Kossjan Koskowski – Builder of the Polish Community
Kossjan Koskowski was born on August 13, 1904 in Rypień, Poland. He graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics and held a number of positions in Warsaw and Lublin. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Kossjan Koskowski was an officer in the Polish Army. After the battle at Kutno-Łowicz, he was held a prisoner-of–war in Germany until the end of the war in 1945. After liberation, Kossjan joined the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy. From there he was resettled to England where he remained for five years.
In 1950, Kossjan Koskowski immigrated to Canada and settled in Edmonton. Finding employment in his area of expertise was impossible, and he turned his energy to a number of jobs, which included commercial painting, working in a hotel, and working for Andy’s Construction Ltd. owned by Andy Solikoski.
Upon his arrival to Edmonton, Kossjan Koskowski put enormous effort into the Polish community. In 1956 he established the Polish Credit Union, which served the Polish Community well for over thirty years. The early years were difficult. The first office was in a private home, and later was moved to the Holy Rosary Church hall. In 1968 the Credit Union purchased its own office. Until his retirement Kossjan Koskowski served as its manager.
There were also many other important contributions Kossjan made to the Polish community in Edmonton area. For six years he helped organize the Polish program on CKUA radio station. He was chairman of the building committee for the new Holy Rosary Church for four years and a member of the Polish Hall building committee. Later, he served as a member of the Polish Hall administration. For many years he worked enthusiastically on the Executive of the Polish Combatant’s Association (SPK), Branch no. 6 and was President of the SPK for eight years (1962-1967 and 1973-1974). Kossjan Koskowski also was a member of the Polish Millennium Committee (he chaired the Collection Subcommittee) and Chairman of the Copernicus Committee in 1973. In the years 1970-1971, he was President of the Canadian Polish Congress, Alberta Branch, and Vice President of the national Canadian Polish Congress.
Perhaps his finest accomplishment is his work for the Polish Scouting movement of Edmonton. He himself has been a Polish Scout [Harcerz] since 1916. For twenty-five years in Edmonton, he served as President of the Friends of Polish-Canadian Youth (KPH) and was a driving force behind the purchase of land at Garner Lake to establish a permanent home for the Scouts. In 1972, shortly afterward, “Stanica Kopernik” [Copernicus chalet] a base of the Polish Scouts, was build there. A dedicated member of the scouting movement throughout his life, Kossjan helped at many Scout camps over the years at Garner Lake. Few members who passed by his watchful eye will forget the drill orders (in Polish) of “baczność” or “spocznij”. His dedication to Polish youth will be long respected and admired by the many young lives he helped shape.
Kossjan Koskowski, despite ninety-one years of age in 1995, is still an active man. He is seen every Sunday in his familiar seat at Mas in Holy Rosary Church. Kossjan Koskowski is a true pioneer and builder of the Polish community in its first century.
Walter Szwender Jr.
Source: Polonia in Alberta 1985-1995