Alliance College Allumni Association

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All checks for ACAA Foundation donations should be made payable to ACAAF and mailed to:

ACAA Foundation
c/o L.J. Rachocki
249 Bridgewater Lane
Sagamore Hills, OH 44067-4129

The book Alliance College 1912-2012 Sto Lat History can be purchased for $25. Checks should be made payable to ACAAF and mailed to the address above.

Alliance College Alumni Association

The ACAA was incorporated in 2002. Your membership and participation is vital to the existence of this organization and to keep the spirit and memory of our beloved college alive. Each alumnus is important in order to maintain the vision and purpose of the organization.

POLONIA SCHOLARSHIP

ATTENTION WESTERN NEW YORKERS!

SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE!

ATTENTION WESTERN NEW YORKERS!

SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE!

The Professional and Business women of Polonia, Inc. is currently accepting applications for the $1,000 scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to help American women of Polish descent to continue their education. Therefore, criteria for the scholarship includes women of Polish descent currently enrolled in a college/university pursuing a degree and living in Western New York. Anyone interested in applying for the scholarship can send a stamped envelope to: Barbara Wetzel, P.O. Box 298, Elma, New York 14059. Completed applications need to be postmarked by April 5, 2017.

100th Anniversary, WWI Haller's Polish Army Officer Training Academy in CS

          2017 - the 100th Anniversary of World War I Haller’s Polish Army

                       Officer Training Academy in Cambridge Springs

by David Matejczyk                                       

          2017 - the 100th Anniversary of World War I Haller’s Polish Army

                       Officer Training Academy in Cambridge Springs

by David Matejczyk                                       

            This year marks the 100th Anniversary of a unique army that fought along side the United States and its allies in World War I.  Known both as “Haller’s Army” and the “Blue Army” this force with ties to the former Alliance College and Cambridge Springs fought courageously with United States troops and its allies in World War I. 

            An announcement in Poland that 2017 will mark a year of honoring General Jozef Haller for his role in fighting for a free and independent Poland, and specifically for his heroics on the battlefield has resulted in a new found appreciation for Haller’s Army.     

            In a recent “Heard and Seen” article by Janet Beanland of The Meadville Tribune, the reporter had a column reviewing what was “making news” in Cambridge Springs in 1917.  Among the items was a notation that on March 23, 1917, there was a “gathering at the Polish National Alliance College welcoming Polish Falcons who were training for active duty in World War I.” 

            The Polish Falcons of America formally opened a training academy for future officers of the Haller’s Army at the Polish National Alliance College in Cambridge Springs 100 years ago this month, on March 19, 1917. 

            Over the next two years over 400 future officers and enlistees in Haller’s Army were housed in the old Rider Hotel, and trained on the Ross Avenue field and throughout the Alliance College campus.  They were eager to fight for their new country the United States, and at the same time be fighting for independence of their homeland of Poland. 

            During last year’s Cambridge Springs Sesquicentennial Celebration, photographs and a history of the training of future officers in the Polish army who would serve in Europe during World War I were shown and discussed during the Alliance College History Night.  Many of the photographs and materials were from the archives of the Cambridge Springs Heritage Society. 

            At a presentation during the Alliance College Reunion Weekend, the history of Haller’s Army and its connection to Alliance College and Cambridge Springs were presented.  Included in the photographs of the troops was a striking photograph of soldiers training on Ross Avenue field in the shadow of the former Rider Hotel (then known as the Polish National Alliance College).  Helen Dziob, an Alliance alumnus who was the daughter of one of General Jozef’s Haller’s closest aides, Captain Frank Dziob was introduced.  Captain Dziob was the Polish Falcons director of the officer training program held in Cambridge Springs.  He was also instrumental is establishing a very large training camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada.

            It was recently announced that in the coming months Polish Public Television will be filming a documentary in the United States and Canada on Haller’s Army, focusing on the military actions of Polish Americans in 1917 and 1918.  Over 20,000 troops were recruited in the United States and Canada for service in Haller’s Army.  A recent press release noted the film crew will visit various cities in the United States and Niagara-on-the Lake, Canada. A large commemorative marker is in the downtown of the Canadian town.  Each year a memorial service is held in the community.

            It is not known if the Polish film crew will visit Cambridge Springs, which played a unique role in Haller’s Army.

            Unfortunately, the role and connection of Cambridge Springs and Alliance College to this historic army are often overlooked, and long forgotten.

            Some history is in order.  The formation of Haller’s Army paralleled the entry of the United States into World War I in 1917.  Future Polish Prime Minister Ignacy Paderewski had formed a warm relationship with United States President Woodrow Wilson.  Paderewski submitted a proposal to the President calling for the acceptance of Polish-American volunteers for service on the Western Front. 

In 1917, President Wilson would issue formal approval: “That recruitment to the Polish Army all those who do not fall in the category of potential recruitment into the United States forces is hereby approved without impediments.”  The soldiers were mostly recent Polish immigrants who were not yet American citizens.

            Paderewski the year before was in Cambridge Springs.  He believed the Polish National Alliance College was a natural choice for the training academy.  He stayed on campus at the former Rider Hotel and addressed the 1916 graduates of the college. 

            Haller’s Army would first see battle in France while relieving the Tennessee “Wildcat” 81st Division at the front in the Battle of Champaign.  It would become the first time the colors of the United States and Poland would fly together in battle in World War I. 

            The New York Times in a dispatch on the war noted that the French Military Mission in Washington received notification of the first casualty of Haller’s Army, Lieutenant Lucyien Chwalkowski.  The New York Times noted Lieutenant Chwalkowski was a 30 year old Polish immigrant who was a military instructor at the Polish Falcons officer training camp in Cambridge Springs.  He would be the first of many casualties from Haller’s Army.

            One of the recruiters for Haller’s Army was Stanley Luter.  Residents of Cambridge Springs, and virtually all alumni of Alliance College fondly remember “Mr. Luter.”  Luter served with distinction as a lieutenant in Haller’s Army.  An expert swordsman, he engaged in some of the fiercest battles of the war.  Luter in 1925 returned to Cambridge Springs, and worked at the college for the next several decades.  Unfortunately, the college’s museum which included Luter’s sword, medals and other items relating to Haller’s Army were destroyed in the Rider Hotel fire in 1931.  In 1934, General Haller visited Cambridge Springs where he was a guest of honor at Alliance College.

            Ironically, Cambridge Springs would play one last coincidental side note as to Haller’s Army.  One of the World War I Polish Army’s Chaplain, Father Jozef Jaworkski visited Cambridge Springs in January of 1962.  While visiting the college the 81 year old priest fell ill and died.  

            At the last Alliance College reunion it was noted that at one time a memorial to Polish Americans who trained in Cambridge Springs and fought along American troops in Haller’s Army existed at the top of Thomas Street.  It was removed when the college closed.  A discussion at the alumni presentation focused on the possibly of locating the World War I memorial to Haller’s Army (or creating a new plaque) and returning it to Cambridge Springs.

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Photographs (located in the photo gallery):

-Polish Army Training on Ross Avenue Field - 1917.

-Officers at the PNAC (Rider Hotel) entrance.

-Polish Statesman Ignacy Paderewski at the Rider Hotel, Cambridge Springs, Pa.

-General Jozef Haller and Captain Francis Dziob.  Dziob was the director of the training academy in Cambridge Springs.

-Canadian Government Granting Passage of Troops Document to Captain Francis Dziob. 

-New York Times Article noting the First Casualty, Lucyien Chwalkowski, who trained in Cambridge Springs.

Casting Call for Documentary

Logo

 

 

1.  In just a few months, the filming of a documentary focused on the military action of Polish Americans in 1917 and the impact of Polish Americans and the United States on regaining independence of Poland in 1918 will begin in the U.S. The film is being made in English, by request of Polish Public Television TVP. The documentary will broadcast both in Poland and in the U.S., and will be part of the promotion of Poland in the U.S. on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of regaining its independence.

2.  The director of this documentary hopes to tell the story through the eyes of a young person, an American of Polish origin, whose ancestor enlisted in 1917 to the army of General Haller, took military training in a camp in Niagara-on-the-Lake and fought for a free Poland. That person will be the narrator of the film, and together with a film crew will visit several places connected with the story, including Pittsburgh (Headquarters of Polish Falcons), Niagara-on-the-Lake (historical campus), New York (Headquarters and museum of Polish Army Veterans Association in America), New Jersey (wood carving workshop of artist Andrzej Pityński, the creator of the monument of Military Action of Polonia standing in Warsaw), Milwaukee (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), Chicago (Polish Museum of America) and Warsaw (National Museum, a monument of Polonia's military actions) and the burial place of the ancestor of the narrator (cemetery). In these places, the narrator will be discovering the story of his/her ancestor, and learn the history of this unusual action of Polonia, which will be told by experts in this subject (historians, representatives of museums and Polish organizations, etc.).

3.  We are looking for young people who would like to appear in the movie and experience new adventures, including a trip to the country of their ancestors. They must meet the following requirements:

  1. Ancestor enlisted in the army of General Haller and fought for Polish independence
  2.  20-25 years of age
  3. Eloquent
  4. Confident appearing and speaking in front of the camera
  5. Desire and passion for discovering an extraordinary history and experiencing adventure in film
  6. Minimal knowledge of the subject, could be from family stories and having home memorabilia (i.e. old photos, medals and orders, old documents, etc.). But, this is not a prerequisite because the discovery of family history from scratch will be equally, if not more, interesting for both the viewer and the actor.

4.  Those meeting the above conditions and wishing to appear in the film should send an e-mail to ejean@polishfalcons.org with a brief description of their ancestor who took part in the military action of Polish Americans in 1917 and fought for an independent Poland, also information about themselves, why they would like to appear in the film, and a current photo (whole figure). One person will be selected from among those who submit the most interesting offer.

5.  The deadline for submitting the above information is April 1, 2017. Thank you.

 
 

Reunion 2016

Reunion 2016 Recap is available. Click here to read more.

Reunion 2016 Recap is available. Click here to read more.

 

 

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