Polish Refugees and the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee


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About the Book

The end of World War II found a devastated Poland under Soviet occupation. Many Poles—those displaced to work camps in Germany, those in German concentration and P.O.W. camps, and those still in Poland made the decision to immigrate to the United States. Their journey, however, would not be easy. The rigors of the war had affected America as well, and immigration laws were strict. Fortunately, many Polish refugees received help from the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee (PAIRC). Founded in 1947 to help Polish citizens displaced by World War II, the committee continued its work as the postwar period became the Cold War era and Poles continued to flee the communist regime.
This study of the PAIRC and its work includes both the broad history of the committee and stories of specific individuals, which add detail and lend insight into the plight of the refugees and the importance of the advocacy that the committee provided. Drawing on information from committee archives and firsthand consultations with prominent members, this book covers such topics as American immigration law, aid for the Polish Republic, and the effect of political change in Poland itself. It also discusses how the downfall of the communist government transformed Poland into a country that opened its own arms to the world’s refugees.

About the Author(s)

The late Janusz Cisek was a professor and chair of European studies at Jagiellonian University, former Deputy Mayor of his hometown, Stalowa Wola, and Deputy Director of the Department of International Relations and European Integration at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Warsaw, Poland. He lived in Warsaw and New York City.

Albert S. Juszczak teaches Polish at New York University in New York City and is the former President of the Kosciuszko Foundation. He lives in Elmhurst, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Janusz Cisek
Foreword by Janusz Krzyzanowski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 259
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2294-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Janusz Krzyzanowski      1
Introduction      9

I. The Genesis of the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee in New York      11
II. A Survey of U.S. Immigration Law      14
III. The Polish American Community and the Problem of Aid for the Polish Republic During World War II      18
IV. The Committee’s Founding and the First Period of Activity      38
V. Other Engagements in the Years 1948–1957      71
VI. A Who’s Who in the Initial Years      83
VII. The Conclusion of the First Phase of Activity: A Summation of the Years 1947–1958      94
VIII. Enlarging the Scope of Operations: The Field Offices      103
IX. The Branches Abroad      115
X. The Committee Fights to Amend Immigration Laws      126
XI. Swimming with the Tide: Scaling Down, and Transformations      133
XII. Activity in the Years 1980–1990      187
XIII. A Review of Immigration Law in the Years 1980–1990      204
XIV. Political Changes in Poland: The Committee’s Activity in the Years 1990–2000      207
XV. A Summing Up and Conclusions      215

Notes      219
Bibliography      231
Index      239

Book Reviews & Awards

“fill[s] important gaps…get this book”—Polish American Journal.