Central Citizen’s Committee
...from a speech by Clara Swieczkowski, continued from September 22, 2006
I recall very vividly that crucial meeting of the Committee at Dom Polski - the attempts to restrict the session, the use of various parliamentary tricks to secure adjournment. Yet the ladies triumphed in the end, after nearly seven long hours of heated debate and discussion. During this lengthy parliamentary struggle, seventy-eight delegates were removed from the session. As a result, the Citizens Committee was saved from un-American infiltration and remained loyal to its ideals - the American Stars and Stripes and the White Eagle.
We who worked with the Citizens Committee in the past snail never desert it. We shall maintain continued vigilance over its fate. We shall remain always ready to serve its cause!
In 1941 Mr. John Okray became the president of the Central Citizens Committee. As in 1918, it again became necessary to start recruitment for the Polish Army. The Gentral Citizens Committee invited to Detroit General Sikorski and Minister Mikolajczyk -both of them where then touring Ametica. A great mass meeting at which they spoke was held at the Naval Armory. Later that year the organization held another great mass meeting at the Convention Hall, the main speaker at which was the Minister of Labor of the Polish government-in-exile, Mr. Stanczyk. We women entertained Mrs. Stanczyk at a luncheon which was held in her honor at the Book Cadillac Hotel.
The actual recruitment for the Polish Army started in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where 90 Polish Army Officers arrived from England to train the recruits. Work for the women then began. The Polish Women’s Relief Committee was called back to life with headquarters at Dom Poiski. Miss Helen Lorkowska was elected chairman and Mrs. Aniela Zaucha was placed in charge of the work shops which were again opened in parishes, St. Elizabeth’s and St. Ann’s Community Houses and the Federation of Polish-American Youth clubrooms.
We will never forget the mass meeting held at Dom Poiski by the Polish Women’s Committee in protest against the atrocities committed by the German soldiers on the girls and women of Poland. A protest with 5,000 signatures of American women, mostly mothers of members of the American Armed Forces, had been presented by Congressman Sadowski to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, requesting that it be placed in the congressional library.
It was in this crucial year that the World’s greatest leader and pianist, Ignacy Paderewski, passed away. This news paralyzed the world, but his memory spurred us on. Mr. Okray attended the funeral as a representative of the people of Detroit.
In 1829, we held the first parade and celebration commemorating the 150th anniversary of Gen. Casimir Pulaski’s death, and in cooperation with both the Citizens Committee and the Polish Daily Record a trip to his memorial was attended by many Detroiters. Mr. Casmer Baldyga, the editor of the Polish Daily Record, was in charge of this excursion.
I cannot close without mentioning the recent contribution of the Bibliography, which had been purchased at the cost of $1,300, to the Public Library.
The Citizens Committee has a beautiful history of work for America and the Freedom of Poland in the wars of both 1918 and 1939. I wish and pray that it will continue its wonderful work for
both the glory of our Fatherland, America the Beautiful, and for Poland, the country of our Fathers!