WBEZ | Poland http://www.wbez.org/tags/poland Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Poland Elections: Chicago's Polish community to vote in upcoming elections http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-07/poland-elections-chicagos-polish-community-vote-upcoming-elections <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Polish%20elections%20chicago%20main%20.JPG" title="(photo by Dan Pogorzelski)" /><br /><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204396854&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe>Chicago&#39;s &#39;Polonia&#39; to vote in Poland&#39;s elections</span></span></p><p>Poland will hold presidential elections this weekend. &nbsp;Candidates include the current president, a former tv star and &nbsp;Polish punk rock star Paweł Kukiz, who is polling third. &nbsp;President Bronislaw Komorowski had been leading but it remains unclear whether he&rsquo;ll get enough votes in this weekend&rsquo;s election to avoid a runoff. Poles in Chicago will vote on Saturday at six different polling stations around the city. &nbsp;We look at the candidates, the issues, and how the vote is expected to play out in the Chicago community with Dan Pogorelski and Wojciech Wloch<strong>.</strong></p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p><em>Dan Pogorelski is a&nbsp; writer and editor at <a href="http://forgottenchicago.com/">Forgotten Chicago</a> and a Chicago election judge.</em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.neiu.edu/academics/staff/wojciech-wloch">Wojciech Wloch</a><strong> </strong>is coordinator of International Partnerships at Northeastern Illinois University.&nbsp; He&rsquo;s originally from Poland.</em><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204396141&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Israel: Netanyahu forms new government</span></span></p><p>On Wednesday, just an hour before a looming deadline, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he had &nbsp;succeeded in forming a coalition government. Netanyahu&rsquo;s Likud party won 30 seats in the March election. The main rival party won 24. &nbsp;He had six weeks to form a ruling coalition government, which proved a difficult task. Many analysts have said the coalition, which is made up of entirely right-wing parties and has a very narrow majority, could have a hard time governing and might not last very long. &nbsp;We&rsquo;ll discuss the bargaining that went into forming the government with political science professor, Gideon Rahat.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong></p><p><em>Gideon Rahat is a professor of political science at Hebrew University and director of research of the Israel Democracy Institute&rsquo;s Political Reform Project.</em><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204397876&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></div><p><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Global Activism in India: Pravah helps youth overcome caste and sexism</span></span></p><p>We continue our <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/water/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888">Global Activism in India series</a> with a visit to Delhi. We and India Development Service, met with the NGO, Community Youth Collective Learning and Leadership Journey is a partnering initiative of the NGO, Pravah. The project tries to inspire India&rsquo;s youth to become leaders and overcome traditional societal barriers, such as class and sexism. Pravah received attention when co- director, Neha Buch, introduced President Obama before one of his speeches during his visit to India. We&rsquo;ll chat with Pravah&#39;s Sonal Chaturvedi and young people about how they now dream and achieve in areas that at one time were cut off from them.</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-ebcdae0c-2fe7-fb4c-6770-c3d051646fd7"><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Nila Vora is with <a href="http://idsusa.org/">India Development Service</a>.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Sonal Chaturvedi is co-director of <a href="http://pravah.org/content/">Pravah</a>.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>EVENT</strong></p><p><strong>Jerome McDonnell and Steve Bynum of WBEZ&#39;s <em>Worldview</em> and </strong><strong>India Development Service (IDS)</strong><strong> share their adventures in India</strong></p><p>Sunday, May 17th, 2015, 5:00pm-7:30pm</p><p>The Meadows Club</p><p>2950 Golf Road, Rolling Meadows</p><p>Free of Charge - Dinner Included</p><p><strong><a href="https://mycity.sulekha.com/development-unveiled_buy_2090130">Reserve Tickets Here</a></strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204416685&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Joan of Arc and the Battle of Orleans</span></span><br />On May 7, 1429, Joan of Arc helped lead the French army to victory in Orleans. Though she didn&rsquo;t command the army, she wore armor and carried a large banner near the head of the troops as they went into battle. Historian John Schmidt tells us what happened.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong></p><p>John Schmidt is an historian and editor of the blog, <a href="https://chicagohistorytoday.wordpress.com/"><em>Chicago History Today</em></a> and author of the book <em>On This Day in Chicago History</em></p></p> Thu, 07 May 2015 14:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-07/poland-elections-chicagos-polish-community-vote-upcoming-elections The rise of Casimir Pulaski Day http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/rise-casimir-pulaski-day-111624 <p><p>Casimir Pulaski Day. If you grew up in Illinois in the 1980s or 1990s (or, if you raised a kid at the time), you probably remember a school and government holiday &mdash; the first Monday in March &mdash; that most of the rest of the country does not observe.</p><p>Nic Levy, our question asker, remembers coming to Oak Park in fifth grade and being surprised. &ldquo;There was this holiday I saw on the calendar,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t pronounce it. I asked my parents. They also didn&rsquo;t know because they were from New England.&rdquo;</p><p>Nic remembers that one of his history teachers added a short aside about Pulaski during his class&rsquo;s unit on the Revolutionary War, so he grew up understanding that Pulaski was a hero of that war and that he was from Poland. But all that info was about the hero. For help with the holiday, he sent us this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How did Casimir Pulaski Day become a public holiday in Illinois?</em></p><p>We let Nic, a history buff, take a crack at an answer. He guessed that Casimir Pulaski Day came about as an expression of Polish-American pride, maybe in the 1970s or 1980s.</p><p>&ldquo;After the &lsquo;60s, there was this climate in the U.S., not just of ethnic tolerance, but of celebration of different cultures in cities across America,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I feel like that kind of started in the &lsquo;70s.&rdquo;</p><p>Nic&rsquo;s on the right track, but the details make the story worth telling. Just consider what was working <em>against</em> the state holiday: Casimir died more than two hundred years ago, he never set foot in Illinois, the community that adored him arrived in Chicago nearly a century after he died, and, it turns out, he&rsquo;s not even the most famous Polish-American war hero.</p><p>The story behind this most &ldquo;Illinois&rdquo; of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it&rsquo;s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Casimir Pulaski: Polish Patriot, American Volunteer</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with Count Casimir Pulaski the man. He grew up in the struggle of Polish patriots against the neighboring powers that sought to annex or assert control over what was at the time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the time he was 22, he was fighting against the new Polish King Stanislaw II, who was seen by many as a puppet of the Russians. Pulaski became an important cavalry officer in a series of wars. But by 1775, the conflict had gone badly for the Polish patriots, and he was exiled to France. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin, who recruited him to come to America, to fight in the Revolutionary War.</p><p>Columbia College historian Dominic Pacyga says Pulaski considered the American Colonists&#39; fight for independence from Great Britain as similar to Poland&rsquo;s own struggle for independence.</p><p>&ldquo;There was this revolutionary spirit, the Enlightenment was going on, soon there was going to be the French Revolution,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;So a lot of people were wrapped up in this revolutionary fervor that was going through the West at this time, and they ended up in the United States.&rdquo;<a name="painting"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="363" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//www.thinglink.com/card/627225578885349377" type="text/html" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><strong>Above: Click on the painting&#39;s hotspots to hear about the artist&#39;s motifs. </strong>Analysis comes from experts at The Polish Museum of America. Painting:&nbsp;<em>Brigadier General Kazimierz Pulaski mortally wounded at the battle of Savannah on the 9th of October 1779</em>&nbsp;by Stanislaw Batowski Kaczor.&nbsp;</span></p><p>George Washington and other Colonial leaders were skeptical of these European idealists because not all of them lived up to their billing as great soldiers. But Ben Franklin helped Pulaski by writing a letter of recommendation to George Washington, describing the Pole as &ldquo;&hellip; an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery and conduct in defense of the liberties of his country.&rdquo; Although the Continental Congress wouldn&rsquo;t approve a commission, Washington allowed Pulaski to enlist informally. Casimir Pulaski then proved himself at the <a href="http://www.ushistory.org/brandywine/thestory.htm" target="_blank">Battles of Brandywine</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Germantown" target="_blank">Germantown</a>, and George Washington named him a Brigadier General and the first Commander of the American Cavalry.</p><p>At first, American soldiers balked at the idea of fighting under a &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; officer. So, in March of 1778, Congress organized the Pulaski Legion, which was made up of mostly &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; soldiers &mdash; Colonists and volunteers from France, Germany, and Poland. Pulaski&rsquo;s Legion turned the tide at the skirmish at Egg Harbor, New York. In May, they drove the British out of Charleston, South Carolina.</p><p>But just a few months later, Pulaski died from a mortal wound he received in Savannah, Georgia. In the Early Republic, Pulaski was remembered as a Revolutionary hero, alongside his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette. Several new towns and counties were named &ldquo;Pulaski&rdquo; in his memory.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Pulaski&rsquo;s backers in the Polish-American community</span></p><p>Pulaski remained a great hero in his homeland as well, a sentiment that wasn&rsquo;t forgotten when Poles began arriving in the United States. If Pulaski hadn&rsquo;t had a community that respected his achievements, who knows if there would have been Casimir holiday.</p><p>By 1800, the independent Polish state had been divided between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Poles began immigrating to Chicago in the 1860s as economic refugees from lands where they were ethnic minorities and often disenfranchised.</p><p>White Anglo-Saxon Protestants saw themselves as the &ldquo;real&rdquo; Americans, and they did not always welcome Poles with open arms.</p><p>&ldquo;They are from the other Europe. They have the names nobody can pronounce, they&rsquo;re not Protestants. There&rsquo;s a good deal of anti-Polish prejudice at the time,&rdquo; Pacyga says. Because of this, he says, Polish Americans used Casimir Pulaski &mdash; alongside the other Polish revolutionary hero, Tadeusz Kosciuskzko &mdash; as a symbol that Poles had contributed to the American Republic from the very beginning.</p><p>As early as the 1930s, Polish Americans in Chicago lobbied for public recognition of Casimir Pulaski. Their first major victory was a declaration, in 1933, that the former <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1427.html" target="_blank">&ldquo;Crawford Road&rdquo; in Chicago would now be &ldquo;Pulaski Road.&rdquo;</a> According to Dominic Pacyga, many of the merchants and the shopkeepers in the area were not happy about <a name="wherescasimir"></a>the new name. &ldquo;They have to change letterheads, they have to change addresses, they have to mail out letters saying they&rsquo;re no longer on Crawford Road.&rdquo; For more than a decade, the issue remained contentious.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/where%27s%20casimir%20topper.png" style="height: 143px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="500px" src="https://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/curiouscity.l9pnj16d/attribution,zoompan,zoomwheel,geocoder,share.html?access_token=pk.eyJ1IjoiY3VyaW91c2NpdHkiLCJhIjoibGM3MUJZdyJ9.8oAw072QHl4POJ3fRQAItQ" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><strong>Above: Local historian Dan Pogorzelski says there&#39;s no statue of Casimir Pulaski in Chicago</strong>, but there are still places to find the Polish war hero around the city. Here are a few of Pogorzelski&#39;s suggestions. Anything missing? If you&#39;ve spotted Casimir somewhere else, write us at curiouscity@wbez.org and we&rsquo;ll add it to the map.</span></p><p>In 1944 a streetcar conductor got into a fight with a Polish-Chicagoan when he referred to the Pulaski Road stop as &ldquo;Crawford Road.&rdquo; But in the end, Pulaski Road stuck, due to support from the Democratic political machine. Pacyga says: &ldquo;In the Democratic Party, the Poles [were] an important faction, and they were able to pull it off.&rdquo;</p><p>Much of Chicago&rsquo;s Polish-American history, including the importance of Pulaski, is preserved at the Polish Museum of America. The museum, which occupies much of the headquarters of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, sits on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, near the traditional &ldquo;Polish downtown.&rdquo;</p><p>Malgorzata Kot, the museum&rsquo;s managing director, says Polish Americans relate to Pulaski because he was a soldier. He fought for freedom and independence in Poland and America, and he had to fight for acceptance when he came to America. She says Polish Americans relate to those struggles, and see them as at the center of their history. &ldquo;Kazimierz [Casimir] Pulaski is a symbol of a Pole who was important in Poland, who risked it all to come here and fight for your freedom and ours.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Casimir&rsquo;s day arrives </span></p><p>The Polish-American community that remembered Casimir so fondly did everything it could to get the political system to recognize him. The persistance paid off.</p><p>In the 1970s, the Polish American Congress in Chicago took up the cause of a statewide Casimir Pulaski holiday. In 1977, they succeeded in getting a law passed designating the first Monday in March &ldquo;Casimir Pulaski Day.&rdquo; This was only a commemorative day, meaning Illinois schools, public offices and banks stayed open.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/first%20pulaski%20day%20maybe.jpg" title="Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker signs the Pulaski Day bill September 9, 1973 at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. First a commemorative holiday, Pulaski Day became an official public holiday in 1985. (Photo courtesy Polish Museum of America)" /></div><p>The lobbying efforts simmered for years, and gathered momentum again in 1985 when State Senator Leroy Lemke <a href="http://www.luminpdf.com/files/14235190/ST052185%20CASIMIR%20PULASKI%20FLOOR%20DEBATE.pdf" target="_blank">introduced a bill in the Illinois Senate</a> to make Casimir Pulaski Day a full public holiday. It would give public schools and some government offices a day off, at the governor&rsquo;s discretion.</p><p>Speaking in support, Senator Thaddeus Lechowicz cast the law as part and parcel of the ethnic pride movements increasingly common in American cities. &ldquo;Every ethnic group, every racial group has a person or persons they that they see have contributed to an extra degree in making this country great. ... Casimir Pulaski fills that need for Polish Americans,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Dominic Pacyga says the timing suggests the bill got traction due to the recent passage, in 1983, of a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., the slain civil rights activist. Lawmakers knew Martin Luther King Day would go into effect the next year, in 1986. Pacyga says the &ldquo;white ethnic&rdquo; community, including Poles, Jews, Italians, Greeks, Irish, wanted something similar. &ldquo;There was a feeling the white ethnic community should also have a day, and in Illinois, it made sense to make it Pulaski Day, because the Polish community is so large in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Retired State Senator Calvin Schuneman still remembers how the debate played in 1985. At the time, <a href="http://www.luminpdf.com/files/14235190/ST052185%20CASIMIR%20PULASKI%20FLOOR%20DEBATE.pdf" target="_blank">he raised concerns about the holiday</a>, and thirty years later, he has the same concerns.</p><p>&ldquo;If it&rsquo;s going to be a state holiday where government offices are going to be closed and schools are going to be dismissed, I think we have enough of those holidays.&rdquo; For Schuneman, who represented portions of western Illinois, this was a matter of Chicago politicians pushing something that didn&rsquo;t make sense for the rest of the state.</p><p>&ldquo;It was good politics for them,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;but there certainly was no demand for recognizing Casimir Pulaski in my district.&rdquo;</p><p>The law did pass, though, and Governor Jim Thompson fulfilled the terms of the bill and declared a public school holiday across the state. Some municipal offices chose to close in honor of Casimir Pulaski, as did some banks. That freed many people up to visit the Polish Museum of America on Pulaski Day.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rahm%20pulaski%20day.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the Polish Museum of America on Casimir Pulaski Day in 2014. In 2012, negotiations between Emanuel and the Chicago Teacher’s Union resulted in Chicago Public Schools dropping Pulaski Day as a day off from school. (Photo courtesy Polish Museum of America)" /></div><p>Every year on Pulaski Day, the president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, currently Joseph Drobot Jr., presides over a formal ceremony honoring Casimir Pulaski. The Great Hall at the museum can hold up to 500 people, and he says it&rsquo;s usually full during the ceremony. There&rsquo;s an honor guard in bright red and blue eighteenth century cavalry uniforms. The event is open to the public and there&rsquo;s free Polish food. According to Drobot, &ldquo;This being an election year, there will be many politicians. It&rsquo;s an opportunity to be seen.&rdquo;</p><p>The ceremony is always held in front of the centerpiece of the Museum&rsquo;s Great Hall: a fifteen- foot-wide painting of Casimir Pulaski, painted by Stanislaw Batowski. It depicts Pulaski&rsquo;s mortal wounding at Savannah.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Whittling away Casimir Pulaski Day</span></p><p>While memory of Casimir Pulaski is alive and well at the Polish Museum of America, his holiday has been chipped away in the state&rsquo;s public schools.</p><p>In 1995 the legislature made Casimir Pulaski Day optional. Individual school districts in Illinois could apply for a waiver to opt out. Downstate districts were the first to seek waivers.</p><p>By 2009, 74 percent of the districts chose to keep school open on Pulaski Day. And in 2012, Chicago Public Schools dropped Pulaski Day during negotiations between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teacher&rsquo;s Union.</p><p>When this happened, many Polish Americans felt disrespected, and even hurt. One <a href="http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/03/columbus.html" target="_blank">commenter on a blog post wrote</a>: &ldquo;So to sum it up, it took over 200 years for America to acknowledge the man and only in Illinois because of Chicago&#39;s large Polish population and a few decades later we are getting rid of the holiday.&rdquo;</p><p>But historian Dominic Pacyga says, while it might be a shame to lose the holiday, it&rsquo;s also part of what always happens with ethnic immigrant culture in America.</p><p>&ldquo;Many Polish Americans have assimilated. Seventy-five to 80 percent live in suburbs instead of Chicago,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;When you all live in Chicago, you had a lot of clout, when you live in 100 to 200 municipalities, your clout is fragmented. So the lesson is: Stay in Chicago. Come on back home, and we&rsquo;ll get Pulaski Day back.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_0.jpg" style="height: 267px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="(Photo courtesy Nic Levy)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Nic Levy, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Nic Levy, who asked Curious City to investigate Casimir Pulaski Day, agrees with Pacyga&rsquo;s take that the loss of the holiday is just part of how history works. Nic does feel that having memories of Pulaski Day is something that will define his generation in the decades to come. He enjoys thinking about how history affects geography, as in how the contributions of a Polish nobleman in the 18th century, could change the name of a Chicago road in the twentieth.</p><p>He&rsquo;s studying geography now, at McGill University in Montreal. He says his interest in geography and history began as a teenager in Chicago, right when he started driving. He used maps to plan routes, and was fascinated by the names of the streets, Chicago&rsquo;s orderly grid plan, and the way the grid intersected with the geography of the river, canals, and the lake.</p><p><em>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s audio producer.</em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the managing director of the Polish Museum of America. The correct spelling is&nbsp;Malgorzata Kot.</em></p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/rise-casimir-pulaski-day-111624 Polish Village hopes immigration reform leads to revival http://www.wbez.org/news/polish-village-hopes-immigration-reform-leads-revival-107990 <p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s Polish Village was once a thriving community, with a cluster of old-fashioned delis open during the day and a hopping club scene at night. Visit the retail corridor along northwest Milwaukee Avenue today, and you still see Polish money exchanges, travel agencies and restaurants. But like a lot of ethnic enclaves that were once initial landing pads for immigrants, the neighborhood has seen better days, Now, some in Polish Village believe the area is ripe for revitalization thanks to immigration reform.</p><p>The recently-passed Senate immigration bill contains a provision that would loosen visa requirements for visitors from several countries, including Poland. It focuses on tweaking the Visa Waiver Program, under which visitors from dozens of countries enjoy fast-lane privileges when they visit the U.S. Right now, Poland is not one of them.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Polish%20Village%203_1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="Many businesses in Polish Village sit closed and vacant. Ski’s Lounge, an unassuming bar, is a recent casualty. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></p><p>&ldquo;You have to sink over $100 just to have the chance to maybe come,&rdquo; explained Dan Pogorzelski, Executive Director of the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce. &ldquo;You have an interview process and people have said numerous times that they can ask very invasive, very degrading questions when they&rsquo;re waiting.&rdquo;</p><p>Indeed, Poles hoping to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days pay a $160 non-refundable visa application fee. After that, the U.S. embassy or Consulate in Poland has full discretion to grant or deny a person&rsquo;s bid to come, based on their assessment of how likely the individual is to attempt overstaying the visa illegally.</p><p>In Chicago, loosening those travel requirements could be a boon to the business district that Pogorzelski represents in Avondale.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Polish%20Village%204%282%29.jpg" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Peter Bacik’s father once owned a successful deli on Milwaukee Avenue in Polish Village. Now he runs one 10 miles north in Niles. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></p><p>&ldquo;Many of these stores have been closing,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;and this is certainly one way that these establishments certainly hope that they can revitalize their business.&rdquo;</p><p>In store after store along Milwaukee Avenue, Polish business owners lament the drop in business they&rsquo;ve seen over the last 25 years. &ldquo;Now it&rsquo;s worse. Much less people than before,&rdquo; said Danna Pluta, owner of the Podlasie Club, a dance venue and bar. &ldquo;Three-quarters less people than there were before.&rdquo;</p><p>Pogorzelski and others attribute Polish Village&rsquo;s decline to three factors. First, many Polish immigrants in Chicago moved to the suburbs once they were more established in their lives. Then in 2004, Poland joined the European Union, opening all of Europe to Polish workers. Finally, the Great Recession of 2008 drove many Poles from Chicago back to Poland for a better economy.</p><p>With less Poles moving to the U.S. for work, Pluta hopes a new Visa Waiver Program will boost tourism and help make up for it. &ldquo;She&rsquo;s like please, save this district. This is so beautiful, this location,&rdquo; Pogorzelski translated for Pluta, &ldquo;she asked me to tell you how good it is, and we need to make sure we save this area.&rdquo;</p><p>But it could be dangerous for Pluta and others to place all their hope in tourism. Immigration reform is not a done deal, and the changes to the Visa Waiver Program might get dropped from the bill. Plus, who can say if Polish tourists will even want to come here?</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Polish%20Village%20%28thumbnail%29.JPG" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Many business owners in Chicago’s Polish Village say the neighborhood’s last hope for revitalization may lie with immigration reform. They hope new legislation will make it easier for Polish tourists to come visit their establishments. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></p><p>&ldquo;Really, to be honest, you have to be very realistic and honest with yourself. You&rsquo;re hoping more than anything else,&rdquo; said Peter Bacik, owner of First Choice Bacik Deli. Bacik worries Polish tourists might visit Polish communities in Connecticut and New York before they think about Chicago.</p><p>Bacik&rsquo;s speaking from experience. His father once owned a deli in Polish Village, but it closed when the neighborhood started changing. &ldquo;Nothing lasts forever,&rdquo; said Bacik. He said local business owners shouldn&rsquo;t count on immigration reform to give Polish Village a boost. Instead, they should worry about finding customers who are already here.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what he and his wife did when they opened their own deli about 20 years ago. They&rsquo;re still on Milwaukee Avenue &mdash; but 10 miles north of Polish Village, in Niles.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud.</a></em></p></p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 07:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/polish-village-hopes-immigration-reform-leads-revival-107990 Polish community may get travel perk from immigration reform http://www.wbez.org/news/polish-community-may-get-travel-perk-immigration-reform-107412 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Polish visa waivers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Many in Chicago&rsquo;s Polish community hope immigration reform will finally deliver a travel perk they&rsquo;ve long been seeking: Poland&rsquo;s inclusion on the list of countries who don&#39;t need visas to travel to the U.S. The visa requirement has long been a gripe among many in Chicago&rsquo;s sizeable Polish-American community, who perceive it as a diplomatic slight. They cite Poland&rsquo;s assistance during U.S. military operations (that were otherwise unpopular in the European Union), and wonder why they&rsquo;re among just a handful of European countries excluded from the Visa Waiver Program.</p><p>&ldquo;U.S. citizens are not required (to have) a Polish visa to come to Poland for 90 days,&rdquo; said Robert Rusiecki, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago. &ldquo;And over the years when Poland has been a member of NATO, we proved to be a strong ally for the United States and we were everywhere we were required, including Iraq and Afghanistan.&rdquo;</p><p>Ruscieki said Polish tourists to the U.S. should be treated the same as U.S. tourists to Poland.</p><p>To get a tourist visa to the U.S., prospective Polish visitors have to fill out a <a href="http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4401.html" target="_blank">detailed online application</a>, pay a <a href="http://www.ustraveldocs.com/pl/pl-niv-paymentinfo.asp" target="_blank">non-refundable $160 visa fee</a>, and schedule a screening interview at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow. In many cases, U.S. officials refuse to issue the visa, which means applicants lose whatever money they spent. By contrast, <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/business_pleasure/vwp/faq_vwp.xml#GeneralInformationontheVisaWaiverProgram" target="_blank">many of Poland&rsquo;s neighboring countries in the EU</a> are exempt from this process. Their citizens are, like all non-U.S. citizens, simply checked at a U.S. port of entry after they get off their plane.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s long overdue to include Poland in the Visa Waiver Program, especially for a city like Chicago, who probably has the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw,&rdquo; said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois). The <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_SF4/B01003/312M100US169801714000/popgroup~551" target="_blank">City of Chicago is home to more than 175,000</a> people who claim Polish ancestry, but <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_SF4/B01003/310M100US16980/popgroup~551" target="_blank">roughly 940,000 are estimated to live in the metro region</a>.</p><p>Quigley has introduced the <a href="http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/490" target="_blank">Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act</a>, along with U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). The bill is the latest version of previous legislation that he has introduced in Congress. All have aimed to change the Visa Waiver Program&rsquo;s criteria such that they would allow Poland and some other countries to participate&mdash;and so far, all have died.</p><p>&ldquo;I tell my colleagues this isn&rsquo;t your father&rsquo;s Visa Waiver Program,&rdquo; Quigley said. &ldquo;It gives us so much more information, it actually makes us safer.&rdquo;</p><p>Quigley said his previous attempts to change the Visa Waiver Program hit a wall because some legislators worried it could ease the way for dangerous people to gain entry to the U.S. But he said a tighter, post-9/11 system to capture biometric information&mdash;namely, fingerprints&mdash;from people who enter the U.S. has mitigated that threat.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re dealing with countries that we have good relationships with, we&rsquo;re getting information about our travelers that&rsquo;s far better than if we don&rsquo;t have a Visa Waiver Program,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Quigley is also a sponsor of the <a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr1354ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr1354ih.pdf" target="_blank">Jobs Originating through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act</a>, introduced by Rep. Joseph Heck (R-Nevada), which emphasizes projected economic gains from increased tourism to the U.S., should more countries be allowed into the Visa Waiver Program. Proponents of the legislation cite figures from the U.S. Travel Association, projecting an additional $7 billion of revenues from visitors coming from additional countries in the program.</p><p>Some believe a good portion of Polish tourist dollars would be spent right here, in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;People in Poland know about this place,&rdquo; said Dan Pogorzelski, Executive Director of the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce, whose members include a number of Polish-American businesses. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to brand this neighborhood as a tourist destination to Poles.&rdquo;</p><p>Several of the same principles behind expanding the Visa Waiver Program are also embedded in Section 4506 of the <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/686529-immigration-border-security-economic-opportunity.html" target="_blank">mammoth immigration reform bill</a> under consideration in the U.S. Senate. Quigley, and others in Chicago&rsquo;s Polish-American leadership, believe the momentum of immigration reform may finally propel the effort forward.</p><p>But a <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-602T" target="_blank">recent report from the Government Accountability Office</a> suggests a possible snag with how the proposed bills would change the program. Currently, countries may participate in the Visa Waiver Program if they have a combination of low overstay rates and very low refusal rates. Overstay rates are the percentage of people who come to the U.S. from a given country, and then stay beyond the valid period of their visas. The refusal rate is the percentage of applicants from a given country that are denied visas. This can be for a variety of reasons, but often the visa is denied on suspicion that the applicant will try to immigrate illegally to the U.S. by overstaying their visa.</p><p>Quigley and other proponents of expanding the Visa Waiver Program champion the idea of lifting the limit on refusal rates if a country has proven to be a good ally of the U.S. This would effectively get Poland in the door. But it also assumes that the U.S. has a good handle on what the overstay rates are from each country. According to the GAO report, that&rsquo;s simply not the case.</p><p>&ldquo;DHS [Department of Homeland Security] has not yet implemented a biometric exit capability, but has planning efforts underway to assess options for such a capability at airports and seaports,&rdquo; the report states.</p><p>Since 1994, DHS and its predecessors have not reported country-by-country overstay rates, though they have been federally required to do so. The department has yet to persuade airports and airlines to implement a systematic procedure to fingerprint travelers just before they board planes to leave the U.S.</p><p>Last month, that meant DHS had upward of 1 million people that it knew had arrived in the U.S., but could not verify whether they had left. The report notes that five of the nine 9/11 hijackers were people who had overstayed their temporary visas.</p><p>&ldquo;It makes no sense to go forward with this without the data system that we need to serve as a sound basis for judging the readiness of some of these countries,&rdquo; said Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, DC. &ldquo;The risk is that if the standards that we set are not high enough, we&rsquo;re going to open up a new avenue for illegal immigration to occur, because people are able to come with the presumption that they&rsquo;re going to be eligible.&rdquo;</p><p>Quigley said he&rsquo;s not concerned about the GAO&rsquo;s report on a leaky visa tracking system.</p><p>&ldquo;The processes are in place to improve it, we think that the numbers will be published,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I think Poland was put at a disadvantage by the old criteria, and it was a different time as well.&rdquo;</p><p>In particular, Quigley and many others point to Poland&rsquo;s 2004 inclusion in the EU as a major turning point. They say now that Poles can move freely around Europe for employment, they&rsquo;re much less likely to attempt a risky illegal move to the U.S.</p><p>But Vaughan said that without precise overstay numbers, it&rsquo;s not clear that Poland&mdash;or any country, for that matter&mdash;would qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, even if legislation passes to expand it.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 29 May 2013 10:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/polish-community-may-get-travel-perk-immigration-reform-107412 How the NATO peoples helped settle Chicago, Part 2 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/how-nato-peoples-helped-settle-chicago-part-2-99028 <p><p>Today we continue the capsule stories of how people from the 28 NATO countries helped build Chicago. The final part will be posted tomorrow.</p><p><strong>Albania</strong>—Chicago has never had a large Albanian population, and no real Albanian neighborhoods. The most prominent local person of Albanian ancestry was probably comedian John Belushi, who grew up in Wheaton.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ZZ-Albania-St.%20Nicholas.JPG" title="St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church--2701 N. Narragansett Ave."></div><p><strong>Croatia</strong>—Because Croatia didn’t become independent until 1991, Chicago’s Croatians were commonly classified as “Yugoslavians.” Most of the local community life was centered around a few parishes, such as St. Jerome’s in Armour Square. Mayor Michael Bilandic and Alderman Ed Vrdolyak are the city’s most famous Croatians.</p><p><strong>Denmark</strong>—Most of the Chicago’s earliest Danish immigrants settled along the axis of Milwaukee Avenue, close to other Scandinavians. By 1910 there were nearly 20,000 Danes in the city, the majority of them located near North Avenue in Humboldt Park. From there the newer generations moved northwest and gradually dispersed.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ZZ-Denmark-Danish%20Home.jpg" title="The Danish Home--5656 N. Newcastle Ave."></div><p><strong>Greece</strong>—Greeks began arriving in the city as early as 1840. By the turn of the 20<sup>th</sup> Century, a thriving community called the Delta was established around the area of Harrison and Halsted. Unlike most other ethnic groups, a large percentage of Greek immigrants remained in America only long enough to make their fortune, then returned to their native land. But enough of them stayed to make Chicago’s Greek settlement one of the country’s biggest.</p><p>Today over 100,000 people of Greek descent live in metro Chicago. During the 1960s, the new University of Illinois campus displaced many residents, and the Greek community dispersed to such areas as Lincoln Square. However, a remnant of the city’s historic Greektown remains on the Near West Side, along Halsted just north of the university. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Iceland</strong>—In all the years I’ve been in Chicago, I’ve only known one person of Icelandic descent. It was the early 1970s, and she lived near Diversey and Central—which you might say made Cragin the city’s Icelandic neighborhood. If there are any more Icelanders out there, let me know.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ZZ-Norway-Rockne%20%28LofC%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 339px; width: 250px;" title="A Norwegian immigrant to Chicago: Knute Rockne (Library of Congress)"></div><p><strong>Norway</strong>—Norwegians were among the earliest immigrants to put down roots in Chicago. They lived along Milwaukee Avenue, mainly in Logan Square. By 1900 there were over 40,000 Norwegians in Chicago, including future football legend Knute Rockne. Though the community is no longer concentrated in one area, a Norwegian Constitution Day Parade is staged annually in Park Ridge.</p><p><strong>Poland</strong>—Chicago’s first wave of Polish immigrants started arriving in the 1850s. They settled on the near Northwest Side. St. Stanislaus Kostka parish was founded in 1864, and as more people came, other churches were built. Business, cultural, and political organizations sprang up. The area near Milwaukee and Division became known as Polish Downtown.</p><p>During the 20<sup>th</sup> century, Poles began moving up Milwaukee Avenue toward Niles. Meanwhile, Polish enclaves developed in Back of the Yards, South Chicago, Hegewisch, and other areas. The Poles became the city’s largest ethnic group, and Chicago was said to be "the second biggest Polish city in the world."</p><p>Today the Chicago area counts about 1.5 million people of Polish ancestry. The community has dispersed, though many Poles still live along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor. The Polish Museum of America is located near the onetime Polish Downtown.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ZZ-Poland-family%20group%2C%201907.jpg" title="Polish family group, 1907. (Author's collection)"></div><p><strong>Portugal</strong>—Portugal sent an official delegation to the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Yet as late as 1940 there were only 47 Portuguese residents in all of Cook County. The current metro population is said to be about 3,000.</p><p><strong>Spain</strong>—Though Chicago’s Hispanic community is large, the number of ethnic Spaniards has always been very small. The latest estimate puts the number of Spaniards in the Chicago metro area at about 500.</p></p> Wed, 16 May 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/how-nato-peoples-helped-settle-chicago-part-2-99028 Chicago festival highlights evolving Polish cinema http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-08/chicago-festival-highlights-evolving-polish-cinema-93857 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/poland1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last weekend, the 23rd annual <a href="http://www.pffamerica.com/tickets.htm" target="_blank">Polish Film Festival of America</a> kicked off in Chicago with the premiere of In Darkness, the new film by Agnieszka Holland. Considered a leading figure in Poland's New Wave, Agnieszka's films include Europa Europa and The Secret Garden.</p><p>Holland came to Chicago for the debut of In Darkness. Worldview film contributor Milos Stehlik sat down with her to discuss the importance of the festival and Polish film.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.pffamerica.com/tickets.htm" target="_blank">The Polish Film Festival</a>, the largest festival of its kind outside of Poland, runs in Chicago and the surrounding area through November 20.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-08/chicago-festival-highlights-evolving-polish-cinema-93857 Worldview 11.8.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-11811-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-november/2011-11-08/occupy2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As the Occupy movement raises concerns about income inequality, we talk to British epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, co-author of <em><a href="http://www.bloomsburypress.com/books/catalog/spirit_level_hc_362" target="_blank">The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger</a></em>. His research suggests that people from countries without huge income gaps live longer and generally better lives. And, the new film <em><a href="http://www.pffamerica.com/2011press1_en.htm" target="_blank"><em>In Darkness</em></a></em><em> </em>by acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland tells the unlikely story of a Polish crook who rescues Jews during World War II. It just premiered in Chicago at the Polish Film Festival of America. <em>Worldview </em>film contributor <a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/milos-stehlik" target="_self">Milos Stehlik</a> chats with Holland about Polish cinema and why the festival matters.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>You may have heard <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-28/oligarchy-history-how-super-rich-defend-their-wealth-93577" target="_blank">our recent conversation</a> with political economist Jeffrey Winters, who shared his provocative theories on Occupy Wall Street and how the super-rich defend their wealth. Tomorrow, he returns to take your calls.</strong></p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 15:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-11811-0 No progress in Smolensk crash investigation, says suburban woman http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-07/no-progress-smolensk-crash-investigation-says-suburban-woman-92938 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-07/AP110410010026.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than a year ago, a plane carrying Poland’s president and many Polish dignitaries crashed in Smolensk, Russia, killing everyone on board. The airplane was heading to the Katyn Forest to recognize the 70th anniversary of the Russian massacre of 22,000 Poles during World War II. Among the dead was Chicago sculptor Wojciech Seweryn. He’s known locally for his sculpture in a Niles cemetery that honors the Katyn Massacre.</p><p>Wojciech’s daughter, Anna Wojtowicz, also lives in the Chicago area. She says the investigation of the Smolensk plane crash left a lot of unanswered questions. In a recent conversation, Wojtowicz explains her thwarted efforts to find out what happened to her father.</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-07/no-progress-smolensk-crash-investigation-says-suburban-woman-92938 Worldview 10.7.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-10711 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-october/2011-10-07/crimson-autum-ural-tansykbaev-1931.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Thousands of Polish people in the U.S. will vote this weekend in Poland's general elections. Among their presidential choices is a prominent Chicago suburban radio host. WBEZ’s Lynette Kalsnes reports. Also, in 2010, a plane carrying Poland’s president and Polish dignitaries crashed in Smolensk, Russia, killing all on board, including Chicago sculptor Wojciech Seweryn. When trying to reclaim the remains, family members like Seweryn’s daughter, suburban resident Anna Wojtowicz, were sent locked coffins. Wojtowicz tells us about her thwarted efforts to get a full account of what happened in Smolensk. Then, the documentary film <a href="http://www.desertofforbiddenart.com/"><em>Desert of Forbidden Art</em></a> tells of how an entire chapter of art history wound up in an unkempt museum in the Uzbekistan desert. Shortly after the 1917 Russian Revolution, a failed artist named Igor Savitsky began collecting works by some of the Russian avant-garde’s great unknown painters. We’ll speak with the film’s co-directors.</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-10711 Prominent radio host runs for office — in Poland http://www.wbez.org/story/prominent-radio-host-runs-office-%E2%80%94-poland-92908 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-06/polish and defamation 015.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cable TV news is already full with coverage of the upcoming presidential race, which happens to be more than a year away still. But for thousands of Chicagoans, one important election season ends this very weekend. Polish people living in the U.S. are voting in their general election Saturday. Among their choices is a prominent suburban radio host.</p><p>Sylwester Skora sits comfortably behind the microphone at WPNA in Oak Park, radio dials at the ready.&nbsp;Skora’s a household name in many Polish circles – he’s hosted a news and information show on the Polish language station for 21 years.&nbsp;He hopes that familiarity will help him win a seat in Poland’s lower house of Parliament.</p><p>SKORA: If you work with five people for 25 years and have a family and a couple of friends, it is not a good beginning for a political career. But if you are a person associated in a different way with many, many people, businesses, organizations, and whatsoever, you are almost in.</p><p><img alt="Candidate Sylwester Skora huddles with his campaign advisers at a Lombard banque" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-07/Poland1.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 325px; height: 217px;" title="Candidate Sylwester Skora huddles with his campaign advisers at a Lombard banquet hall. (Photo by David Pierini)">Skora hopes to follow in the footsteps of other Chicagoans who won office in their native lands. A Hinsdale man who’d fled Lithuania during the Soviet invasion became president of his home country. Another Chicago Polish radio personality, Andrzej Czuma, won a seat in Poland's Parliament and briefly served as Minister of Justice.</p><p>Skora is targeting voters who live outside of Poland, especially here in Chicago.</p><p>SKORA: Polonia does not get enough deserved attention from Poland. We are just mainly the source of economic support. They as our motherland and authorities are not aware of our needs, of our potential, of our expectation, of our pride to be here, a lot of different issues.</p><p>Skora says Poles who’ve worked in both the U.S. and Poland are finding their Social Security benefits cut because of their Polish pensions. He says there are too many restrictions on people who want to invest or do business in Poland.</p><p>SKORA:&nbsp;The solutions which are good for Poles living in Poland are not exactly good for those who live in the United States.</p><p>Skora’s been campaigning all over the region. He rates his chances as good if enough people here register to vote.</p><p><img alt="Sylwester Skora does an interview with Polish TV. (David Pierini)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-07/poland2.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 325px; height: 217px;" title="Sylwester Skora does an interview with Polish TV. (David Pierini)">By Thursday morning, about 12,000 people had done so. Polish Consul General Zygmunt Matynia predicts the numbers will be lower this year. The reason? He says the U.S. economy is weak, and Poles are going back to Poland.</p><p>Matynia says even though Skora lives in the U.S., he can run for office in Warsaw. The Polish Peasants’ Party, which is strong in rural areas, recruited famous Poles living abroad to try to pick up seats in Warsaw.</p><p>MATYNIA:&nbsp;This is some kind of experiment, I would say.</p><p>Skora has to draw strong support in Chicago to have any kind of chance. Yet Matynia says Polish people in Chicago tend to be conservative, and vote the Law and Justice party, not the minority Peasant Party.</p><p>MATYNIA: We will see. They think that Polonia, which is a big Polish Diaspora living abroad, should have representatives in the Parliament. Polonia likes this idea because it means that for Poland living in Poland, (the) Polish Diaspora is important.</p><p><img alt="Sylwester Skora put up campaign literature at a Lombard banquet hall. (David Pie" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-07/poland3.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 325px; height: 217px;" title="Sylwester Skora put up campaign literature at a Lombard banquet hall. (David Pierini)">DOBRZYCKI: It seems no matter where you live in the world, you still have that pull to be back in Poland.</p><p>Mark Dobrzycki directs the Polish National Alliance’s Polish Information Center. He says people in Chicago join regional clubs to provide funding to parish churches and build monuments in their hometowns.</p><p>Voting, he says:</p><p>DOBRZYCKI:&nbsp;It’s an avenue for the individuals who have made America either their homes or the place where they reside to connect with Poland, with their homeland, and this way they’re able to influence &nbsp;what occurs in their country of birth.</p><p>Poles will head to voting booths at the Polish Consulate and in Polish churches and agencies on Saturday.</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/prominent-radio-host-runs-office-%E2%80%94-poland-92908