Dziennik Chicagoski -- August 26, 1893An Open Letter to the Polish Day Central Committee
"Thanks to your initiative, gentlemen, there is no longer any doubt that a Polish Day will be celebrated. The only question that remains is how it will be celebrated. You are now considering this question; whatever you decide will, of course, be good and proper. Although I am a newcomer here and have not as yet had a chance to become acquainted with you, I hope you will be kind enough to accept a suggestion from me. I believe, as you do, that nothing that has to do with our homeland can be of indifference to us.
"When the Polish Day question was still a matter for speculation, I read in Dziennik Chicagoski the list of floats that were to embellish the parade. In this list, I noticed the absence of one float--Polish womanhood--which cannot be omitted if the allegorical panorama is to be complete. If the aim of such a parade is to emphasize the important events in a nation's history, 2then more so in our history than in any other do women occupy a noteworthy place. They have had this place since the very dawn of Polish history to its final hour--beyond it even, forming a glorious bridge between the past and the future. Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula River rather than marry a German prince [legendary]; Rzepicha [wife of Piast, first Polish ruler, also legendary], that first example of capable, hospitable Polish womanhood; Dabrowka, by whose efforts Miecislaus I accepted baptism at the hands of Bohwid and introduced Christianity into Poland; Kunegunda, the saintly wife of Boleslaus, who discovered [the salt mines of] Wieliczka, the greatest deposit of its kind in the world; Jadwiga, that Lithuanian Dabrowka, who christened Lithuania and gave it and the Jagellons to Poland --what a splendid array of women! What nation can boast of its like? Later, there was Chrzanowska, whose valor exceeded that of the men at Trembowla ; Teofila Zolkiewska, the hetman's widow....; finally, Emily Plater, who fought and died for liberty [insurrection of 1831]; and Mother Makryna, who by her saintly life, endeavored to appease God's anger.
"And later? Later, the number of heroic women was counted by the thousands, and although there are no longer wives of kings or daughters of generals, the Polish woman arises--she is the wife of an insurrectionist, or an exile's 3mother--and stands guard over the nation's memories. 'O Polish Mother!' ['O Matko Polko!'] cried the poet Mickiewicz, and in truth, no longer on the sword of her husband, but on the tear-washed prayer book, she teaches her children to rand in Polish, there where one is not even allowed to think in Polish. Often she must engage in a desperate struggle to save her child for Poland and for the Catholic faith. From the villages of Podlasie all the way to the exile camps of Siberia, she travels the bloody road with a babe at her breast, leaning upon the arm of her husband, carrying the tears of Poland 'in her hair', as the poet says, sowing the seeds of future vengeance.
"Hail to our Polish women, who have aroused everyone's admiration, and who are feared by our enemies; it was not long ago that the Iron Chancellor [Bismarck] said that Polish womanhood is the strongest bulwark of Polish nationalism (Polskosc).4
"Let us then pay tribute to Polish womanhood on so solemn and significant an occasion as Polish Day. Would that you could share by views,gentlemen! With this fond hope, I am,
"Stanislaus M. Broel"
II B 1 c 3, I K, III H
Secondary listingsPolish // Attitudes > Position of Women and Feminism (I K) ?
Polish // Assimilation > Relations with Homeland (III H) ?
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