Sarmatia in 1953

On several occasions, I came across issues of The Sarmatian Review which I enjoyed. The title caught my eye because during my college days in Boston, I wrote articles for the newsletter of Sarmatia Universal Inc. The newsletter's name was SARMATIA SPEAKS.

In going through papers left by my father and older brother, I came across a letter written by my older brother Stanislaw R.J. Suchecki in 1953. During World War II he served in the United States Army where he saw combat and then became an interpreter in Displaced Persons Camps in Germany. I have an unpublished typewritten manuscript of over 300 pages which was copied from letters he wrote to me and my younger brother during World War II.

After graduating from Harvard University (class of 1946), my brother worked as an attorney for the City of Boston and was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney by Robert Kennedy. He served in that position until his death at the age of 44. Were he alive, I am sure he would enjoy reading and/or contributing to The Sarmatian Review.

I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by Witold Lukaszewski in San Antonio a few months ago when he was the invited speaker of a group that was hosting the executive board of the American council of Polish Culture where I am serving as one of the directors. The Sarmatian Review has a more personal meaning for me since I had my brief conversation with Mr. Lukaszewski.

I thought you might like to have a copy of my brother's letter in which he explains the name and purpose of Sarmatia International. Enclosed also is a check to cover the cost of a two-year subscription to The Sarmatian Review.

Irena Suchecki Szewiola, North Hills, California

The enclosed text runs as follows:

To: Miss Wanda Baron, Chairman, Membership Committee, the American Council of Polish Cultural Clubs, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

November 7, 1953

Dear Miss Baron:

In a plenary session on October 24, 1953 Sarmatia Universal [Sarmacja Swiatowa], Inc., Boston, MA voted to join formally The American Council of Polish Cultural Clubs, Inc. and to do its bit in helping support and expand the wonderful work being done by the Council.

Sarmatia Universal, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation (incorporated 1949) has an ideology that can be summed up in one word: POMOST, meaning a bridge or a span. A bridge or span of better understanding between the younger and the older generations of Polish Americans; between those Poles who have long settled in the United States, and those recently arrived from the European continent; between those Poles who are beyond our contry's limits and those Poles still in their native country, Poland. The building of this bridge and the aim to work together, to cooperate with one another, for the good of Poles everywhere, and for the good of the Polish name and all it stands for; for the growth of the Polish people in their communities, cities, countries and, in this growth the development of strength for purposes of unification, whenever, in the future this strength as a power of force will be needed. Every Sarmatian is an ambassador of the Polish Cause, at every opportunity, in every place. (This paragraph is based on a series of articles written by the Editor-in-Chief of the Polish Daily Courier in Boston, Mr. Karol T. Jaskolski.)

Our name, Sarmatia, a poetical name for our land of Poland, can be traced back to 200 B.C., when the first Slavs were called Sarmatians. Under this banner our organization has sponsored contests in Polish literature, art, and music. Articles, telegrams, letters and memorials have been written to interpret Poland and her rich culture to the world. In American community life in and around Greater Boston our members contributed to many community projects in order to foster better undrerstanding between Poles and peoples of other racial and national descents. Though America has been called "the melting pot," no people worthy of its name ever melts into anonymity. What happens is not a destructive process but a cultural synthesis - America. In this field, mainly by writing and lectures Sarmatia Universal, Inc., has been most effective.

During the great influx of Displaced Persons into this country, members of Sarmatia Universal, Inc., worked at the reception of Polish Displaced Persons at the Port of Boston volunteering endless hours of service as interpreters, guides, counsellors, and as warm-hearted friends. We held receptions in honor of these "Delayed Pilgrims" and offered them full membership in our Society to help them overcome their shyness and find their rightful place with us.

Stanislaw R.J. Suchecki, Boston, MA

Editor's comment: S.R.J.Suchecki graduated from Harvard in 1946 with a B.A. in Political Science (Cum Laude). His thesis was titled "The Sovietization of Poland."

Norman Davies' predecessors

The interesting review of Norman Davies' EUROPE: A HISTORY in the January issue of The Sarmatian Review rightly stresses the author's main contribution: the integration of East Central Europe into the mainstream of European history. While stressing this innovative approach it would not be fair, however, to forget some prominent American historians who had played a pioneering role in this respect. I have in mind R. R. Palmer, professor at Princeton and Yale, whose pathbreaking classic, The Age of the Democratic Revolution, incorporated Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia in his presentation. What is more, Palmer's textbook on modern European history considered by many the best in the field and widely used for a long time also contains a brief but accurate and systematic coverage of our part of Europe.

Piotr Wandycz, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

On "Pollacks"

Would you consider writing and publishing in The Sarmatian Review an article on the etymology of the word "Pollack?" What about Shakespeare's use of the term? I myself do not find it offensive, nor do many of my Pollack friends. As we say in Connecticut, we have been proud to be Pollacks all our lives.

Charles P. Bukowski, Cos Cob, Connecticut

Editor's comment: If a people feels insulted when called in English by the name which they have given to themselves in their own language, then they have a problem. Polak is the word used in Polish for Pole, a Polish person. In an anglicized form, it becomes Pollack. We likewise do not feel offended by it. We would welcome an academic article on this moniker, subject to the usual peer review process.

Indeed Shakespeare repeatedly used the term in Hamlet, as in the conversation between the King and Voltimand concerning a Polish-Danish war:
King. Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies, which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness...

And [Fortinbras'] commission, to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack
With an entreaty....

Compliments department

Thank you for the September issue of The Sarmatian Review. I read it from cover to cover and found it extremely interesting. I especially appreciated the Olszewski interview, published without comment and without attempts by the editor to direct the reader in this or that direction. I also enjoyed Professor Lukaszewski's article. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find in-depth treatment of Polish and Central European affairs in current media and periodicals. I know; I have searched. I wish I heard about your publication years ago. It is amazing how much information you have been able to squeeze into the relatively few pages. I enclose a subscription check.

Janet Franczek, Detroit, Michigan

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