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authority records
Ogniwo Polish Museum Archives

Balinski, Stefan, 1927-2010

  • CA-OPMA-AR-04
  • Person
  • 1927-2010

Stefan Baliński was born on August 7, 1927, in Warsaw, Poland, to parents Feliks and Stanisława. When the Second World War broke out, he joined the underground army at the age of 14. In October of 1942, he joined the Polish Home Army and took part in the Warsaw Uprising for its 63 days, first fighting in the Old Town and then in Mokotów, in midtown Warsaw. Following the Uprising, he was a Prisoner of War, escaping from the PoW camp in April of 1945. From there, he was in a transit camp, eventually making his way to Italy, where he served in the Polish II Corps under General Wladyslaw Anders. In 1947, he returned to Warsaw to find his parents, only to find that his family home had been destroyed in the War.

After the War, he hoped to complete a law degree, but having participated in the Warsaw Uprising, encountered difficulties and political resistance under the Communist regime, and was unable to do so. His resistance to the Polish Communist government made it increasingly difficult for him to remain in Poland, and in the late 1960s, he obtained papers to leave the country and made his way to Denmark. From Denmark, he made his way to Canada in 1970, settling in Winnipeg.

In Winnipeg, Baliński launched and led the TV program Polish TV between 1973 and 1976, delivering news from Poland and reporting on local Polish community events in Winnipeg. Next, he became involved in radio, leading the Radio Polonia program hosted by the multi-lingual station CKJS 810 in Winnipeg. He remained at Radio Polonia for 25 years. In that time, he helped develop the Polish program, finding sponsors and supporters. Over the years, under Baliński’s leadership, the program grew in length from a half-hour show to a three-hour show. Radio Polonia delivered content catered to the Polish community in Winnipeg, relaying news, Polish music and cultural content, and information about events in the local Polish community. The program also presented interviews with community members and delivered special programs dedicated to children. Starting in 1987, under Baliński's initiative, Radio Polonia also began to transmit live auditions of Mass from Holy Ghost Church in Winnipeg. Baliński resigned from Radio Polonia in October 1999 following a stroke.

Baliński was a member of the Polish Combatants’ Association Branch #13 (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów / SPK #13) and the Canadian Polish Congress, Manitoba Division (Kongres Polonii Kanadyjskiej Okręg Manitoba).

Baliński received a number of military honours for his service, including the Home Army Cross (Krzyż Armii Krajowej), the Warsaw Cross of the Uprising (Warszawski Krzyż Powstańczy), the Pro Memoria Medal, and the Gold Honour from the Polish Combatants’ Association (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów Federacja Światowa Złoty Odznak Honorowy) in 1995. He also received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II in 1989 for his community service.

Stefan Baliński died in Winnipeg on July 24, 2010.

CZAS - Polish Press Ltd., 1914-2011

  • CA-OPMA-AR-05
  • Corporate body
  • 1914-2011

CZAS (a.k.a. “Czas,” “The Times” or “The Polish Times”) is a Polish-language ethnic weekly newspaper established in Winnipeg in 1914. It is the oldest Polish-language newspaper in Canada. At the time of its establishment, Winnipeg was a central hub for Polish immigration to Canada. CZAS arose in response to a need in the Polish-Canadian community to connect with Polonia on the local, provincial, national, and international levels, and to obtain information on events happening in the local community and abroad. It helped the established Polish-Canadian community to stay connected and informed, while providing links to knowledge, advice, and resources--as well as a sense of belonging--for newly-arrived Polish immigrants. Prior to the establishment of CZAS, five other Polish-Canadian newspapers had been published in Winnipeg between 1904 and 1908, including Gazeta Katolicka (“The Catholic Weekly”), Głos Kanadyjski (“The Canadian Voice”), Prawda (“Truth”), Gazeta Polska (“The Polish Gazette”), and Echo Kanadyjskie (“The Canadian Echo”).

In 1913, under the guidance of Maks Major, the members of the Polish Gymnastic Association Sokol (Sokół) in Winnipeg established Gazeta Narodowa, which lasted only a few months. Major then began working with František (Frank or Franciszek) Dojacek, a Czech immigrant and bookseller based in Winnipeg’s North End neighbourhood. Dojacek, who spoke seven languages and saw the business potential in catering to the publication needs of Winnipeg’s Eastern European population, established the Polish National Publishing Company, under which CZAS was first published in 1915. CZAS advertised itself as “the only progressive Polish weekly in Canada” (“Jedyny Postępowy Tygodnik Polski w Kanadzie”).

CZAS was published by Canada North-West Publishing Company from 1915 to 1920 and by the National Press Limited between 1920 and 1931.

In 1930, some members of Winnipeg’s Polish community began to feel that their political and religious leanings were not being accurately presented via CZAS under Dojacek and its editors at the time. In response to the perceived need to better represent the Polish community’s interests and opinions, Polish immigrant Józef (Joseph) Kolt rallied members of the local Polish Winnipeg organizations Sokol and St. John’s Cantius with the hope of launching a new Polish-run press. However, this proved untenable as a result of the economic depression, which was responsible for the shuttering of Polish-language publications across North America. Frank Dojacek, who too was feeling the effects of the Depression, agreed to sell CZAS and all of his printing press equipment to the Polish Press Ltd., with Jozef Kolt serving as President of its Board of Directors. Polish Press Ltd. was officially launched on September 30, 1931.

Under new editor Julian Nowacki, CZAS under Polish Press Ltd. strove to maintain a politically and religiously neutral tone. The meeting minutes from October 1931 state that “after a thorough discussion, [it was agreed] that the character of CZAS be favorably inclined towards the working class - in matters of religion to be neutral.” (OPMA A-2017-4, Box 2, Folder 8). Jozef Kolt, meanwhile, helped to expand the newspaper’s readership by canvassing the local Polish community and even paying out of pocket to help cover expenses related to its publication and distribution. The economic crisis, political strife, and logistical problems related to its incorporation continually threatened Polish Press Ltd. and the publication of CZAS. Kolt enlisted the help of Winnipeg’s Polish community, including lawyer Bronisław Bernard (B.B.) Dubieński.

On October 31, 1933, the offices of CZAS were moved to 848 Main Street, Winnipeg.

Throughout the years, the writers and editors of CZAS tried, where possible, to present articles that were written with the goals of uniting Polonia and helping to generate positive connections, and tended to avoid divisive politics. Following the Second World War, a new wave of Polish immigrants helped keep CZAS operating. By 1975, the weekly newspaper had a readership of over 5,000.

In 1998, facing a decline in subscriptions and advertisers, the Board of Directors of Polish Press Ltd. met to discuss options for keeping the publication running. Lech Fulmyk, Chair of the Board of Directors of Polish Press Inc., resigned, followed by the remainder of the board. An interim board was elected to evaluate the possibility of maintaining CZAS, of which Krystyna Gajda became Chair. Polish Press Ltd. underwent some upheaval in this era due to staffing and office location changes, but managed to continue publication of CZAS, even laying out and arranging issues from the home of Krystyna and Bogumil Gajda. The publication changed from weekly to bi-weekly. The board continued to solicit advertisers to generate enough revenue to become self-sufficient. Around this time, the Polish Educational Society decided to sell its building at 1150 Main Street, from which CZAS had been operating. To keep running, the office was relocated to the Canadian Polish Congress building at 207 Cathedral Avenue in Winnipeg, and finally, to the Ogniwo Polish Museum building at 1417 Main Street in Winnipeg.

In June 2004, once again facing a decline in revenue, the Board of Directors of Polish Press Ltd. agreed to loan the name CZAS to Fakty Ltd. of Toronto, the publisher of Polish newspaper ZWIAZKOWIEC, in publication since 1933. It was agreed that Polish Press Ltd. would supply its subscription list, advertisers’ information, and distribution locations, while Fakty Inc. would bear the costs of production and general distribution. CZAS-ZWIAZKOWIEC began publication in July 2004.

The Polish Press Ltd. was formally dissolved in 2011 and the office on Main Street in Winnipeg was closed. CZAS-ZWIAZKOWIEC continues publication under Fakty Inc. as of 2018.

In 2003, a collection of bound CZAS newspapers for the years 1915 to 2003 was donated by the CZAS - Polish Press Ltd. executive to the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Ogniwo Polish Museum holds bound volumes of CZAS for the years 1944, 1981, and 1986-2008.

Haydey, Caroline, 1919-2009

  • CA-OPMA-AR-02
  • Person
  • 1919-2009

Caroline (nee Andrejowich) Haydey was born on September 26, 1919, in Witkowo (a.k.a. Fitkiw) Poland, to parents William (Wasyl) and Pauline (Paulina) Andrejowich. The Andrejowich family settled on a 20-acre farm in the Cook's Creek area in Manitoba. Caroline attended Zora school in Cook’s Creek until grade 8. Her father, Wasyl, worked as a furrier in Winnipeg, while her mother worked as the Vice President of City Gas, Heating, and Appliance Co., Ltd., which she ran together with Caroline’s brother John.

Caroline moved to Winnipeg to complete her education, attending Machray School for grade 9 while working as a nanny. She then began a program at St. John’s Technical High School, but became sick and moved home again. The following year, she returned to Winnipeg and began attending Daniel MacIntyre School. She worked for room and board in Brandon, and was eventually able to attend Normal School. She also taught music to junior classes at Zora School.

She married Peter Haydey of Gonor and had two children, Richard Haydey and Teresa (nee Haydey) Benoit. She worked as a music teacher in Rockwood School for five years. At the same time, she attended night classes and summer school to obtain her B.A. and B.Ed. degrees. She also taught at Grant Park Junior High School and Greenway School.

Upon her retirement in 1980, Caroline Haydey received a Manitoba Teachers’ Society scholarship, which enabled her to relocate to Munich, Germany, for three years in order to obtain her PhD.

Caroline Haydey died on October 26, 2009, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Hubicz, Edward, 1912-1999

  • CA-OPMA-AR-09
  • Person
  • 1912-1999

Edward Michael Hubicz was born in September 25, 1912, in Bodzanow, Poland, to Michal Hubicz and Petronella Wroblonski. The Hubicz family immigrated to Canada in April 1913.
Hubicz attended St. John Cantius Parish School, Lord Nelson School, and Isaac Newton School in Winnipeg. In 1929, Hubicz attended St. John’s College in St. Jean, Quebec. In 1935, he entered the Poznan Diocesan Seminary in Poland and was ordained as a subdeacon, followed by a year at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto, Ontario. He was ordained into priesthood on July 16, 1939 at the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, giving his first Mass at St. John Cantius Church. Throughout his career, he served in the following roles:

  • Parochial Vicar at Holy Trinity, Sifton (1939)
  • Parochial Vicar at St. John Cantius, Winnipeg (1940-43)
  • Pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul, Pine River (1943-44)
  • Pastor at Corpus Christi, Winnipegosis (1944-49)
  • Pastor at St. Michael’s Church, Gimli
  • Pastor at Our Lady of the Lake, Winnipeg Beach (1956-67)
  • Pastor at St. John Cantius, Winnipeg (1967-85).
  • Chaplain to the Missionary Oblate Sisters of Mary Immaculate
  • Chaplain to Sisters of St. Benedict
  • Chaplain to Sisters of the Holy Names.
  • Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg (1951-1952)
  • Chancellor (1952-56) Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
  • Defender of the Bond, Marriage Tribunal (1952-68).
  • Vicar General during the absence of the Cardinal in 1969.
    Hubicz was a member of the Polish Priests' Association in Canada (CPAC) and the original Millennium Committee (later, Millennium Fund).
    Hubicz was appointed as a Prelate of Honour by Pope Paul VI, and was invested by George Bernard Cardinal Flahiff in 1974.
    Hubicz retired from active ministry on August 3, 1985. He authored three books: “The History of Our Lady of the Lake Church” (1956), “Father Joe: A Manitoban Missionary” (1958), and “Polish Churches in Manitoba” (1960). He also published an article in the Manitoba Pageant titled “First Polish Settlers in Manitoba” (April 1957).

Edward M. Hubicz died in Winnipeg on November 19, 1999, and was buried at Assumption Cemetery.

Kulczycki, Lukasz, 1911-2018

  • CA-OPMA-AR-07
  • Person
  • 1911-2018

Lukasz (a.k.a. Łukasz, Lucas) Kulczycki was born on August 19, 1911, in Jurampol, Poland (Ternopil region in the present-day Ukraine) to parents Ludwik and Rozalia (nee Stabiszewska) Kulczycki.

Lukasz Kulczycki obtained his post-secondary education in Lwow, Poland. He graduated from Lwow University as a Doctor of Bacteriology and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine through the Academy of Veterinary Medicine in Lwow in 1936.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Łukasz Kulczycki was in his second year of Law at Uniwersytet Jana Kazimierza in Lwow. He crossed over the Carpathian Mountains on foot, making his way to Hungary. From there, he made his way to France and then to Liverpool in 1940, where he served in the Polish Armed Forces. He studied in Pediatrics at the University of London, England, and received a degree in Public Health and Pediatrics. In 1943, he began his studies at the Polish School of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his medical degree in [1945].
Dr. Kulczycki immigrated to Canada in 1950. He lived in Swan River, Manitoba, where he served as a Medical Director at the Department of Health until 1953. He then moved to the United States, where he developed an eminent career as a pediatrician specializing in cystic fibrosis. He worked in pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Medical Center, and was an instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He was the Clinical Director at what was at the time called the State Institution for Retarded Children,* and the consulting pediatrician in cystic fibrosis in the state of Maine. He also served as Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical School, specializing in cystic fibrosis, and as the Director of Cystic Fibrosis Program at the Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Dr Kulczycki was the founder and first president of the Polish American Health Association (PAHA), which was incorporated in 1992.
Dr. Kulczycki died on May 3, 2018 in McLean, Virginia, USA.

*Ogniwo Polish Museum recognizes that this term is no longer an acceptable term for a person living with an intellectual disability. If you have concerns about the language used in this description, please reach out to us.

Maslanka, John Henry, 1923-2012

  • CA-OPMA-AR-14
  • Person
  • 1923-2012

Jan was born on January 10, 1923 in Trembowla, Poland, to Wojciech and Agnieszka Maslanka.
During the Second World War, Jan was a Military Engineer/Sapper, serving with the 5th Sapper Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division of the Polish Army. He served in the Polish II Corps in Italy, and saw action at Monte Cassino, later receiving the Monte Cassino Commemorative Cross on June 19, 1945. Jan was enlisted into the Polish Resettlement Corps in 1947 and released to the Reserves in 1949 in order to work as a tailor in Nottingham, England. He was officially discharged from the Resettlement Corps in 1949. In February 1950, sponsored by his brother Ignacy who had already emigrated to Winnipeg, Jan departed for Canada via Liverpool. He sailed from Liverpool to Montreal on the Franconia, departing on June 29, 1950 and arriving in Canada on July 6, 1950. Jan married Jozefa (Josephine) Drapala on October 4, 1952. He obtained Canadian Citizenship on June 22, 1956. He was a member of the Canadian Legion British Empire Service League, A. Mynarski Branch #34. He had one child, son Chris, together with his wife Jozefa (Josephine).
Jan died October 25, 2012 and was interned at Holy Ghost Cemetery in Winnipeg.

Nicolaus Copernicus Observance Committee Inc. of Manitoba

  • CA-OPMA-AR-12
  • Corporate body
  • 1970-1975

The Nicolaus Copernicus Observance Committee Inc. of Manitoba (NCOC) was formed in 1970 under the auspices of the Association of Polish Priests in Manitoba. The organizing members were Msgr. Z.A.J. Baczkowski of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Rev. M. Trzaskoma of Arborg, Manitoba; and Rev. Jan Sajewicz of East Selkirk, Manitoba. The Committee was incorporated in 1972. The NCOC was created with the goal of commemorating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik) in 1973. Under the leadership of Committee President Z.A.J. Baczkowski, the NCOC quickly expanded its membership and established strong links within the Polish community in Manitoba, across Canada, and in Poland, gathering strong support for its mission. The NCOC also established strong links with the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and the Faculty of Science at the University of Manitoba.
The Committee was especially successful at soliciting funds (totaling over $30,000), which it used to commission the creation of a solar telescope donated to the Planetarium at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature.
In 1973, the Committee organized and hosted a number of events to observe the quincentennial anniversary of Copernicus’ birth, including:

  • A Wine and Cheese reception at Winnipeg Planetarium (Jan. 14, 1973)
  • A concert of Polish Renaissance music at the University of Manitoba School of Music (February 16, 1973)
  • “Celebration Copernicus” event at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (Feb. 18 to Apr. 1, 1973)
  • A dedication ceremony commemorating the donation of the solar telescope and the Copernicus Room at the Planetarium, which was attended by Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden (Feb. 18, 1973)
  • A reception at Manitoba Government House attended by Lieutenant Governor William John McKeag (Feb. 19, 1973)
  • A poster contest for Manitoba schoolchildren on the theme of Copernicus organized by the NCOC’s Educational Advisory Subcommittee
  • The naming of Copernicus Hill in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Manitoba and a naming ceremony (Sep. 15, 1973)
  • A ceremony in honour of Dr. Wilhemina Iwanowska , director of the Astronomical Observatory in Torun, Poland (Oct. 19, 1973)

The Committee was headquartered at 254 Arnold Avenue in Winnipeg. Its membership and Board of Directors featured many prominent members of the local Polish community in Winnipeg, including Mary Adamowska Panaro (Treasurer), Stan Millan (Finance Chairman), Stan Wujec (Convenor of Finance), J.J. Marek, Walter Turek, and Ronald Januszkiewicz. Its honourary members included Laurent Desjardins, Ben Hanuschak, Mayor Stephen Juba, Judge Peter Taraska, and Henry Duckworth.

Panaro, Mary Adamowska, 1902-1989

  • CA-OPMA-AR-01
  • Person
  • 1902-1989

Mary Adamowska Panaro was born Maria Adamowska in Czernowitz, Bukovina, Austria, on August 8, 1902, to Polish parents Stanisław Adamowski (1876-1925) and Bronisława Dąbrowska Adamowska (1881-1916). Her father emigrated to Canada in 1910, while Mary, her mother, her aunt Julia Dąbrowska Zaokopna, and her younger brothers Mieczysław (Norman) Józef Adamowski (1908-1969) and Bronisław (Ben) Adamowski (1909-1914), joined him in Winnipeg in 1911. Mary lost her younger brother Ben to a street accident in 1914 and her mother in 1915. Her father died in 1925 following a long battle with tuberculosis.

Mary completed Grades 3 to 7 at Holy Ghost School in Winnipeg, grade 8 at Strathcona School, and grades 9 and 10 at St. John’s Technical High School. She graduated in Commerce. She received certificates in Cost Accounting, Business Administration, and Personnel Administration.

On April 19, 1927, she married Peter Anthony Panaro (1902-1983) of Winnipeg, and on January 1, 1930, gave birth to her only child, daughter Norma Beatrice (in some records, Bernice or Berenice) Panaro Dietz (d. July 11, 2017). Mary and Peter were divorced in 1933.

Mary’s professional career began in 1918, when she began work as a stenographer at the law offices of Hyman & Cherniak, where she worked until 1919. From 1920 to 1925, she was a secretary at the Polish Consulate in Winnipeg. From 1925 to 1929, she was employed by the Cunard Steamship Company as a secretary and later, as an accountant. In 1930, she began her 36-year-long career with the Winnipeg law firm Aronovitch & Leipsic in the Real Estate and Insurance divisions, where over the years, she held the roles of secretary, accountant, credit manager, and office manager, as well as licensed agent in the General Insurance division.

After experiencing the aid and kindness offered to her and her family by a social worker following the loss of her mother, she vowed at a young age to give back to her community. From early adulthood, she was active in the Polish community, in the newcomer and settlement community, and in war relief efforts. As a teenager and young adult, she was involved in the young Polish community, helping to organize various cultural and social activities, as advertised in Winnipeg’s Polish newspaper, Czas Polish Press.

She was a member and Secretary of the Marshall Pilsudski chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.). During and following the Second World War, she contributed to, collected, and helped to pack shipments of food and clothing to needy European families through I.O.D.E. and through the Polish Women’s War Relief Committee. In 1946, she met the first train carrying Polish veterans from Italy, and worked to organize a reception in their honour. In 1949, when the Council of Social Agencies asked Catholic Sisters of Service to organize a reception centre for young Polish women arriving from displaced persons camps, she helped arrange social and cultural activities and material help for the women. She was also involved with the settlement committees assisting Hungarian refugees in 1956 and Czechoslovakian refugees from 1967 to 1969. She also taught English to newcomers following the Second World War.

Mary became a member of the Welfare Council of Winnipeg, named to a committee created to assist immigrants and refugees arriving in Winnipeg from war-torn countries. She was asked to represent the Catholic Women’s League on the New Canadians Committee of the Council of Social Agencies, from which the Citizenship Council evolved, and was a part of the developments in that evolution. She was present at the meeting on November 30, 1951, when the New Canadians Committee decided, with encouragement from the Welfare Council, resolved to reorganize and adopt the name Citizenship Council of Manitoba, of which she became secretary in 1952. She was elected to the executive of the Citizenship Committee in 1956. She chaired the nominating committee charged with recommending officers to lead the new Citizenship Council of Manitoba, which became independent from the Welfare Council in 1957. She served as treasurer for the Council for many years. Following her retirement from Aronovitch & Leipsic, she became heavily involved with the Citizenship Council, and in March 1969, she became its first official staff member, holding the role of Executive Secretary. Along with the Centre’s President Sonja Roeder and its volunteers, she prepared the newly acquired International Centre Building for occupancy. The building was used for festivals, socials, movies, lectures, and cultural events. In June 1969, after the provincial government asked the Centre to welcome 300 Filipino women, Mary launched the longstanding tradition of the Centre’s Saturday morning coffee parties, which provided an opportunity for Winnipeggers to meet with newcomers over a cup of coffee. Each party began with the lighting of a candle by the host and the newest arrival to symbolize a coming together in friendship and understanding. The coffee parties were particularly meaningful to Mary. She established links with refugees and newcomers from all over the world, earning her the title of “International Mother.” She retired from the International Centre in 1976.

Mary was a founding member of the Polish Canadian Women’s Federation Winnipeg branch (#7), formed in 1962. She held the roles of President of the Winnipeg branch (1966) as well as the Vice President for Western Canada of the National Council (1975-1979). She also initiated the 3rd of May luncheons. She was involved in the Polish Handicraft Guild in Winnipeg, and helped to organize the 1963 Polish folk art exhibit.

She was also heavily involved with the Catholic Women’s League, holding the positions of President on local, Diocesan, and Provincial levels, as well as of Vice President and Treasurer on the national level. She was awarded a National Life membership in the League in 1961.

Mary created the Polish Women’s Business Group of Winnipeg in 1960. She was a member of Save the Children, the Personnel Association of Winnipeg, the Canadian Citizenship Federation, the Citizenship Court Committee, and an Executive member of the Polish Refugee Assistance Committee. She worked as a volunteer for United Way of Winnipeg. She was the Citizenship Chairman of the Canadian Polish Congress and a Director and Committee Chairman of the Holy Spirit Credit Union. She was a founding member of the SHARE Mental Health Program and Treasurer of the Nicolas Copernicus Quincentennial Committee.

Mary’s community involvement was recognized in 1970 when she was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award from the City of Winnipeg and the Golden Medal of Merit from the Canadian Polish Congress. She was also awarded the Nicolas Copernicus Quincentennial Medal in 1973 and was named a Provost of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt by the Province of Manitoba in 1982. She was awarded an Honorary Lifetime membership from the Citizenship Council of Manitoba and was nominated for the YWCA Woman of the Year award in 1983. On June 20, 1983, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (Investiture at Rideau Hall on October 5, 1983). In 1984, she received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the City of Winnipeg and was named an Honorary Member of the Polish Gymnastic Association (Sokol).

Mary Panaro died in Edmonton, Alberta, on June 14, 1989, while attending the national meeting of the Polish Women’s Federation.

Prepared by Marta Dabros, Nov. 2017.

Polish Women's War Relief Committee, 1939-1949

  • CA-OPMA-AR-06
  • Corporate body
  • 1939-1949

The Polish Women’s War Relief Committee (a.k.a. Polish Women’s Relief Committee, Komitet Polek Niesienia Pomocy Ojczyźnie) was formed by Zwiazek Polek [“Polish Women’s Association”] in Winnipeg on October 20, 1939. It was certified by the Polish National Relief and Defence Committee in Canada Fund and authorized to solicit and make collections on its behalf on December 5th, 1939. The Committee collected, sewed, organized, prepared, and shipped shipments of material goods (including clothing, foodstuffs, and cigarettes) and financial aid to displaced or war-devastated Poles during and following the Second World War. Between the years of 1939 and 1947, the Committee helped hundreds of destitute Polish families and individuals, many of whom were displaced across Europe and had suffered the complete loss of their material goods and property, and many of whom had also lost family members in the War. The Committee also organized shipments of cigarettes and other foodstuffs or necessary material items for war-injured Polish soldiers convalescing in England, and in many cases, organized shipments of goods to their families still in Poland. Finally, the Committee aided hundreds of Polish war orphans through shipments of food and clothing. The Committee’s aid was guided by letters of appeal it received from Poles during and after the War. Awareness of its services was often spread by word of mouth in Poland, as evidenced by the letters in this collection.

The Committee was headquartered at various locations over its primary operating years. The majority of the committee’s activity was centred in the home of its President, Katarzyna Rybak (which was the medical office of her husband, Dr. Frank Rybak), located at 359 Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg. The Committee also received correspondence at 848 Main Street, and at 618 Stella Avenue.

By 1947, most of the operations and activities of the Committee had wound down, and the final records were created in 1949. It is currently unknown whether the Committee officially shuttered or ceased to exist after its main operational functions were complete.

Wazny, Wladyslaw (Walter), 1927-1996

  • CA-OPMA-AR-03
  • Person
  • 1927-1996

Władysław Ważny (a.k.a. Wladyslaw Wazny, Walter Wazny), was born on Aug 18, 1901, in Huta Różaniecka, Ruda Różaniecka, Poland, to parents Agnieszka (nee Krzyszycka) and Karol Ważny. He had four brothers (Kazimierz, Benedykt, Ludwik, Adam) and three sisters (Wiktoria, Franciszka, Katarzyna).

During the First World War, he was a Sergeant in the Polish Army and fought in the Battle of Lemberg (Lwów) in 1919.

Władysław Ważny left Poland via the Port of Danzig and emigrated to Canada in 1927, residing for some time with the Zaborniak family. On April 16, 1931, he married Victoria (nee Wazny) of Melrose, Manitoba, and they settled in Oak Hammock, Manitoba in 1934. Wladyslaw worked as a farmer and also did construction work in the city of Winnipeg. Wladyslaw and Victoria had four children: Erik (Barbara), Robert, Evelyn (Leon) Prucyk, and Jane Wazny. Władysław and Victoria Ważny resided in Oak Hammock until 1995, when they moved to Selkirk, Manitoba.

After his arrival to Manitoba, Wladyslaw maintained correspondence with his parents, brothers, sisters, and numerous nephews, nieces, and acquaintances in Poland, some of whom were born after his departure to Canada and whom he had never met in person. He collected the letters they wrote to him for over six decades. The letters together tell the story of the members of the Wazny, Rebizant, Kudyba, and Bundrya families over many years, depicting their relationships, struggles, and joys. Especially of note are the letters relating to the Second World War, which detail some of the hardships endured by residents of Huta Różaniecka. The letters also remain as a testament to the village of Huta Różaniecka, depicting the stories of its people when it was still a thriving community.

Wladyslaw Wazny was the last of his immediate family to survive, passing away on October 13, 1996.

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