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The Ordeal of Ryszard Eibel, Polish Refugee

Many readers can remember the 1985 incident when a Ukrainian sailor jumped from a Soviet merchant vessel in an American port, requested asylum here, but was returned to his ship by U.S. authorities. He was harassed for years afterward by the Soviets at home but survived the USSR and became a priest in Ukraine. Decades before, a similar incident occurred involving a seaman from communist Poland.

On July 24, 1958 twenty-two year old Ryszard Eibel, a sailor on the Polish freighter Fryderyk Szopen, jumped ship in Newark, N.J. He went first to the offices of the Polish language newspaper Nowy Świat in New York City and was directed to the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee (PAIRC). He told the executive secretary that he wanted to remain in the United States and wanted political asylum. He found his way to Boston where he stayed with relatives, then returned to the PAIRC after a couple of days where he was seized by U. S. immigration officers and forcibly returned to his ship, then in Brooklyn. The PAIRC protested to immigration officials, but was told the seaman had only limited landing privileges and Eibel had to be returned to his ship.

Read more: The Ordeal of Ryszard Eibel, Polish Refugee

   

Polmedia Polish Pottery from Boleslawiec

Visit Polmedia with thousands of products from Boleslawiec.

Read more: Polmedia Polish Pottery from Boleslawiec

   

Richard Nixon in Poland

Nixon PolandRichard M. Nixon was one of the most controversial and divisive men ever to occupy the White House. But love him or hate him, he made history by becoming the first sitting American president to visit Poland, in 1972.

It was not Nixon’s first visit to Poland. He had also visited the country as vice president in 1959. In both instances the stops were made after strategically important visits to the Soviet Union and were restricted to Warsaw.

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Pisanki Display - Polish Heritage Day in Washington DC

The day-long exhibit was exhausting but very rewarding - meeting so many people interested in Polish culture. Our apprentice Alysa and her grandma Martha were there with us the entire time. Alysa brought her eggs and worked on them all afternoon - explaining the skrobanie process to all whowere interested.

We got to meet an older Polish pisanki artist, Anna Schneider, who came from Arlington with her family. She actually brought a small box with 4 beautiful traditional-style eggs she made which were the deep brown onion-skin dye with scratched-out design. I was so pleased and excited that she brought them. For the short time she stayed at the show, I placed her eggs in the showcase with mine. I made a point of telling Alysa - this is the REAL thing! It's the first time I've met someone who did this technique - aside from Mr. Jerzy Lipka who taught me in Poland back in the ‘70s. She had her family take pictures of her and me with our eggs in the case. I gave her a couple pisanki notecards of mine, and she said she was going to use them to write and send the photos to her sisters in Poland. This is what the "Traditions" thing is all about, and I was so happy Alysa played a big part in it. I'd like to schedule a visit to this lady with Alysa, so we could share a pisanki making session.

Read more: Pisanki Display - Polish Heritage Day in Washington DC

   

Smigus Dyngus and other Polish old Easter Traditions

Smigus Dyngus (shming-oos-ding-oos) is an unusual tradition of Easter Monday. This day (Monday after Easter Sunday) is called also in Polish "Wet Monday", in Polish: "Mokry Poniedzialek" or "Lany Poniedzialek". Easter Monday is also a holiday in Poland. It was traditionally the day when boys tried to drench girls with squirt guns or buckets of water. "Smigus" comes from the word smigac meaning swish with a cane since men tap the ankles and legs of the girls.

Read more: Smigus Dyngus and other Polish old Easter Traditions

   

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