Friday, June 8, 2012

Anna Dymna Receives the 2011 Modjeska Prize in Poland

 On May 29, 2012 in Kraków, the eminent Polish actress, Anna Dymna accepted the Modjeska Prize 2011 awarded to her by the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles in October 2011 for her extraordinary contributions to Polish culture.

The low-key, warm and friendly ceremony took place at a luncheon sponsored by the US General Consulate in Krakow and held at a gourmet Avanti restaurant, featuring Italian cuisine. The attendees included the Public Affairs Officer in the US General Consulate in Krakow Benjamin Ousley Naseman, and Mrs. Maria Brzostek the Educational Adviser in the Consulate, the President of the Board of Directors of the Polish American Historical Association, Prof. Neal Pease, the President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, Prof. Mieczysław B.B. Biskupski, Prof. Dorota Praszałowicz of the Jagiellonian University, and many other scholars from several countries who participated in the Fifth Workshop on “American Ethnicity: Rethinking Old Issues, Asking New Questions” organized by Prof. Praszałowicz and her team.

The award was presented by an émigré music historian and poet, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, the President of the Modjeska Club and a Board member of the Polish American Historical Association. In addition to the 2011 Modjeska Prize, Ms. Dymna also received a certificate of congratulations from the City Council of Los Angeles.

Anna Dymna studied acting at the celebrated Theater School of Kraków and started her illustrious career while still a student, performing for the Julius Słowacki Theater in 1969. She joined the National Helena Modrzejewska Old Theatre in Kraków immediately after her graduation in 1973 and has performed on its stage since then. Like Modrzejewska, recognized for her talent and beauty, Dymna starred in major plays from the classical repertoire and in numerous films and television series, appearing in over 250 roles to a great critical acclaim. In 2002, she established a Poetry Salon presenting readings by the most celebrated poets and actors and recognized as one of the most interesting cultural activities in the region.

Dedicated to her charity work, in 2003 Dymna established her charity foundation Mimo Wszystko (“Against the Odds”) to provide services to the disabled. She is a recipient of numerous awards for her artistic achievements including the Golden Mask (1996, 1999, 2000), the Golden Screen (1984), and the Golden Lions (1994). In 2004, she received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and The Order of the Smile from disabled children.

Ms. Dymna, accompanied by the Director of her charitable foundation Mimo Wszystko that provides assistance to disabled children, Mr. Marek Kowalski, was gracious and personable in her acceptance speech. She talked about her appreciation of this distinction and her pride of having been honored by an émigré organization maintaining its strong ties with Poland and named after her famous predecessor, actress Helena Modrzejewska. Another poignant link was provided by the fact that for over 40 years, Ms. Dymna has been performing at Kraków’s distinguished cultural institution, the Old Theater (Teatr Stary), named after Helena Modrzejewska.

She also explained the multitude of charitable and artistic duties that she has been engaged in that had prevented her from traveling to Los Angeles to accept the award in person in California. The current projects include a premiere of a new theater show Chłopcy [Boys) by Stanisław Grochowiak, ongoing series of widely popular Poetry Salons in Kraków, and several large-scale charitable events, including Zwyciężać Mimo Wszystko [To Win Against All Odds].

The international group of scholars gave the beautiful actress a standing ovation, in appreciation of her decades of astounding artistic contributions and over ten years of generous charitable activities, helping many children and individuals in Poland. With her talent and heart, Ms. Dymna knows how to make the world a better place.

The Modjeska Club created its Annual Modjeska Prize In 2010, in order to commemorate its patron, the famous Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska (known in America as Modjeska). The Modjeska Prize is awarded to recognize the achievements and contributions of actors to Polish culture. Other past recipients of Modjeska Prizes include actors Jan Nowicki and Marian Dziędziel.

For those who did not make it to Krakow, here are the links to a Photo Album from the Award Ceremony and, as a special treat, to the Krakow's signature melody - Hejnal Mariacki:



1. General Election Meeting of the Modjeska Club will be held on June 23, 2012 at 5 p.m. at the residence of Danuta and Wieslaw Zuchowski in Pasadena. Only members in good standing can vote.

2. The Revised Bylaws will be sent for approval to all Club members in good standing next week.  The vote will be either by mail to Chair of the Bylaws Committee, Andrew Z. Dowen, or in person at the General Election Meeting. We have updated the official English version of the Bylaws and will post the Polish translation on our website.

3. During the General Meeting a preview copy of the Modjeska Club History book will be available for review - Polish version only. If any Club members have pictures or memorabilia, especially from the early period, we are looking forward to receiving photographs for inclusion in the book.

3. We would like to organize a summer trip to Modjeska's House, Arden, in Orange County. The house is open for tours only twice a month and advance reservations are required. Further details will be posted after the elections.

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