Polish Senator Anders at the Cultural Gardens
Our trail of positive activism continued at our next event, a press conference at the Polish Cultural Garden featuring U.S. Congressperson Marcy Kaptur (who recognized us and waved when she first arrived) and Senator Anna Maria Anders of the Republic of Poland who also serves as a Secretary of State and the Plenipotentiary for International Dialogue.
In 2016 Senator Anders was honored by the Nowodworski Foundation for championing Polish-Cultural Exchange. The biography that appeared on its website read in part that "Anna Maria Anders travels all over the world meeting political leaders and promoting Poland's image. She meets with young Poles to share her late father's belief that education is the best tool for Poland's development. In the United States she meets with Polonia leaders wishing to build a bridge between Poland and America and encouraging Polish people in the U.S. to invest in Poland."
Her father was the famous Polish general Władysław Anders whose bravery is documented in the Trail of Hope exhibition that will be featured at the Polish American Cultural Center until September 30th of this year. As a press release issued by the Center indicated, the exhibition documents "the formation of the Polish Army in the Soviet Union under the command of General Władysław Anders..." and "shows the evacuation of Polish soldiers and civilians from Soviet Russia to Iran in a broad historical context, starting with the Soviet aggression against Poland on September 17, 1939 and, and the Polish Soviet agreement of July 30, 1941. The latter lead to the formation of a Polish army from the survivors of some 1.5 million Poles who had been captured by the Soviets in 1939, or later deported to the Soviet Union. The army's commander was General Anders, hence the name Anders’ Army. Polish soldiers under General Anders' command fought along with the British 8th Army, as the so-called Polish Second Corps, crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. In May, 1944, they captured Monte Cassino, a strategic victory for the allies in Italy."
It was this exhibition that prompted Senator Anders to be here at this time. She was born in London and is the widow of a U.S. Army officer as well as the mother of a son who is also serving in the U.S. Army. Thus, she has citizenship status in several countries and believes that this gives her a unique perspective. In her remarks, she called for the enhancement of relations between Poland and the United States, particularly in the contexts of trade, education and the security, to continue because it can only be for the best for both countries.
Very much involved in U.S./Poland relationship building is U.S. Congressperson Kaptur who works closely with Senator Anders in this area. At this time, she turned her attention to the Trail of Hope exhibition, which she believed was very important because it was a record of a time in Polish history that has many gaps in its documentation due to the destruction caused by the war.
Along these lines, as the press release from the Cultural Center noted, the Trail of Hope exhibition was co-hosted by Mr. Andrew Bajda, an assistant professor at Tri-C, who is the son of Marian Bajda, a highly honored Polish army veteran who served with General Anders. A book by Mr. Bajda entitled Captured in Liberation is a presentation of "his father's story about the power of freedom and strength of family."
To be sure, Senator Anders was in Cleveland for a good part of the weekend and we thank our friend Mr. Joseph Feckanin for keeping us abreast of other cultural activities that she took part as we could not attend.
As we were writing this blog, Mr. Feckanin forwarded to us this link to a story posted on Cleveland.com on September 24th written by Mr. Brian Albrecht about the Trail of Hope exhibition and the history that it depicts: