Category Archives: News

Polish Americans

Polish American Celebrities

Liberace - Polish American. Half-Polish, half-Italian.

Liberace – a famous Polish American. Half-Polish, half-Italian.

Earlier today I heard a report on the radio that the American actor Nicholas Cage had a Polish Grandmother. This was something I was totally unaware of until then. Anyway, it got me thinking what other well-known Americans might have Polish roots. So here’s a list of notable Polish Americans I could come up with. This list is by no means comprehensive. Having never visited the US myself this list is probably rather Eurocentric. Feel free to use the comment section to add your own!

David Duchovny (the X-Files actor)- Polish Grandmother.
Peter Falk (the actor known for Columbo) – of Polish Jewish ancestry
Liberace (pianist / entertainer) – Polish Mother.
Stanley Kubrick (film director) – of Polish Jewish descent.
Charles Bukowski (writer and poet) – with roots in Danzig / Gdansk
Roger Zelazny (Science fiction writer) – Polish Father.
Bobby Vinton (singer) – Polish Father and Mother.
Richie Samobora (guitarist with Bon Jovi) – Polish Father.
Pat Benatar / Andrzejewski (singer songwriter) – Polish Father.
Loretta Swit (actress in the tv series MASH) – Polish Mother and Father.
Dick Dale (Guitarist) – Polish Mother.
Jared Padalecki (actor in tv series Supernatural) – Polish Father.
Neil Diamond (singer Songwriter) – of Polish Jewish ancestry.
Jack White (musician) – Polish mother.
Stefanie Powers (actress in the TV series Hart to Hart) – Polish Mother.
Tadeusz Kościuszko (Hero of the American Revolutionary War) – Polish.
Zbigniew Brzezinski (prominent in US politics) – Polish.
Igor Sikorsky (helicopters) – with Russian / Polish roots.
Ray Manzarek (musician in the Doors) – Polish roots.
Steven Tyler (singer with Aerosmith) – Polish Grandmother.
George Adamski (UFOs!) – full Polish ancestry.
Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple computers) – Father of Polish ancestry.
Maksymilian Faktorowicz / Max Factor (cosmetics) – a Polish Jew.

Related content on Polish Poland:

- Watch a short film about an annual Polish American festival that takes place in Philadelphia, USA.

Shortage of Children in Poland

News from Poland

The New Child Benefit Program

polish child

With an average of just 1.3 children per woman, Poland currently has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Because of this the shortage of children in Poland has been the subject of much debate and in the news a lot over recent years. In an effort to solve the problem the new PiS government plans to bring in a new child allowance where 500 zloties (120 Euros) per child will be given to families each month. Payment will be made only after the second child in each family. Meaning no child benefit will be paid to those families that only have one child. It is thought that this new welfare program will cost the Polish taxpayer around 20 Billion Zloties (5 billion Euros) per year. There is much discussion in the Polish media as to whether this program of child benefit is affordable and will actually result in encouraging women to have more children. Currently direct financial support for families in Poland is almost non-existent.

New Syrena Car

News from Poland

A New Polish Car

polish car syrena

A photograph of the original Syrena, a legend of the the communist period.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development has announced that a new version of the legendary Polish car, the Syrena, will be produced in Kutno from late 2016. The project will cost more than seven million zloties, the majority of which will come from European Union grants and funding.

The new Syrena will have a 1.4 litre 90 hp petrol engine, with a five-speed manual gearbox. The car uses a steel chassis and largely composite bodywork. Production will probably be on a fairly small scale at least initially with it is estimated 500 cars being produced per year. The cost of each car has been estimated at around 60 thousand złoty.

The original Syrena was produced between 1957 and 1983, first in Warsaw and then in Bielsko-Biala.

See a film report on the project (in Polish) and view the prototype version of the new Syrena here.

Related: information on and images of the original FSO Syrena.

Radek Sikorski to work at Harvard

News from Poland

Radoslaw Sikorski to leave Poland

harvard university

Former foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski has been offered work as a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Oxford University educated minister did not put himself forward for re-election in the recent parliamentary general election, and will relocate to the US later this month. He will work at the Centre for European Studies giving lectures and seminars to students and faculty, and generally promote the centre and its academic research. Radoslaw is married with two children.

English in Poland

News from Poland

In a newly published survey Poland has come in 9th place out of 70 countries in terms of English as a foreign language proficiency!

english language in poland

Here are the top 12 countries:

1 – Sweden
2 – Netherlands / Holland
3 – Denmark
4 – Norway
5 – Finland
6 – Slovenia
7 – Estonia
8 – Luxembourg
9 – Poland
10 – Austria
11 – Germany
12 – Singapore

The lowest ranking European countries in terms of English (EFL / ESL) language skills were France and Russia.

The tests were conducted by Education First on almost a million adult users of English as a foreign / second language. In Poland, as was the case in nearly all countries surveyed, women were found to have stronger English skills than men.

Election Result

News from Poland

The Election Result!

Jaroslaw Kaczynski

Jaroslaw Kaczynski on the cover of his book ‘Polska naszych marzen’ (The Poland of our Dreams).

After weeks of speculation the opinion polls have been proved right with the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party winning a majority in yesterday’s parliamentary election.

The broadly eurosceptic popularist party is presided over by the former-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, twin brother of late President Lech Kaczynski. The probable new Prime Minister will be Beata Szydlo.

Elections promises included: opposition to closer EU ties; a lowering of the state retirement age; higher tax on banks and supermarkets; and help for small business.

American Army in Poland

News from Poland

polish army

A scan of part of a postcard sent to us by a family member who served in the Polish army in the late 1990s.

I heard on the radio a moment ago that it has just been agreed that the American army will make use of existing Polish military complexes to store heavy equipment and munitions in and around Drawsko Pomorskie, Skwierzyna, and Choszczno in the west of Poland. Additionally, the US military will increase their presence at an air base in Łask, central Poland. These new facilities it is reported will allow the US army sufficient space to achieve both Poland’s and America’s common defence aims and enable the rapid deployment of soldiers in any future conflict. This new development is a continuation of the growing military cooperation between Poland, the US, and their western European NATO allies in recent years.

army poland

A set of Polish airforce, army, and navy postage stamps issued by the Polish Post Office in 2013.

Wild Bison

News from Poland

zubr bison poland

A Bison has been spotted in a forest clearing in Różanki, near Gorzów, in the western province of Lubuskie. Young male Bison are expelled from their herd and often wander over long distances in search of a new home. This one is believed to have wandered along the River Warta on his travels. Although there are believed to be more than 1,300 Bison in Poland it is unusual to find Bison quite so far west. The largest herd can be found in the Bialowieza Primeval forest on the border between the eastern Polish province of Podlaskie and Belarus.

Three facts relating to Bison:
- The Polish word for a Bison is Żubr.
- All Bison in the Białowieża Forest were the property of the Polish kings until the third partition of Poland.
- The European bison is the heaviest surviving wild land animal in Europe.

Related content: Wolves in Poland.

Nazi Gold Train Found in Poland!

News from Poland

furstenstein ksiaz

The possible location of the Nazi treasure laden train – Schloss Furstenstein / Ksiaz Castle in Silesia, c.1940.

Over recent days much of Polish media has been focused on one story – the rumour that a Second World War German train has been discovered hidden in a tunnel in the mountains of Silesia in south-west Poland. Reports suggest that it contains untold riches in precious metals such as gold, silver and tungsten, artwork, historically interesting Nazi documents, German army tanks, and high-tech secret weapons. Some observers even speculate that the infamous ‘Amber Room’ may be on board this long lost train.

nazi german train

A German train loaded with Nazi German tanks and munitions, c.1944.

Local folklore tells of a massive network of secret underground tunnels hidden under and around Ksiaz Castle (Schloss Fürstenstein) near Walbrzych (former Waldenburg). These tunnels were built in what was until the end of the war part of Germany and it has been reported by Nazi Germany to hide looted valuables from the advancing Red Army. Some fear that the train and tunnel would have been booby-trapped with explosives.

Should the existence of the train be positively confirmed (found) we will report it further here on Polish Poland! In the meanwhile you might like to have a look at some more images of the castle at the centre of the treasure train news.

News from Poland

News from Poland

polish news
news from poland

We have decided to increase the number of news stories on Poland we report on! Hopefully in this way this will help visitors and ourselves to up to date with Polish current affairs and what is happening in Poland.

Our news reports will be items that catch our eye or ear through reading Polish language newspapers, listening to Polish radio, and watching the news on Polish television. Some news stories will be very local. Others will be national news. And still others, international news that may concern Poland. We won’t though be seeking out news stories and reporting them ourselves! Our role will be to simply report in English a variety of news stories reported by established news sources writing or broadcasting in Polish.