The Polish American Congress is an umbrella organization that represents approximately ten million Americans of Polish descent. It was founded in 1944 with the aim of representing the interests of the Polish nation in the view of the Soviet plans to subjugate Poland and at the same time of promoting the Polish American ethnic group in the United States. It is the largest and longest-lasting Polish American organization of it’s kind.
This volume presents goals and everyday activities of the Polish American Congress under the presidencies of Charles Rozmarek (1944-1968) and Aloysius Mazewski (1968-1988) who shaped its image in the Cold War era. It deals with the issues of both the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the PAC in representing Polish American interests, as a coordinator of various Polish American endeavors, as a lobbying organization, and as an institution providing cultural and social unity for Poles in America. It discusses internal and external factors that influenced the Congress, portrays the personalities of its activists and examines the PAC’s achievements and faults.
Despite its significance in both the Polish American community and the political clout which it wields, the PAC has not attracted much scholarly attention. This book is based on the research conducted at the Immigration History Research Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the materials of the national headquarters are deposited, and in other American and Polish archives where supplementary materials and holdings of local PAC branches can be found.
Joanna Wojdon is an associate professor at the Institute of History, University of Wrocław (Poland). The history of Polish Americans after WWII is one of her major research interests, alongside the history of education under communist regime. Her research in the Polish American archives was possible thanks to the Kosciuszko Foundation Fellowship (2003) and Fulbright Senior Award (2014).