I’ve been planning to showcase the work of Mr. Stanley Krajewski for years. He definitely deserves the honor, as he served the Polish community for a very long time. I finally received an amazing opportunity to do so. The Michigan branch of the Polish-American Congress decided to honor the Polish media this year. Stanley Krajewski was the honorary guest at the Polish Parade in Hamtramck. Thanks to the gratitude of Roger Weber, a news reporter for NBC channel 4, who is also the son-in-law of Mr. Krajewski, a meeting between us took place. We had a wonderful and friendly exchange. I knew Stanley was 98 years old and that he had worked at the Polish Daily newspaper (now The Polish Weekly) for 40 years, 28 of which were as the editor-in-chief. I had also met him in the past.
The year was 2009. It was the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. Orchard Lake Schools held a mass that day and Mr. Krajewski was in attendance. He lived in Florida then and was a reader of our newspaper. I heard many great things regarding our newspaper as well. His words were very inspirational and cemented me in the idea that we had to continue on with this great tradition of our Polish newspaper, The Polish Weekly.
On Friday, August 30th of this year, I met with him in White Lake. He was among his daughters and son-in-law and reminisced about the past as well as asked a lot of questions regarding the Polish community here today. Two hours went by in a flash.
Stanley Krajewski was born in Detroit, MI on May 7th, 1915. In 1922, his parents, Konstanty and Franciszka Kopcewicz returned to Poland with him. They settled in a city named Biala Podlaska. It is there that Stanley finished high school. He then moved to Warsaw and studied politics. That is where he had his first chance to experience journalism. He was a student as well as an independent journalist there.
When asked if he wanted to be a journalist his reply was: “Yes, I always wanted to be a journalist. That is one of the reasons I studied politics and journalism at the same time. I was a correspondent of ‘The Morning Courier’ in Poland. I was already writing articles in my high school paper”.
War found him in Poland. He’s an American citizen. In 1940 he found work in agricultural administration in Wisnica. In 1942 he was forced out by the Germans, through cities including Lublin, Krakow, Prague, and Vienna. He then found himself in Germany, in a refugee camp in Tittmoning and also in Laufen in northern Bavaria until January of 1945. He was a refugee but also an American citizen and once the Red Cross stepped in, he was exchanged for a German refugee in Geneva.
Stanley Krajewski came to Detroit soon thereafter. He had contracted tuberculosis and spent 16 months at Henry Ford Hospital. When discharged by the hospital, he went to work for Liberty State Bank in Hamtramck. A new chapter in his life was beginning…
In 1948 he joined the Polish Daily News in Detroit as a reporter and journalist. In 1960, Janusz Ostrowski, then editor-in-chief was paralyzed due to a stroke, and Krajewski served as the general manager of the paper from 1960 to 1963. In 1963 he was promoted to editor-in-chief by then-owner Stefania Januszewska. He held the position until 1988, the year he retired. He was also on the newspaper board.
“The newspaper had its own printing press and hired 18 printers. Later, Antoni Wierzbicki, a board member, sold it. Antoni had his own presses in Wyandotte and that’s where the paper was printed. It was a lot more economical for us”, remembers Mr. Krajewski.
Do you remember your co-workers, I asked?
SK: “Of course. Franciszek Januszewski was the owner. He passed away suddenly on an airplane. His wife Stefania took over his duties when he passed. Our journalists included Janusz Ostrowski, Jozefa Karastewicz, Janina Dalperd, Helena Gaik, Halina Niezdrzycka, Tadeusz Butler, Jerzy Janczwski and Adam Sarnacki. Grzegorz was our photographer and there were many, many more”.
What is most important in journalism?
SK: “Journalism definitely isn’t a boring profession. New trials come each day. I realized my dreams by writing the truth”.
As an ethnic newspaper, was it recognized in the public eye of the United States?
SK: “We put a lot of work in to make that happen, and it did. I took part in many political conventions, Polish conventions, as well as the Polish National Alliance and the Polish Women’s Alliance. As a journalist, I worked closely with Judge Tadeusz Machrowicz. He was very active in the Democratic Party. He was also a congressman. That’s also why I was in Washington, D.C. often. I worked with Governor George Romney and Vice-Governor Lesinski, as well as many other public figures. I was also active in the Polish community. I attended meetings, banquets, funerals and whatever else caught my interest. Please make sure to include that working with the Orchard Lake Schools was very important to the paper and should still be very important today, not just for the newspaper, but for the entire Polish community as well. In the many years I worked for the paper, I wrote of the active role the Orchard Lake Schools played and all of the missions that were organized by them. There were, of course, people who claimed that the paper didn’t impact American lives. That is simply not true”.
You mentioned the Polish Women’s Alliance. Do you remember Klara Swieczkowska?
SK: “Yes, I do. She always said: Stachu (a nickmane for Stanley), listen to what I have to say! When she fell ill, my wife and I took care of her. Then Mrs. Rychlicka took over for us. She played an enormous role in our community”.
What is more important to the Polish media today? Is it commenting on Polish politics and public life or American reality and finding our place in it?
SK: “Both topics are important. I would say almost equally. We can’t ignore Poland or America. I was the editor-in-chief during the Communist era in Poland. In 1967 I wanted to go to Poland but the communists denied me a visa. I was then was a member of the American delegates that went to Poland to try to negotiate sales transactions”.
Should letters from the community be included in the newspaper?
SK: “Of course they should. They are very important. We always placed some in our issues”.
What was the most important topic you wrote about?
SK: “It’s hard to describe one single topic. They were all important. The convention in San Francisco during the Nixon administration, going to the Vatican during the choosing of Pope John Paul II as the new pope…”
Always active in the Polish community and Polish organizations, Mr. Krajewski participates in many businesses, cultural and religious organizations. He spends a great deal of his time with the Polish National Alliance, Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, Polish Falcons of America, Polish American Congress and many others. He is also the director of KPA in Michigan. He was one of the founders of the Catholic-Jewish dialogue and initiated talks between the Catholic Church and the Polish National Church. “Working with the church was very important to me,” remembers Mr. Krajewski.
And that’s not all… Stanley Krajewski was active in the Republican Party and many other organizations. Some of them include the State Library Board, the U.S. State Department Advisory Council on Foreign Policy, the Pre-Synodal Community Affairs Committee of the former Archidiocesan Development Fund and the Catholic Services Appeal from 1971 to 1988. He was a member of the Detroit Press Club, the International Institute of Detroit, the Polish Black Conference and a member on the board of directors of New Detroit. He was always a friend and benefactor of the Orchard Lake Schools.
“A professional journalist, an amazing observer, a commentator always on target, a talented organizer, a meaningful politician, a decided speaker, a brilliant historian, an accomplished literary, an experienced traveler and an independent thinker always in search of truth, good and beauty,” describes his life in a few words. These words were dedicated to him during a ceremony in 1988, during which he received the highest honor at the Orchard Lake Schools, the Fidelitas Medal.
Stanley Krajewski and his wife Nina Troszynska have 2 daughters: Corinna (wife of Roger Weber) and Renata (her husband is Thomas Ericson). He is also a proud grandfather of 3, named Ashley, Owen, and Trevor.
I am grateful to Mr. Krajewski for spending some time with me and giving me the opportunity to talk to him. I’d also like to thank Corinna, Renata and Thomas for being there and Roger Weber for creating this wonderful opportunity. I will long remember the short time we spent together. I wish all of you the best and much prosperity. See you at the 100th birthday party!