On September 1, 2019 eighty years have passed since the outbreak of World War II. The war and six years of the German and Soviet occupation became a great tragedy for Poland and the Polish people. Poland lost six million of its citizens, including 3 million Polish Jews, over 20% of its total prewar population. No other country affected by the war suffered such great human, political, and economic losses. The Polish intelligentsia and landed gentry suffered the most that virtually ceased to exist as a social class.
These facts, and the loyalty, great heroism, and military and organizational efforts made by the Poles during the war on all fronts, including the Polish Underground State, the Warsaw Uprising, and military contribution to the victory of the Allies over the Third Reich, etc, are generally well known in our society. However, this is not the case in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, we often also witness negative stereotypes, false narratives, myths, and indictments of Poland and its people, in the United States and other Western countries. Distortions of historical facts take place not only in the media, but also in feature films, in statements made by politicians, and are often propagated in academic environments. It is particularly appalling when Poland and Poles are falsely accused of being Nazi collaborators, at times even as the perpetrators of the genocide of Europe’s Jewish citizens carried out by the German Third Reich.
The governing political leadership in Poland and abroad have a special responsibility to defend the good name of Poland and the reputation of Poles everywhere. This is not only the collective responsibility of our generation but also our personal duty. The defense of historical truth is our individual obligation as Poles regardless of what differences of opinion in other matters may exist among us. We are the descendants of the highly patriotic generations that came before us; to them, we owe our identity and our glorious history. We should not and cannot passively look away as our history is being distorted. Defending the truth about the war against Poland, about the crimes committed against our nation, and the sacrifices made fighting totalitarian regimes is our responsibility in the present and our duty to future generations.
For these reasons, in connection with the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, we have organized the International Historical Conference “Poland First to Fight”. The conference will take place on November 18-20, 2019 at the prestigious National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The conference is a grassroots initiative developed by Polish-Americans and Poles living abroad, in conjunction with leading Polish historians. We plan to convey to Americans the dramatic and complicated fate of Poland and its citizens during the war, and the consequences which, in some respects, linger to this today. The conference’s target audiences include: elected officials and their staffers, journalists, historians, archivists, librarians, museum workers, education department personnel, filmmakers, and the media.
The conference organizers are representatives of Polish organizations in the USA and Europe, which at the present time include: Polonia Institute, Polish Media Issues, Coalition of Polish Americans, Polish American Congress, and Polish American Strategic Initiative.
We, the Polish Americans and others living in Polish communities throughout the world, will bear the entire cost associated with organizing the Conference. For this purpose, members of the Conference Organizing Committee, who have worked tirelessly on the project for months “pro publico bono”, hereby announce the formation of:
“Poland First to Fight” Conference Fund
Our goal is to collect $100,000 by 30 September 2019.
All, even the smallest donations, are very important. All individuals and organizations donating to the conference will be if they wish, listed on our website and in the printed conference materials.
Support the truth! If we do not claim our own history, someone else will write it for us! Spread the information! DONATE NOW!
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Account Name: Polish American Charities of Southern California
Financial Institution: POLAM Federal Credit Union
Address of Financial Institution: 589 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004, USA
Routing #: 322078927
Account #: 5560008
Make a check to Polish American Charities of Southern California
Write “Poland First To Fight” in the memo line mail it to:
Polish American Charities of Southern California
c/o Edward W. Jeśman
3400 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 USA
Polish American Charities of Southern California is listed by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. All donations are tax-deductible in the United States.
We thank you for your co-operation.
Executive Committee of the “Poland Fight to First” Conference
Dr Marek Błażejak, Chair
Dr Stanisław Śliwowski
Edward Wojciech Jeśman
Krystyna Zamorska, Ph.D.
Artur D. Zyśk