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An American Face
In Polish Politics

SILVER SPRING, Md. Poland’s Minister Anna Maria Anders graciously allotted time to meet with the Polonia here on June 21, 2016 at the behest of the Polish American Congress – Washington Metropolitan Area Division and its President Susanne Lotarski. She was warmly welcomed by the twoscore of attendees present; DCM Maciej Pisarski represented the Polish Embassy.  Minister Anders was in Washington to meet with members of Congress on Capitol Hill, various foundations and think tanks, to lobby for the multiple interests of Poland, its present government, and business interests for her senatorial district in northeast Poland. (Photo: Minister/Senator Anna Maria Anders)

Minister Anders is Secretary of State in the Office of Prime Minister Szydlo and the Plenipotentiary of the President of the Council of Ministers for International Dialogue. In March she was elected Senator from the strategically and militarily important northeast region of Poland bordering Belarus, centering on the city of Suwalki. She is the daughter of Poland’s renowned General Wladyslaw Anders and national treasure actress/singer Irena “Renata” Bogdanska.

Born (1950) and educated in England, Minister Anders graduated from the University of Bristol and earned an MBA from Boston University. She still maintains a home in Boston and lived there with her late husband Robert Costa, a Colonel in the U.S. Army, in which her son Robert now also serves. Her book, Corka generala i piosenkarki (“The general’s daughter and singer”) was recently published in Warsaw (2015). Anders’s seemingly borderless life is proving to be a very interesting one encompassing England (U.K.), the United States and now Poland – holding citizenship in each country.

DSC05382forwebIn photo: Minister Anders Meets Polonia. The affable Minister/Senator Anna Maria Anders is pictured being welcomed by the Washington area Polonia. In her later extemporized speech she addressed Poland’s strategic and defense interests, its government’s current policies, as well as recounting her life’s fascinating journey.

A sampling of Minister Anders comments from the meeting are as follows:

“The recent U.K. vote (“Brexit”) to exit the European Union (E.U.) is not good for the U.K. or Poland, especially since 800,000 Poles now reside in the U.K. and their residency status could be challenged …

… The present Polish government is frustrated with the very bureaucratic and dictatorial actions of the E.U. via its European Parliament that imposes itself into the internal affairs of Poland …

… Poland has been attacked – and even labeled racist – for not wanting to take in the Middle East migrants now flooding into Europe. Poland’s nascent “Poles in the East” program wants to repatriate the tens-of-thousands of Poles (and also their non-Polish speaking descendants) who were exiled to the East by the USSR during World War II, especially to Kazakhstan. Poles stranded in Lithuania are also purposed. Last year 300,000 Ukrainians came to Poland and are integrating …

… The American and world-wide Polonia are very important, not just culturally, because they can make investments in depressed areas of Poland to give those Poles a better life with more meaningful opportunities … “

During the Q&A segment, the erudite audience posed many interesting questions on subjects germane to Poland’s present political, geopolitical, economic and educational/academic situations. The resulting dialog was most enlightening, and at times the participants engaged in feisty repartee.

Minister Anna Maria Anders is a member of the conservative Law and Justice political party which in May, 2015 delivered a stunning upset election victory over the liberal Civic Platform party that had ruled for the previous nine years.

DSC05445forwebThe resulting contentious political and legal reverberations are still ongoing in Poland today. As should be expected, Anders represented, projected and defended her party and its governmental policies – all conveyed in a confident and friendly manner to the attentive and appreciative audience.

In photo: Anders autographing her 2015 book “Corka generala i piosenkarki.”

Text & Photos
Richard P. Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau
July 5, 2016