John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
On November 11, 1918, the day that World War I ended on the Western Front, General Jozef Pitsudski declared Poland's independence. His action was the first step in bringing about Poland's national rebirth after 123 years of foreign domination. Indeed, Poland's borders were only secured in 1921, after nearly three years of war. But thanks to the courage and sacrifices for the independence cause made by countless thousands - in Poland and in the emigration, Poland was restored. Leading the work abroad, both diplomatically and policically, were virtuoso pianist I. J. Paderewski and patriot-activist Roman Dmowski. Their efforts were backed in many ways by people of Polish origin, in America and elsewhere. Thus, a 100,000 man Polish army was formed, whose voluteers dedicated themselves to Poland's freedom. Led by Jozef Haller, this army, which included more than 22,000 men from the U.S.A., took part in battles, in France and in Poland, from 1918 to 1921. More than a thousand of these volunteers came from Wisconsin alone.
With Poland's rebirth in 1918, the principle of Polish independence has never been forgotten - despite the horrific World War II Nazi German and Soviet Russia's to destroy the Nation and the imposition of Soviet rule over Poland between 1944 and 1989.
Today Poland is a sturdy democracy and a staunch ally of the United States. This is a source of great pride, to Polish Americans and to freedom lovers everywhere.
November 11, is also Veteran's Day in the United States, a day first known as Armistice Day and established to recall the courageous sacrifices of our soldiers, sailers and airmen in defending our nation. We salute all those who have made this sacrifice and honor them on this occasion!
Back in Jamestown, 400 years ago, several Polish craftsmen and their families were among the settlers new to America. During the Revolutionary War.in America, Casimir Pulaski and Thaddeus Kosciuszko were two Polish officers who fought on our side. Poland has been dominated by Prussia (Germany), Russia and Austria for many years in the past. When the Polish emigrants came to America at Ellis Island, because they spoke German or formerly lived in German occupied territories, were called German settlers. The Kasubes, from Poland, established the first Polish Roman Catholic Church in Milwaukee, St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church and later built St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Church on the East Side of Milwaukee. St. Stanislaus was the first Polish Catholic Church in America. It also was the starting point for the strikers in the battle for the eight hour day on their way to the Bay View Rolling Mill in 1886. The Kosciuszko Guards were part of the Wisconsin State Militia that fired upon the strikers in May of 1886. They also were members of St. Stanislaus Church. During World War II, it was the Polish that enabled us to get an German Enigma Coding Machine, that we used to intercept the German messages during the war. At Yalta, near the end of World War II, President Truman allowed the Russians to occupy Poland, if they would also invade Japan to help end the war there. This is how the Russians were able to totally take over Poland.
Pope John Paul II, a Polish Cardinal, brought back hope to the Polish people. He told them to never give up hope of freedom. The Roman Catholic Church was the main thing keeping the Polish people united thoughout the years. They have always been on our side during conflicts. We should support them in their cause.
"Mazurek Dabrowskiego" (The Polish National Anthem)
Jeszcze Polska nie zginela
kiedy my zyjemy.
Co nam obca przemoc wrzela
Marsz, Marsz Dabrowski
Z ziemi Wloskiej do Polski
Za twoim przewodem
zlaczym sie z Narodem!