A Celebration Gone Too Far

Monument of Gratitude” by Xawery Dunikowski, Hoover Square, Warsaw, ca. 1933. (HHPL-M image #31-1933-54)

A previous blog post (see Herbert Hoover Loses His Head) dealt with the Xawery Dunikowski statue, Monument of Gratitude, dedicated in Warsaw’s Hoover Square in 1922 in memory of the American Relief Administration’s [ARA] postwar food relief efforts. Individuals who served in the ARA began a series of reunions in 1925 that met almost annually until 1965. A publication, A.R.A. Association Review, contained interesting articles as well as updates on members, like a college or university alumni association newsletter. In the January 1928 edition, a curious article entitled “Ogrod Hoovera” appeared describing an event around the Dunikowski statue.

The statue in the Ogrod Hoovera, Warsaw. Ten o’clock at night. Varied ragged beggars in high glee. So gleeful in fact that they were giving vent to their feelings by high pitched singing and the dances of their folk around the statue erected to The Chief. It becomes necessary for the police to disperse them, but it is impossible. Help is summoned and the lot are taken to the station. Upon investigation there it is learned that the revelry is in truth a celebration given by “Amerikanka,” a lady of seventy or thereabouts who is very high in begging circles. It further evolves that she had called her most intimate set together to celebrate with sausage, bread, and vodka the receipt of a remittance of American dollars from a relative in the United States. It further evolved, upon inquiry, that she had chosen the Ogrod Hoovera in preference to a more exclusive and private spot, because she felt that money received from America which was providing a feast should be dedicated at the Shrine of America in Warsaw. The lady is called “Amerikanka” by her colleagues and the police and has 98 arrests to her credit.

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