photograph by: Andrzej Bernat
Ball Committee Chair Marie Hejnosz
greets the guests
Teresa Wojcik leads the singing of the
Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia
Annual Polonaise Ball 2018
Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Poland's Rebirth
and Independence on November 18, 2018
at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club
The Annual Poloniase Ball held by the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Poland's Rebirth. The guests were greeted by Polish Heritage Society president Jean Joka and the ceremonies were conducted by Ball Committee Chairperson Marie Hejnosz. Fr. Edward Volz gave the invocation. Teresa G. Wojcik led the singing of the national anthems. This year's honoree was Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm who for a long time worked with the expatriate Polish writer Melchior Wankowicz. Eventually she became his biographer. In addition she has written number of books on other topics: travelogues, interviews with famous Americans and Polish-Americans and even one about her feline friend Suzy. Her works have been published in many languages in various countries.
Dance music for the event was provided by the Rick Gaza Band. The evening's entertainment was supplied by the very professional folk dance group, the Ojczyzna Dancers from Baltimore, MD. There were over a dozen dancers who went through three costume changes to perform traditional dances from the Krakow, Lowicz and Cieszyn regions. Not only did they provide a splendid visual experience but also led the audience in the traditional Polonaise.
The evening ended with a drawing for a number of prizes that included wines and liquors, theatre tickets, and ornamental household items. Several thousand dollars were raised for the Polish Heritage Society's scholarship fund. The Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, provided a felicitous venue and served an excellent dinner, pleasing the guests and promising their return for next year's event.
Folk Dance Group "Ojczyzna" - at center, Marie Hejnosz, Aleksandra Ziolkowski-Boehm, and Jean Joka president of the Polish Heritage Society of Philadelphia
"Ojczyzna" dancers perform the Krakowiak
Dr. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, Ph.D. (University of Warsaw)
An independent scholar, is the author of many books published in her native Polish language and in English. Fragments of her three books were translated into German and published in an anthology.
Among her books are historical biographies, autobiographical stories, the current outlook of Native Americans (her great uncle, Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor of Crazy Horse in the Black Hills of South Dakota was her inspiration), the life of Ingrid Bergman (Aleksandra's husband, Norman Boehm was a close cousin of the famous actress). She writes also about her feline Suzy.
Dr. Ziolkowska-Boehm wrote three books about Melchior Wankowicz, a prominent Polish writer, who for her help and research dedicated his last book to her, and in his will, he bequeathed to Aleksandra his archives.
She has been the recipient of several awards, including a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Culture, the Canadian Polish Research Institute, the Adam Mickiewicz Foundation in Toronto, London Union of Polish Writers Abroad, the Delaware Division of the Arts in the Literature-Creative Nonfiction discipline, the Institute of International Education in Washington, DC, the Kosciuszko Foundation, Gold Cross of Merit (Poland), Skalny Civic Achievement Award, a Fulbright scholarship and Fulbright award.
Five of her books had two or three editions, and they were on the bestseller list, one received the title "Book of the Week," one was awarded as the best book of the year. In Poland her books are published by the well-known publishers, including PIW, Iskry, Muza, Proszynski i S-ka. She published 20 books in Poland, 9 in USA, 4 in Canada.
All of her books published in USA have second editions: Open Wounds A Native American Heritage; On the Road with Suzy. From Cat to Companion; Kaia Heroine of the 1944 Warsaw Rising; The Polish Experience through World War II: A Better Day Has Not Come; Melchior Wankowicz: Poland's Master of the Written Word; Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz. Fate of a Hubal Soldier in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Postwar England; Ingrid Bergman and her American Relatives; Love for Family, Friends and Books; Untold Stories of Polish Heroes from World War II.
Since 1990, she resides in Wilmington, Delaware, 8 years living in Texas. She has one son, Thomas Tomczyk, architect, journalist, cartoonist, magazine publisher and managing editor, author Roatan Magic Hidden Jewel of the Western Caribbean. For 26 years she was married to Norman Boehm, author From a Small Town to the Big World, who passed away in 2016. Polish Press Agency/PAP dedicated an article calling him "a great friend of Poland" (wielki przyjaciel Polski). His biography is in Jan Nowak Jezioranski book Poland's Road to NATO.