Polish-American relationship from colonial Jamestown to King Kong: historian

TVP World invited Paul Coyer, PhD, Research Fellow and Vice President of International Development and Coalitions at the Common Sense Society, to talk about the long history behind Polish-American relations, which date back to before the U.S. gained independence. And what colonial Jamestown in the 1600s and giant apes climbing skyscrapers in the 1930s have in common.

It may be hard to believe, but Poles have been present in what is today the U.S. right from the very start. Soon after the colony of Jamestown was founded in Virginia, Captain John Smith brought over some Polish craftsmen to boost the colony’s economy. That means that Poles have been involved in the American project for over four centuries.

Perhaps the best-known heroes of both Poland and the U.S. are two military men, Tadeusz Kościuszko and Kazimierz Pułaski, the latter widely known as the Father of American Cavalry.

But Haym Salomon, a Polish Jew from the humble town of Leszno in western Poland, is less known. And this was the man whose skills as a banker helped fund the American Revolution, and when at one point there was no one to turn to for credit, Salomon provided the fledgling United States with money out of his own pocket.

Watch TVP World’s interview with Mr Coyer to learn more about those men, and how a group of dashing American flyboys came to pay back what they saw as a debt of honour when Poland was fighting for its independence in the early 20th century. And what does the Polish-U.S. relationship have to do with the iconic skyscraper-climbing scene from “King Kong”?