Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

Newsletter November 2013


AIPA Key Events 30/11/2011 – 2/10/2013

The committee is very proud to present to our members a list of main events and activities that have either been initiated by AIPA, or with which the Institute has been involved in Australia and in Poland.


Melbourne: Symposium on “Migration and Multiculturalism Today: Australian and European Perspectives” co-sponsored and co-organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Monash European and EU Centre (MEEUC) and Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) at Monash Caufield Campus


Sydney:  AIPA Vice President Mark Burdajewicz issued a letter to Palmer Higgs Books publishers of “Ilyana” by John Orford re slanderous description of Majdanek concentration camp as a “Polish concentration camp”.


Melbourne: The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs’ organised 20th Anniversary Dinner with Guests of Honour, His Excellency Andrzej Jaroszynski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Australia and Her Excellency Ruth Pearce, Ambassador of Australia to Poland. The keynote address was given by Mr. Michael Danby, MP, Chair of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. To commemorate this occasion AIPA issued a special Anniversary Booklet.


Sydney: Professor Martin Krygier wrote a complaint letter to the editor of Time Off magazine regarding an article by Helen Stringer in The Looking Glass column.  The article implied that Polish people were responsible for the systematic murder of 3 million of Jewish citizens of Poland during WWII.

23/9/2012 and 30/09/2012
Melbourne and Sydney: AIPA, in co-operation with the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre, organized an afternoon of poetry and music dedicated to Władysław Szlengel, poet of the Warsaw Ghetto. The event – called What I Read to the Dead – was prompted by the recent publication of AIPA member, Marcel Weyland’s translation into English of a selection of Szlengel’s poems in a bilingual publication. The translation coincided with the commemoration of Szlengel’s death in Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. Similar event took place in Sydney with the support of the Polish Consulate General on 30/09/12


Sydney: AIPA organised a meeting with Mrs Ruth Pearce former Ambassador of Australia to Poland.  Mrs Pearce delivered a moving lecture “My life in Warsaw, the heart of Europe”.  Mrs Pearce stressed the growing importance of relations between Australia and Poland.


Sydney: AIPA initiated a meeting with Krzysztof Zanussi, distinguished film director, writer and philosopher who delivered a presentation titled “Is Europe having future, or only a past?”   His lecture in the Consulate General of Poland was well attended by 150 people.


Sydney: Vice President, Mark Burdajewicz attended a dinner hosted by the Consul General of Poland Mr Daniel Gromann on the occasion of closing of the Polish Film Festival in Sydney.  The dinner was attended by Krzysztof Zanussi, Jerzy Stuhr and film makers from Poland and Australia.

Melbourne: ACMI Cinema, Federation Square
The Melbourne Cinémathèque, with the support of AIPA and the Polish
Consulate, Sydney, organized a screening of Polish films: ‘Poles apart: the cinemas of Andrzej Munk & Wojciech Has’. The films were shown at four separate screenings over 3 weeks. They included Munk’s Człowiek na Torze (Man on the tracks) 1957, Eroica 1958, Błękitny Krzyż (Men of the blue cross) 1955, Zezowate szczęście (Bad luck) 1960; Munk & Lesiewicz’s Pasażerka (Passenger) 1963; Has’s: Sanatorium pod klepsydrą (The hourglass sanatorium) 1973, Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie (The Saragossa manuscript) 1965, Pożegnania (Farewells) 1958, Pętla (The noose) 1958.

Canberra: Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Yarralumla
AIPA with association with the Polish Embassy organized a lecture by Krzysztof Zanussi: ‘Walka postu z karnawałem. Polska w dzisiejszej Europie’ (‘The battle between Lent and Carnival. Poland in today’s Europe’). A reception followed.

Melbourne: AIPA, in co-operation with The Australian Society of Polish Jews and their Descendants [ASPJ] organized a symposium titled WHY POLAND?: Facing the Demons of Polish-Jewish History”. The symposium was convened by Adam Warzel (AIPA), moderated by Bernard Brzegowski-Korbman (ASPJ), and was held at ‘Armargh’, Toorak. The keynote address –“ Lifting the Burden of the Past” – was given by Martin Krygier, Gordon Samuel Professor of Law and Social Theory, University of NSW. The other speakers were Adam Warzel, whose lecture was titled “Why do you hate me, brother?” and Krystyna Duszniak, whose topic was “Why was Poland Different?” The lectures are now available on our website.

Melbourne: Henryk Sławik Award 2012. This annual award is bestowed by The Australian Society of Polish Jews and their Descendants to honour the memory of the great Polish diplomat, politician and humanitarian who saved thousands of Jews in the early 1940’s and was subsequently murdered by the Germans in Mauthausen concentration camp, Austria. The award is given to “an individual or organization that contributes to a greater understanding of the unique and dynamic contribution by the Polish Jewish community to the all embracing Polish culture and ethos.” This year’s award was presented at the Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library ‘Kadimah’ and AIPA was represented there by a number of its members. The 2012 award was shared by Krystyna Duszniak (AIPA member) and Lucyna Artymiuk.

Warsaw: Following his nomination by AIPA, Prof. Norman Davies was awarded Poland’s highest honour, the Order of the White Eagle (Order Orła Białego) by President Bronislaw Komorowski, (the other recipients of this order were Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz and Jerzy Buzek).  AIPA President Prof Pakulski and Mrs Pakulski attended the ceremony in The Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Warsaw:  AIPA members Barbara and Wojciech Zagala represented AIPA at the ceremony awarding Medal of Gratitude to Senator, the Hon John Hogg (ALP, Qld).  President of the Senate of the Federal Government, was awarded a Medal of Gratitude from the European Solidarity Centre (Europejskie Centrum Solidarności). Senator Hogg was nominated for the award by HE Andrzej Jaroszyński, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Canberra, in recognition of the great support that he gave, as a union worker in the 1980’s and 1990’s, to Poland’s Solidarnośc Union, especially during the years of martial law.

Warsaw:  President of AIPA, Jan Pakulski gave a lecture at a sociology conference organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). The theme of the conference was “The social and cultural consequences of Polish migration” (‘Społeczne i kulturowe skutki migracji z Polski’), the title of Prof. Pakulski’s paper being ‘Emigrants and their homeland. Polish-Australian society in the midst of change’ (‘Emigracja i Kraj. Polonia australijska w procesie przemian’). In his paper Prof Pakulski characterized AIPA as a new type of expatriate Polish association.


Sydney: Radio SBS broadcast a talk by AIPA Vice President, Mark Burdajewicz on the occasion of 70th Anniversary of  the official Note of the Polish Government In Exile delivered to the governments of the United Nations on December 10th, 1942 regarding the mass extermination of Jews in German occupied Poland.  The document was based on on detailed first-hand eyewitness account of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Sydney: AIPA with the assistance of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland organized a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the publication of the Polish Government’s Official Note regarding annihilation of Jews in Poland.  The event also commemorated life of legendary courier Jan Karski’s who took his reports to London and Washington. The keynote address was delivered by Prof John Besemeres from ANU, followed by the film “Karski and the Lords of Humanity”, a short documentary of interview with Karski and musical part by accomplished pianist Mr Wojciech Wisniewski.


Melbourne: ABC Radio National broadcast the Melbourne symposium “Why Poland? – Facing the demons of the Polish-Jewish History”.  The symposium, including the discussion that followed, was recorded for ABC Radio National by Margaret Coffey.


Sydney: AIPA in conjunction with the Consulate General of Poland organised lectures and conversation with two sociologists: Prof Jan Pakulski of the University of Tasmania and Prof Danuta Zalewska of the University of Warsaw.  The theme of both presentations was sociological challenges of the post-communist Poland and alienation of youth in the 21st century.


Sydney: A yearly meeting and dinner of Sydney AIPA members was held in the residence of Mr and Mrs Ernest and Margaret Fajwul.   The Consul General of Poland Mr Daniel Gromann,  Consul Mrs Malgorzata Gromann, AIPA President Prof. Jan Pakulski and Mrs Zofia Pakulski and AIPA Treasurer Stas Hempel were also present.


Sydney:  AIPA guest Mr Jerzy Surdykowski, writer, journalist and diplomat delivered a lecture “Poland after transition: a bitter passage from post-communism to post-democracy”.


Melbourne: “Is Polish Democracy under Threat?” – the first Inaugural Andrzej Ehrenkreutz lecture established in honour of AIPA founder, Professor Andrew Ehrenkreutz was presented by AIPA guest Mr Jerzy Surdykowski, who was active in the democratic opposition during Poland’s communist years.


Melbourne:  Former Prime Minister of Australia the Right Honorable Malcolm Fraser launched the book “The Promise of Diversity” written by John Williams and John Bond about the architect of multicultural Australia, Professor Jerzy Zubrzycki.  A large number of Victorian Government officials including Sir James Gobbo, former Governor General of Victoria and Chair of the Australian Multicultural Foundation attended the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs function.


Sydney: Consul General of Poland, Mr Daniel Gromann invited AIPA President Prof Jan Pakulski and AIPA Vice President Mark Burdajewicz to a working breakfast with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Mr Radoslaw Sikorski on the occasion of his State visit to Australia.  Matters concerning Polish community in Australia were discussed.


Sydney: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia Mr Bob Carr invited AIPA President Prof Jan Pakulski, AIPA Vice President Aleksander Gancarz and AIPA Vice President Mark Burdajewicz to take part in a dinner on the occasion of the state visit to Australia of the Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Poland, Mr Radoslaw Sikorski.  Minister Sikorski in his address stressed the importance of strengthening of ties between Poland and Australia and a need of closer commercial contacts between the two countries.


Sydney:  A meeting of three members of the AIPA Executive followed the official functions.  Among other items discussed were arrangements of the functioning of the Executive during the absence of President, who will be on sabbatical leave in Poland till January 2014.


Melbourne: Mrs Alexandra Dunwill, AIPA secretary, represented our Institute at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s private lunch in honour of a distinguished Polish guest, Dr Marcin Zaborowski, Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs.


Melbourn: Members of the Executive Committee farewelled Consul Daniel Gromann at a private dinner function in a restaurant in Melbourne.

2/06/13 – 03/06/13

Melbourne: A visit to Australia by Professor Pawel Spiewak, prominent writer and public intellectual, winner of the 2013 Josef Tischner Prize. Professor  Spiewak  delivered lectures in Melbourne, Hobart, and Sydney.


Sydney: AIPA guest Prof Pawel Spiewak had a lecture at the Polish Consulate General “Polska scena polityczna- blaski i cienie”.  Professor Spiewak was also interviewed at ABC Radio National by Andrew West, presenter of the “Religion and ethics report” and on 8/06/13 he had lunch and a meeting with prominent Jewish leaders at the residence of Mr and Mrs Yoram Gross.


Krakow and Warsaw: AIPA member, Marcel Weyland took part in the International Congress of Translators in Krakow.  In recognition of his work as a translator of poetry from Polish to English he was awarded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage with the Order “Gloria Artis”.  Order “Gloria Artis” is the highest distinction given to individuals promoting Polish culture.


Sydney: At a special function in the Consulate General of Poland, Mark Burdajewicz AIPA Vice President farewelled outgoing Consul General of Poland Mr Daniel Gromann, his wife Consul Margaret Gromann and other members of Consular staff departing to Poland.

2/10/13 – 23/11/13

Melbourne: Polish Films Festival: Melbourne Cinematheque in cooperation with AIPA and the Polish Consulate General organized screenings of films DECALOG  by Krzysztof Kieslowski, in Melbourne and Canberra.


Warsaw: Professor J. Pakulski and Mrs Zofia Pakulski represented AIPA at a Film Festival of films produced by Yoram Gross, a great Jewish-Polish-Australian film maker. The Festival was organised at Jewish Historical Institute and opened by Professor Pawel Spiewak. It attracted a crowd of viewers and an even larger crowd of Yoram’s Friends and admirers.

20/10/2013 The former Consul General Daniel Gromann has been granted Honorary Membership of AIPA.


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