Poles in San Diego
History as well as social and religious life of the community
by Pawel Pia

Beginning of Polonia in San Diego
The first mention of a Polish presence in San Diego appears on March 4th 1902. It was discovered by Professor Jozef Patyk: "On that day Thomas Nalewaja arrived in San Diego from Los Angeles to seek 10,000 acres of land ... to settle 100 Polish immigrant families on this land ... There is no trace of a realization of this plan..."
The oldest Polish organization in this area is the Polish National Alliance (Lodge 1443). The minutes of the first meeting on February 4th 1912 in Castle Hall list the new officers of the organization as follows:
Chairman citizen K.W. Engleman Vice Chairman citizen J. Lebiedzinski Recording Secretary citizen S. Krzywosz Financial Secretary citizen W. Kaczmarek Treasurer citizen S. Sniegowski.
Members were: citizens Jozef Szactmayer, Jan Lakowski, H. Jasinski, J. Zakowski, H. Zychlinski, J. Witkowski. The meeting ended with the chorale Boze Cos Polske. The same document lists as organizing members of Zywiol Polski Na Zachodzie, addressing them formally as Pan (Mister): K.W. Engleman, J. Zakowski, J. Witkowski, S. Sniegowski, J. Szachtmayer, W. Ziolkowski, H. Zychiinski, J. Lebiedzinski, Krzywosz and Dr. Wicherski. Such were the beginnings. Presently the chair of Lodge 1443 is filled by the energetic founder of the folklore dance group Polonez, Ms. Ewa Chrzanowska.
Another fraternal organization in the area is the Polish Women Alliance, once very active, now somewhat reduced in numbers. It is working under the leadership of Mrs. Joan Choban.

1936 - Polish American Association of San Diego
"In 1935 a few dozen Polish families moved to San Diego from Buffalo when an aircraft factory established a branch here and transferred its employees" - wrote the late Prof. Patyk.
In 1936 the Polonia Club was organized, forerunner of the present Polish American Association of San Diego. PAA is the proud owner of a club house, a bungalow located at 1934 30th Street. In the collective memory of Polonia this place is a vision of sausage and cabbage feasts, of fowl delicately spiced and fried to dripping perfection, of mountains of home made pastry prepared and happily consumed by the diverse Polish groups on the premises of this club.
The main event on the PAA calendar is the annual May 3rd Ball, always very well attended. Adelbert Jasiczek wields the gavel at the present time. Among the numerous active members one couple stands out like a symbol of proud Polish self-awareness: Tessy and Eddie Raymond. They belong to the pioneering group which came to San Diego in 1935. He co-signed the purchase of the club house. Considering their kindness to later arrivals, one has to place them right there in front with that of the late Jerzy Pruski, the guardian angel of the helpless and lonely immigrants.