40 years ago “Komitet Obrony Robotników” (KOR) was founded. To honor the anniversary and the people who were involved in this movement, KOD Polonia USA invited Ludwika and Henryk Wujec – key members of KOR – to visit United States.
The whole visit had one theme: “40 years – from KOR to KOD”. The Wujec’s arrived on November 3rd, 2016 Next morning started with live interview in Polish Radio PolskiFM and in Polish TV station Polvision. In both places, which are local polish community broadcasters the Wujec’s shared their experience from the seventieth and eightieth and presented their analysis of current situation in Poland. In the evening, there was a dinner with KOD Polonia USA Board of Directors. The dinner passed in a delightful atmosphere thanks to the hospitality of the hosts and the openness and warmth of the Wujec’s who, are lovely, direct and extremely personable people. The next day Mr and Mrs Wujec went to the campus of the University of Chicago, where they gave an extensive interview to prof. Monika Nalepa, a political scientist who focuses on social movements, political transformations. After a visit to the campus the open meeting with members of KOD Polonia USA Central took place in one of the hotels. The meeting passed in a very cordial atmosphere. At the beginning of meeting Peter J Wlodarczyk announced Ludwika and Henryk Wujec to be the first honorary Members of KOD Polonia USA. They received special Membership cards. During very open discussion, the Wujec shared their incredible knowledge of recent Polish history, the beginnings of KOR, ways and forms of civic commitment and duty of the citizen in the light of government actions contrary to the principles of democracy. The Wujec’s strongly encouraged members of KOD to be active, involved, informed and deliberate members of the community, to undertake various initiatives to oppose any kind of violations of the law. The meeting lasted for almost 3 hours and there was no end to common photographs and warm conversations. Sunday November 6th was a day of Chicago sightseeing and visiting a family. On Monday November 7th Mr and Mrs Wujec left Chicago and flew to Washington DC.
On Tuesday, November 8, the Wujec’s along with representatives of KOD Polonia USA met with leaders of two think tanks – the Center for Private Enterprise, and the National Endowment for Democracy to discuss the current situation in Poland. Following these informative meetings, the Wujec’s, Jon Lahn and KOD Polonia USA’s DC coordinator Kasia Kisztelinska attended a meeting at the Department of State with several high ranking officials with responsibility for Central and Eastern European Affairs. Following their over one-hour meeting at the State Department the Wujec’s attended an election results watching party with friends in the Washington DC area. On November 9th another meeting with members of KOD Polonia USA from DC area took place. It was another example of how warm, knowledgeable and open people the Wujec’s are. They shared their passion and the vision of what they call “citizen duty”. Next stop during the visit in US was in New York, where Ludwika and Henryk Wujec arrived on November 10th.
KOD Polonia USA NYC met with the Wujec’s on November 11th. During the meeting everyone could have a glimpse of the live history and was able to listen to what wise people have to say on how to avoid mistakes or to minimize the impact of them when you are trying to defend your freedom, democracy and the law. To honor Polish Independence Day members of KOD Polonia USA together with the Wujec’s visited the monument of Polish-American Veterans of World War II and placed the wreath. And as it was in every city where Mr and Mrs Wujec went there was a sightseeing and plenty of personal discussion and conversations. The visit of Wujec’s in the USA ended on Novemeber 12th, 2016.
Even though we spent only few days with Ludwika and Henryk Wujec the farewell felt as like we were saying goodbye to close family. Their extraordinary outright cordiality, directness, breaking with every word and gesture of honesty and integrity sunk deep into our memory and heart. We are very happy that we could get to know these unusual people.