A Polish American Congress Tribute To S.P.A.T.A.
Brooklyn, NY .. When the Downstate New York Division of the Polish American Congress selected the Society of Polish American Travel Agents (SPATA) to be honored at its 2013 Annual Awards Banquet, it chose an organization it had a personal hand in creating back in 1959.
The current president is Honorata Pierwola, who runs the Association from her travel office in New Jersey. Its membership roster has grown over the years to 160 active and associate members at this time. Under Mrs. Pierwola’s leadership, SPATA aims to further develop tourism between the United States and Europe, particularly Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.
The 1959 connection between the Polish American Congress (PAC) and SPATA arose at the time Boleslaw Laszewski held the office of vice president of the Downstate Congress already in existence since 1944. As a former citizen of Poland, a nation completely devastated in World War II, Laszewski’s vision of a resurrected and modern Poland had enticed him to become a travel agent himself. Forming an organization like SPATA became the obvious next step for him.
Being one of the founders of SPATA, Laszewski played a vital role in the Association’s growth and development until his death earlier this year at age 100 while still holding the title as its Honorary President.
With the SPATA leadership now in the hands of a new generation of Polish Americans, hopes keep rising for Poland to expand its role as a dominant force among the countries which have now begun to savor the freedom and independence so long denied them while they remained under Communist domination before 1989.
Tourism between United States and Poland would easily accelerate this goal. But Poland presently faces an archaic and needless obstacle which the Polish American community believes should have long ago been removed.
Although the U.S. allows the citizens of 37 other countries to travel here without the need of applying for an American visa, it still denies this privilege to Polish citizens. “That’s why SPATA supports the Polish American Congress in its current drive to get Poland into the Visa Waiver Program,” said Mrs. Pierwola.