History of Polish Community in Brantford Vol. 5
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History of Polish Community in Brantford Vol. 5

As the number of Polish lay organizations, with their particular objectives, increased in Brantford through the years, the need arose of avoiding duplication and conflict of activities where the Polish community as a whole was concerned. For better development of this community a concentration of its strength was also desirable. 
The Canadian Polish Congress, with such a purpose in mind, existed on the national scene. It was decided, therefore, to form a local branch of that Congress in Brantford. This was done on January 9, 1955, with the following chosen as its first executive body: Honorary president, Rev. J. Gira, C.R., Ph.D., D.D.; Joseph Walaszczyk, president; Joseph Lachik, first vice-president; John Stec, second vice-president; John Debicki, secretary; Stanley Bednarz, financial secretary. All the Polish organizations were represented on the board by two delegates from each organization. This was the beginning of the Brantford Branch of the Canadian Polish Congress.
Without disturbing the authority of each organization, the Canadian Polish Congress was able to utilize the united strength of these organizations in matters of major concern to the Polish community in Brantford. Thus, in its desire to uphold national traditions, the Congress has organized national concerts, shows and films, both Polish and Canadian. Each year it has assigned financial aid to Polish veterans and their families who were in need.
Of major importance was the contribution made by the Brantford Branch of the Canadian Polish Congress to the Millennium Fund in Canada. In 1958 the Head Executive of the Congress instigated a drive throughout Canada to establish a million dollar fund, the interest from which would be used for cultural, social and scholastic purposes among the Poles in Canada. The principal of this fund was never to be disturbed. Thus far, the Brantford Branch was contributed over $6,000.
In 1966, through the efforts of the Canadian Polish Congress, the Polish community of Brantford was able to observe successfully the Polish Millennium, marking 1,000 years of Christianity in Poland. The Congress established the committees which organized the banquets, concerts and religious activities of this celebration. In its files are films, photographs and write-ups of these events for the use of future generations. Under the presidency of Mr. Richard Krolack, the Brantford branch of the Canadian Polish Congress actively participated in Canada's centennial program.
This contribution was recognized by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in his speech commemorating the 1,000 years of Christianity in Poland. To quote: "... the qualities of the Polish people add something of great value to our own national character; these qualities of courage, strength, tolerance and high spirit that have enabled them to overcome misfortune and refuse to accept defeat; never to admit that a cause is lost or a loyalty impossible; steadfast in belief and indomitable against oppression; above all, the quality of determination to keep burning the unquenchable flame of freedom without which there can be no enduring peace that has a meaning for men."
As we gather from this short history of the Polish community in Brantford, the Polish people have become deeply assimilated into the life of their adopted country. For the freedom and the generous opportunities Canada has offered the Polish immigrants, they , in return, are trying to contribute to this young country's culture the achievements of their own thousand-year past which they have brought with them.
Due to their spirit of enterprise and thrift, they are achieving, often by means of hard work, personal prosperity, enriching in this manner the general standard of living. There are in Brantford many business ventures, from small to large, under Polish ownership.
The Polish immigrant, prizing education, has urged his sons and daughters to take advantage of the opportunities offered them for higher studies. And the results have been beyond one's expectations. The Polish community in Brantford has amazingly produced great number of graduates with university and college degrees, even the doctorates.
This is rich history for the amount of time that the Polish immigrant has been in Brantford. They contributed the work of their hands, skills and talents to the land that welcomed them. Now, also they contributed their educated sons and daughters and their children to further enrich this beautiful Canadian land.

Photo Gallery
CLICK HERE to view list with names of all Past Presidents since establishment of the Brantford Polish Mutual Benefit and Friendly Society, from 1927 until now.
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Brantford's Polish Senior Citizens 1967 Centennial Year
Front Row: Mrs. S. Wolski, 88; Mrs. A. Smierciak, 90; Mrs. A Drozdz, 77.
Second Row: Mr. Peter Wiacek, 77; Mr. Stanley Neziol, 93; Mr. Joseph Wiacek, 82.

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