Beginnings of the Józef Piłsudski Institute in New York (1943-1956)

Krzysztof Langowski



Józef Piłsudski Institute was founded in New York, July 4, 1943. The main aim was to maintain constant and independent scientific research facility dealing not only with collecting and organizing historical documents, but also with popularizing unadulterated knowledge about Poland and its recent history. From its earliest days the Institute was based on financial support granted by Polish activists and on membership fees, as well as on larger donations from some members. Since the late forties, when KNAPP activity slowly began to fade, actions and statements of people associated with the Institute were regarded as guidelines for independence environments. These people formed very cohesive environment, being faithful to Piłsudski heritage, negated any compromises with regard to Polish independence. It was strongly anticommunist rejecting all contacts with PRL institutions. Thanks to the energetic work of people connected with the facility rapidly grew both archival and library collections. In 1949 the collection in the library had grown to 2500 books, periodicals reached up to 800 titles. To the library came valuable Polish diplomatic archives, collections of different personalities, as well as documents showing the huge effort of organizations of Poles, who after the end of the war were on the territory of West Germany.

Słowa kluczowe

Józef Piłsudski Institute in New York; KNAPP; National Committee of Americans of Polish Descent

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