presented with support from the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies.
A Short Film About Killing (Krótki film o zabijaniu) opens with a scene of a dead rat and a lifeless cat hanging by the neck. As the plot unfolds, Yatzek (Miroslaw Baka) is a 20-year-old drifter who murders a testy taxi driver (Jan Tesarz) in a gut-wrenching scene of excessive violence. Tension continues to build as a newly licensed young attorney (Krzysztof Globisz is chosen to represent Yatzek in court. Much anticipated and well-received at Cannes, the film won the European Film Academy Award for “Best European Film” in 1988. ~ Rovi
1987. 86 minutes. Polish with subtitles.
Friday, September 29 at 7 PM. Part of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema.
Director: Tadeusz Konwicki.
One of Poland’s most important novelists, Tadeusz Konwicki was also a director (The Last Day of Summer) and screenwriter (Pharoah, Mother Joan of the Angels). Jump (Salto) is a tantalizing existential mystery that hops nimbly between allegory and black comedy. It begins with the hero (Cybulski) jumping off a moving train and making his way to a small town where he lived during the war. Or did he? Riffing on his Ashes and Diamonds persona, Cybulski delivers a dazzlingly protean performance. Is his character an imposter, a fugitive, a prophet, an avenger, a ghost, or just an ordinary schmuck? The title refers both to the hero’s initial leap and to a justly celebrated dance performed to composer Wojciech Kilar’s ultra-cool jazz theme. – Marty Rubin
1965. 105 minutes. Polish with English subtitles.
Pictured: City Councilman Tom Winiewski, PACT President Stan Machosky,
Toledo Mayor Michael Collins and PACT Vice-President, Matt Zaleski.
From the Toledo Blade, Monday, August 11, 2014:
The second annual Polka Party Picnic offered far more than the expected polka dancing and kielbasa meal at St. Hyacinth Catholic Church on Sunday afternoon.
At the event, the Polish -American Community of Toledo, or PACT, announced plans to launch a $1million capital campaign to raise funds to establish a Toledo area Polish-American Community Center.
“A major issue is that the churches formed by some of the first Poles who came to Toledo are slowly closing”, said Toledo Polish Genealogical Society and PACT member Marge Stefanski. “Many believe some of the Polish heritage in the community is being lost in the process.”
“We need to keep the heritage going by passing it on to the young crowd,” Stan Machosky, PACT Board President said. “We need a place to assemble to transfer this to the young.”
To read the entire article, go to http://www.toledoblade.com/Culture/2014/08/11/Poles-set-sights-on-1M-center.html
Thanks you to St. Hyacinth and St. Charles for giving PACT this venue to launch this campaign. It is with the interest of the entire Polish population of Toledo and North West Ohio that this endeavor is being started.
In 2009, a group of Poles gathered at Ski’s Restaurant to address some of the needs of the local Polish community. Like some of the other area ethnic groups in the Toledo area, the Poles were witness to a dying heritage, with their old Polish neighborhoods becoming blight-ridden and once popular churches closing. Certainly the future looked bleak.
To address these issues and more, the group formed a new Polish organization — The Polish-American Community of Toledo (PACT). Five years later a lot has changed for the Toledo Poles.
Along with spearheading a litany of events that call attention to the Polish heritage, PACT wants to build a much-needed Polish Community Center for the Toledo area.
“Leading up to this point, PACT has been able to successfully promote the Polish heritage with annual events like our Wagilia Celebration, Kielbasa Klassic Golf Tournament, annual scholarship competition, our Kielbasa Cook-off Competition, and more,” said Stan Machosky, President, PACT. “But now we feel the time has come to try and fulfill a significant part of PACT’s mission — To build a Polish-American Community Center.
When PACT, a Non- Profit 501-C-3 organization, was created in 2009 it had a mission of supporting and furthering the cause of local Polish-American groups and to enhance the lives of local Polish-Americans. PACT wanted its members to help promote, support, and patronize locally owned Polish-American businesses. PACT wants support for Polish-American business owners, and wanted its members to promote, join and support local and national groups and organizations that help promote events that perpetuate Polish culture and traditions. But a key piece of that mission was the building of a Polish-American Community Center that would ultimately house a cultural center, library, youth recreation center, and provide a venue for local Polish American groups to hold their activities.
On Sunday August 10, PACT announced an ambitious capital campaign to raise $1 million to build the Polish-American Community Center.
“When Poles first came to Toledo and settled in their neighborhoods, they built churches that served the function of a Polish community center. As Poles left those neighborhoods, the churches declined in attendance and eventually closed. However the need for a Polish-American Community Center still exists to help promote the Polish heritage,” said Mr. Machosky.
To meet its financial goal, PACT plans a grassroots campaign to reach out to local Polish-Americans, and to seek grants and donations from area corporations. In addition PACT plans an on-line fund raising effort with Indiegogo.
“We want a grassroots campaign to make all area Poles feel like they are part of this development. We also like the idea of an on-line effort which gives us access to Poles and other Polish organizations around the world who may wish to contribute to our effort,” said Mr. Machosky.
PACT says it is hoping to work with a prominent local Pole — Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz — to see what’s available through the Lucas County Land Bank for redevelopment.
Those wishing to make donations can send checks made payable to Polish-American Community of Toledo, P.O. Box 1033, Sylvania, OH 43560. They can also visit the Indiegogo.
Winners of the 2014 Kielbasa Klassic Golf Scramble (out of 23 teams) were: Marten Whalen, Justin Gorby, Joey Heritt, and Hamilton Hodges.
American Originals: Northwest Ohio’s Polish Community at Home, Work, Worship, and Play is the latest book to be published by the University of Toledo Press.
The 258 page work presents a glimpse into the history of one of Toledo’s most important ethnic groups.
“The book is a mix of the broader themes that have shaped our community with the actual lives that Polish-Americans recall–sometimes remembered with pain, more often with joy, and always with the respect for the accomplishments of the families, friends and neighbors,” said Timothy Borden, editor of the book. “These are the histories of true American originals, who found a proper home for their ideals in the Polish-American community of northwest Ohio.”
The book includes several chapters by Borden, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University Bloomington. Others with chapters include David Chelminski, Dorothy Stohl, Jane Armstrong-Hudiburg, Sarah Miller, William Samiec, and Margaret Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur also contributed a chapter on the history of her Polish family, including the story of her father, Steve, who was known in the community as “Kappy.” Kappy began his career as a trucker and produce dealer in the 1930’s, and in the 1950’s, he and his wife Anastasia, opened the Supreme Market in Rossford. The market sold Polish specialty items. Kaptur also recounts several trips she made to Poland to visit the homeland of her ancestors, and how moved she was by the Polish people and the tales of their struggles throughout history.
The book also looks at the artistic expressions of Toledo’s Polish community in its polka music. The chapter by Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk looks at some of the beloved polka bands that played in many venues around Toledo. It includes interviews with some of the bands’ leaders and discusses the evolution of Toledo’s polka music. A listing of polka recordings by Toledo bands is also included. In addition, Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk discusses the influential Toledo Polish music radio show hosted for years by Chet Zablocki, assisted by his wife Helen, and then after Helen’s death, by his second wife, Sharon.
Other chapters look at Polish wedding traditions, the role of local Catholic sisters in educating the new immigrants to Toledo, and the experience of those growing up in Toledo’s two Polish neighborhoods–Kuhschwantz and Lagrinka. “American Originals is an important contribution to Toledo’s history and is also a fascinating read for anyone who is a part of the Polish community, or just an admirer,” Barbara Floyd, director of the UT Press said.
The book is for sale from the UT Press website: www.utoledopress.com, at Barnes & Noble at The University of Toledo, or by contacting Barbara Floyd, at 419-530-2170.
For more information about the book, or to schedule interviews with the authors, contact Floyd.