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The 115th Aniversary Celebration of The Polish Weekly/Tygodnik Polski

By November 10, 2019November 12th, 2022No Comments5 min read

The Friends of the Polish Weekly invite our readers and friends to join us on November 16 in celebrating the 115th Birthday of the Polish Weekly (formerly the Polish Daily News/Dziennik Polski).
In the history of the Polonian community, newspapers played a significant role in the maintenance and promotion of the culture and language of the homeland. Besides its informational role, the Polish Weekly has been essential in fulfilling those tasks for 115 years.

The first issue of Dziennik Polski (now the Polish Weekly) appeared in March of 1904 and was the first ethnic newspaper of metropolitan Detroit. The Polish Daily News was established by ten individuals, led by Rev. Franciszek Halicki, the first editor, with an initial capital of $ 36,000.

Among the first editors, we can trace W. Halicki, Jozef Gardulski, Janusz Ostrowski, J. Kowalczyk, B.M. Zieliński, Henryk Pijanowski, Jozef Karasiewicz, Frank Januszewski, Franciszek Barc, W. Barr, Stanislaus Trojanowski, M. Gmernicki, Artur Waldo, J. Ostrowski, and from 1960 until 1988, Stanley Krajewski. In addition to those already mentioned, the following worked as editors and/or reporters: Helena Gaik, Jan Zych, Dr. Jerzy Nowotny, Adam Sarnacki, Tadeusz Czechowski, Ewa Matuszewska, Ewa Juńczyk-Ziomecka, Michael Szymanski, Sebastian Szczepański, Barbara Gronet, and many more. Today, in 2019, the editor-in-chief is Dr. Alicja Karlic. In past years, as well as today, volunteers did much of writing and translating.
We are going to celebrate 115 years.

I believe this is the time to recall some of the original creators of the Dziennik Polski, Poles deeply involved in the cultivation of Polish culture, active members of the community, and participants in its social and political life. I was privileged to meet one of them, Mr. Stanley Krajewski. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a lengthier conversation with him and being able to share with you some of the interesting facts from our paper’s past.

One of the best-known journalists and activists was Frank Januszewski. He arrived in Detroit in 1912 and hired in with the Dziennik Polski. During the First World War, he was a staunch supporter of the Polish National Defense Committee. During the following years of his journalistic work, he took up several important projects and offices, became the leader of the Polish language press, and ranked in the top positions within “The Polish Publishers and Editors Guild of the United States.”

Januszewski engaged many notable correspondents, like Ignacy Matuszewski, Stanislaw Mickiewicz, and others from London, Paris, Rome, etc.
In 1939, Januszewski was an essential voice of Polonia’s political stance on behalf of Poland. In 1942, he and a friend, Maximilian Węgrzynek, publisher of the Nowy Dziennik in New York, played a vital role in the formation of the National Committee of Americans of Polish Descent, whose task it was to promote the interests of Poland in America. In 1944, both of these journalists worked with Charles Rozmarek. He was a Republican whose outlook was anti-Russian, and he played an essential role in influencing Michigan Senator Arthur Vanderberg. Vanderberg was among the first to address in the Senate the Russian expansion in Poland. Along with Maximilian Węgrzynek, he was active in the creation of the Piłsudski Institute in New York. Januszewski became its first president.

I also want to mention an extraordinary figure in the history of American Polonia, a journalist of the Dziennik Polski, Artur Leonard Waldo. He was the editor of the Polish Daily News in Detroit from 1924, and the editor of Weteran, the press arm of the Polish Army Veterans (SWAP). Waldo organized the Committee of J. Piłsudski in Detroit, to establish and maintain ties and exchange information with the elites of the Polish intelligentsia. He held a series of lectures and academic panels in the local university as well as in Polish societies and organizations. In 1928, he organized the Society of Friends of Polish Books in Detroit. It was thanks to his requests that Jan Żukowski’s bookstore “Księgarnia Ludowa” in Detroit began to import books from Poland on history, literature, and technology, as well as albums, schoolbooks, and devotionals in Polish. Reasonable prices contributed to the fact that the Friends of Polish Books chapters throughout American ordered materials from that very place.

In February of 1928, Waldo was elected chair of the Board of the Federation of Polish College Students. He ran a radio broadcast in Detroit, devoted to Polish music, including religious and classical songs. He also studied journalism at the University of Michigan. In 1929, he started the work of organizing Polish schools, which were helping with the education of youth studying in public schools. Waldo also initiated the first board of the Saturday Polish School in Detroit. While with the Dziennik Polski, he created The Polish National Alliance (PNA). From 1930, he was the secretary of the Polish Pen Club in Detroit. Its members consisted of young journalists, poets, and writers from different parts of the country. During its meetings, discussions were held on new writers’ debuts, and selected texts were published in the Polonian press. Waldo also made possible the issuance of a postal stamp featuring Kazimierz Pułaski. It topped the records of circulation and was reprinted several times. In 1934, thanks to Waldo’s efforts, the U.S. Postal Services issued a stamp featuring Tadeusz Kościuszko. In May of 1939, Waldo took the position of adviser on Polish-American affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. World War II broke out while he was in Lviv. Since Waldo was a U.S. citizen, thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, he was able to obtain Soviet visas allowing some two hundred U.S. citizens of Polish, Jewish, and Ukrainian descent to depart safely. He returned to the United States on March 15, 1940.

I have already written in earlier issues of the Polish Weekly about Stanisław Krajewski. Remembering these remarkable figures, former journalists and editors of the Dziennik Polski should remind you just how great the efforts to support the Polish culture in Detroit and America used to be.

I hope that the Polish Weekly/Tygodnik Polski will receive a monographic study.

Today, I would like to invite you to the Dinner-Dance Gala of the 115th Anniversary Celebration of the Polish Weekly on November 16, 2019.
The organizing committee is preparing many attractions, surprise entertainment, and more.
Please join us for this fun-filled celebration. The need for subscribers, advertisers, and community support is ongoing.
See you on November 16 at the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy!

Alicja Karlic