The UNO Libraries is pleased to announce that oral history interviews conducted in the late 1970s with three Polish American Omahans are now available online. The interviews by UNO History student Andrew S. Fidler with Mitchel Cegielski, George Kielak, and Roman Pulcelik discuss each man's experiences in Poland as a child or young man before and during World War II as well as their lives since settling in Omaha.
The oral history interviews are part of the Omaha Stories: Oral Histories of Omaha, Nebraska website project. These interviews are part of the American Indian Oral History and Omaha Folklore Project Oral History Collection in UNO Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections.
Along with the audio recording freely available online, folks may also opt to follow along with the transcript or just a summary for each interview. The transcripts of the interviews are also searchable. Here is more information about each interview.
In his 1978 interview George Kielak shared his experiences fighting for Poland during World War II and as a prisoner of war after capture. Kielak was a Boy Scout before Germany invaded Poland and as a result received training to serve in the Polish underground after the German invasion. Kielak discussed the underground schools and classes available to older school children during the war. Kielak also shared some information his journey to the United States as an immigrant after the war.
Dr. Mitchell Cegielski was interviewed in April 1977 and talked about his experience in Poland during World War II, particularly being under the control of the U.S.S.R. After the war, Cegielski stayed in Poland where he married, had children, and received his medical training. He and his wife were both medical doctors and were able to get visas to leave Poland and settle in the U.S. in the late 1950s. Dr. Cegielski also discussed his experiences after moving to the United States and the Polish American community in Omaha.
The 1977 oral history interview of Roman Pulcelik covers his time living in Poland, fighting in World War II, and surviving imprisonment as a prisoner of war. Pulcelik attended the Polish military academy and fought with the partisan forces after Germany invaded Poland. This led to a lengthier discussion of the Polish military. In the interview Pulcelik shared his experiences of the atrocities that occurred during World War II and as a survivor of the camps. He talked about the connections forged among those who suffered together in concentration camps and emphasized a global perspective in the recognition of universal human rights as a result of the Holocaust.
The American Indian Oral History and Omaha Folklore Project Oral History Collection in UNO Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections includes dozens of interviews conducted from the mid-1970s through approximately 1980 (finding aid available online). Along with the Reflections in Time video recordings, describing these audio interviews and making them available online is part of the Omaha Stories: Oral Histories of Omaha, Nebraska website project.
Stay tuned for more about some of the over 200 interviews conducted from 1974 to 2007 from Omaha Stories: Oral Histories of Omaha, Nebraska.
The Omaha Stories initiative is part of UNO Libraries' strategic priority to cultivate, share, and preserve digital resources and scholarship. Omaha Stories is funded by Humanities Nebraska (HN) and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The UNO Libraries' Eugene S. and Sunny M. Thomas Fund for Innovation provided matching funds.
The Omaha Stories: Oral Histories of Omaha, Nebraska website is one of many grants funded by HN. HN awards more than $257,000 in grants each year.
About Humanities Nebraska and Grant Funding
Created in 1973 as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, HN is an independent, non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of public and academic members. HN funds programs that explore Nebraska's heritage, build community awareness, and strengthen our ties to cultural traditions at home and abroad. The Nebraska Cultural Endowment is a public/private partnership that designates funds to HN for distribution.
Any non-profit group is eligible to apply for a grant from HN. The HN staff is available for grant consultation and will read proposal drafts. Contact the HN office if you need assistance with a project idea. For a copy of Humanities Nebraska grant guidelines, contact HN at 215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 330, Lincoln, NE 68508, phone 402-474-2131, fax 402-474-4852, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The entire grant guidelines packet is online at: http://humanitiesnebraska.org/.
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