Across the Atlantic: The Adamowicz Brothers, Polish Aviation Pioneers
by Zofia Reklewska-Braun and Kazimierz Braun
Moonrise Press, September 2015
ISBN 978-0-9963981-2-1, paperback, 240 pages,
with 56 illustrations, a selected bibliography, and an index, $20.00
ISBN 978-0-9963981-3-8, e-Book (ePub format), download, 4.97MB, $10.00
FROM THE INTRODUCTION
During the summer of 1934, two Polish amateur-pilots, Joseph (Józef) and Benjamin (Bolesław) Adamowicz, who immigrated to the United States of America more than twenty years earlier, accomplished an extraordinary feat. While using exclusively their own resources, skills, brains, cleverness, and diligence, and while taking an enormous risk, they flew over the North Atlantic on a single-engine Bellanca aircraft. Their trip took them from New York to Warsaw.
Their arrival incited euphoria in Poland. Enthusiastic crowds shouting their names met them as they landed at Warsaw’s airport, and then dozens of times during their triumphant tour of their native land. The highest dignitaries of the Republic of Poland received them with honors: President Ignacy Mościcki, Prime Minister Leon Kozłowski, members of the government, mayors of the cities, and generals. During theatrical spectacles actors presented tributes that they designed and rehearsed especially for them. The pilots were amply honored and decorated; both received the “Cavalier Cross of the Order of the Resurrected Poland.” The two pilots were transformed into icons of both resilient Polish patriots and successful emigrants. They became instant celebrities, favorites of the journalists, photographers, and the public on both sides of the Atlantic. [...]
After the initial enthusiasm, the Adamowiczes adopted country, the United Stated of America, treated them harshly. As non-professionals in the aviation world, distant from the elite pilots of their times, the flights by these Polish-Americans were not included in the registers of major achievements of American pilots. Similarly, the general history of aviation neglected to include them in its annals. When it did so, the Adamowicz brothers received only marginal recognition and were mentioned in a context diminishing their achievement. Lies distorted their real story and fun was made of them.
In fact, they were treated as a curiosity. Americans ironically looked upon the figures of two brothers, uneducated Poles, speaking in broken English, with a heavy foreign accent. These pilots were inexperienced in giving interviews, lacked manners, and did not know how to boast and brag about their feats. To make things worse, the disgrace which they carelessly brought upon themselves resulted in almost complete absence of coverage of their lives after their transatlantic journey. Many publications as well as internet files end their story just after their successful landing in Warsaw and the ten-week-long visit to Poland. Frequently, these incomplete accounts conclude with a variant of a remark:“Their further fate remains unknown.”
In this book, we break the curtain and narrate both the known and the unknown parts of the Adamowicz brothers’ story. These events deserve to be recalled. The brothers deserve that their true story be told accurately, with attention paid to the historical detail ─ not filled with journalistic gibberish, unconfirmed gossip, or deliberately fabricated lies.
The Adamowicz brothers accomplished something really significant. They conquered the North Atlantic only seven years after Charles Lindbergh. They were the first Poles to fly over the ocean. They were the very first aviators to fly from New York to Warsaw. It is imperative to give them justice and worthwhile to understand their motives. Why would two simple boys from a small village somewhere in eastern Poland who became laborers in Brooklyn find in their hearts such dedication and summon up enough courage and perseverance to do what they did?
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Kazimierz Braun is director, writer, and scholar. He received his Ph. D. in Letters and Ph. D. in Theatre at the Poznań University, Poland, as well as M.F.A. and Ph.D. in Directing at the National School of Drama in Warsaw. He holds the Professor’s title in both Poland and the USA. He was artistic director and general manager of pro- fessional theaters in Poland, including The Contemporary Theater in Wrocław. He directed more than 150 productions, both professionally and academically, in Poland, the United States, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and other countries. He taught both at Polish and at American universities, including Wrocław University, Poznań University, New York University, City University of New York, Notre Dame University, University of California Santa Cruz, and University at Buffalo. He published more than 50 books in Polish, English, and Czech languages, including scholarly works, novels, and plays, which were produced in Poland, Canada, the United States, Ireland, and Russia. He also published extensively in Polish and American literary and theatre journals, as well as in encyclopedias. He received several prizes for theater, literature, and scholarship, including the awards of the Guggenheim, the Fulbright, the Turzańskis, and the Japanese Foundations. He is member of the International PEN Club, International Theater Institute, Polish Writers Association, and Polish Actors Union.
Zofia Reklewska and Kazimierz Braun married in 1962. They have three children: Monika, Grzegorz and Justyna, as well as five granddaughters: Anna, Joanna, Aniela, Zofia and Elżbieta.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Adamowicz brothers flew over the Atlantic on a single-engine plane Bellanca. Their trip took them from New York to Warsaw; they were the first Poles to do so. They became instant celebrities, favorites of the journalists, photographers, and the public on both sides of the Atlantic. Alas, their triumph was short-lived, followed by a fall from grace, to imprisonment and bankruptcy. This richly illustrated book brings to life their forgotten story. ~ Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D., Moonrise Press
Intriguing and diligently researched, Across the Atlantic is a must-read for enthusiasts of aviation history, as well as those interested in Polish American history. The story of the Adamowicz brothers and their deft flight is a story of triumph and disappointment, victory and defeat, fame and oblivion. The authors are giving those aviation pioneers their second chance in history. ~ Anna D. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Professor of History
Zofia Reklewska-Braun and Kazimierz Braun’s book narrates the many entanglements and paradoxes of brothers Adamowicz life and achievements, as well the history of their times. Only seven years after Lindbergh, they were the first Poles, to cross the North Atlantic on a tiny Bellanca aircraft. The book is written with passion, care for the details, and perfectly documented; it is based on years’ lasting research in archives and on comparative analysis of various sources. All in all it is a fascinating story of the career, ascent, and catastrophe. ~ G. Eberhardt, author of "The World is Normal Anyway," 2014.