Polish-American Congresswoman Responds to DisparagingComments by OSU President Gee about Polish Army


Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (Ohio-9) today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives rebuked recent comments made by Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee about the Polish army. Click here to watch the video < http://youtu.be/kW4VjmCOSG8> .

“As a Polish-American, I fail to see the humor when the president of a university that is home to the Center for Slavic and East European Studies describes bureaucratic turf battles with administrators at his school as ‘shooting each other…kind of like the Polish Army,’” said Kaptur. Nearly half a million Polish Americans reside in Ohio alone.

Polish-American groups in Ohio and across the country have also criticized President Gee for his slanderous remarks. The Polish American Congress, Kosciuszko Foundation, and the Piast Institute have forwarded copies of their letters reprimanding Mr. Gee to Congresswoman Kaptur.

Congresswoman Kaptur agrees with these Polish-American groups: “His comments revealed not only insensitivity to the suffering of the Polish people over the past two centuries, but a shocking lack of knowledge of history. The leader of a major academic institution should know better.”

Kaptur, an active member of the Congressional Poland Caucus, also recounted the heroic story of a long time friend and Ohio resident, Marian Wojciechowski. Wojciechowski commanded a Polish Army cavalry platoon against the Nazis at the start of World War II and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp before immigrating to the U.S.

“There was nothing disorganized or cowardly about Marian’s home regiment,” said Kaptur, which eventually was awarded the Virtuti Military, Poland’s highest military honor for securing a tactical victory in the Battle of Mokra.

“No, President Gee, the Polish soldiers at Mokra did not shoot at each other; in fact, they inflicted surprisingly heavy losses against the Nazi invaders who lost 800 men,” Kaptur said.

Eventually the Poles’ situation deteriorated as they ran low on ammunition and were ultimately overmatched. Poland lost a higher percentage of her population than any other nation—approximately one out of every five people.  

“The Wojciechowski family story is a metaphor for liberty’s struggle, full of courage, valor and sacrifice.  It is recounted in the book, ‘Seven Paths to Freedom,’ edited by Miroslawa Zawadzka and Andrezj Zawadzki,” said Kaptur.  

“I’m going to send a copy to President Gee. I hope he reads it.”