History

Cold War, Featured, Glos Ameryki, History, Radio, VOA, VOA80, Women

Discrimination of Refugee Broadcasters by Voice of America Management Has Been Hidden for Decades

Treated for decades as second-class citizens and denied direct access to wire services by native-born, mostly white, mostly left-leaning, and mostly male Voice of America (VOA) managers and reporters, these VOA immigrant broadcasters, some of them outstanding women journalists who spent time in communist prisons, did their best to win the propaganda war with the Soviet Union and its satellite…

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Poland, Radio, RFE, VOA

Polish Journalist Stefan Bratkowski Dead at 86, Praised Radio Free Europe During Cold War

I was saddened to learn that Stefan Bratkowski, born 22.11.1934, described on Culture.pl website as “one of the outstanding Polish journalists of the last few decades” died on April 18, 2021. He was one of the organizers of the Jan Nowak-Jeziorański Association of Employees, Freelancers and Friends of the Polish Service of Radio Free Europe formed in Poland in 1994.…

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Cold War, History, International Broadcasting, Russia

Techniques of Soviet Propaganda – Radio Broadcasts

By Ted Lipien for Cold War Radio Museum Recently I bought on eBay a pamphlet titled “The Technique of Soviet Propaganda” published in 1960 by the United States Government Printing Office. It is described as a study presented by the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the…

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Cold War, History, International Broadcasting, Poland, Radio, RFE, VOA

Voice of America Polish Service journalists accused of being anti-communist Reagan saboteurs

by Ted Lipien Kazimierz Adamski, “Dywersja Głosu Ameryki: Polska na specjalny obstalunek,” Głos Pomorza, January 9, 1986. An article titled, “DYWERSJA ‘GŁOSU AMERYKI’ Polska na specjalny obstalunek” (“‘Voice of America’ Sabotage: Poland by Special Order“), appeared in the regional Polish Communist Party newspaper Głos Pomorza on Poland’s Baltic coast on January 9, 1986. It was a review of a book…

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Blog, Children, Highlights, History, RFE, Russia, Women

Planned assassination of a journalist linked to Polish children prisoners in Soviet Russia

Having served briefly (Dec. 2020-Jan. 2021) as Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President and having been before Voice of America (VOA) Polish Service chief in the 1980s and VOA acting associate director in 2005/2006 in charge of central programs, I wanted to repost my 2019 Silent Refugees website’s article on how early VOA managers, editors and journalists lied about Stalin’s crimes and repeated Soviet propaganda. Fortunately, VOA no longer repeated such Soviet disinformation during the Cold War, and dropped all restrictions during the presidency of Ronald Reagan on reporting on communist human rights abuses. To their great credit, neither Radio Free Europe (RFE) nor Radio Liberty (RL) ever censored news about the Soviet Gulag, which the Voice of America occasionally did even as late as the 1970s.

A Soviet-instigated plan to kill an anti-communist woman journalist in the early years of the Cold War was linked to her attempts to tell the story of thousands of Polish children who in 1940-1941 had been deported with their families from eastern Poland to Siberia and Central Asia where many died from brutal treatment. The assassination plan was revealed in 1953-1954 by a defector to the West from communist-ruled Poland and was never carried out.

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Children, History, Iran, OWI, Photos, VOA, Women

Polish refugee woman from Russia as seen in American propaganda

U.S. Government Propaganda Photo By Ted Lipien Almost no one knows today that one of the targets of misleading Soviet and American propaganda during World War II were Polish refugees fleeing from Russia. Before they were refugees, they were Stalin’s prisoners. The Red Army and the NKVD Soviet secret police occupied their cities, towns and villages in pre-war eastern Poland…

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History, International Broadcasting, RFE, RL

Archibald MacLeish on the right to a free press

As I prepare to start my new job as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/FL), an organization which contributed greatly to the peaceful fall of communism in East Central Europe and in the former Soviet Union and continues today to counter censorship, propaganda and disinformation with outstanding journalism, I’m re-reading books on U.S. international broadcasting history published…

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, OWI, Poland, RFE, VOA

Soft Propaganda by Former Voice of America Editor Targeted Americans in Support of Communist Regime

Mira Złotowska, later known as Mira Michałowska, who during the Cold War published books and articles in English in the United States and in Great Britain as Mira Michal and used several other pen names, was one of many radically left-wing journalists who had worked in New York on Voice of America (VOA) U.S. government anti-Nazi radio broadcasts in the…

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Cold War, Featured, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Radio, VOA, Women

USAGM uhonorowuje Zofię Korbońską, dziennikarkę sekcji polskiej Głosu Ameryki

Informacja prasowa USAGM [U.S. Agency for Global Media – Agencji Stanów Zjednoczonych ds Globalnych Mediów] USAGM uhonorowuje Zofię Korbońską, dziennikarkę sekcji polskiej Głosu Ameryki [Voice of America – VOA] 16 sierpnia 2020 r Waszyngton, DC – Dziś mija 10-ta rocznica śmierci Zofii Korbońskiej, uczestniczki antyhitlerowskiego ruchu oporu w Polsce w czasie drugiej wojny światowej, która po wojnie w ucieczce przed…

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, Poland, RFE, VOA

Communist secret police in Poland spied on Voice of America’s Willis Conover to shut down Radio Free Europe

By Ted Lipien for Cold War Radio Museum Polish communist intelligence service and secret police spied on Voice of America’s (VOA) jazz expert Willis Conover during his visit to Poland in 1959 and tried to exploit it to influence U.S. diplomats into silencing Polish broadcasts of Radio Free Europe (RFE). As reported by Polish media, the spying on Conover is…

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Cold War, Featured, History, Poland

American Friends of Poland

Amerykanie w Polsce – Americans in Poland, 1919-1947 is a visually stunning bilingual catalogue for the exhibition which was held last summer in Warsaw at the History Meeting House (Dom Spotkań z Historią) in partnership with the US Embassy and American Center Warsaw. The catalogue can now be purchased online (follow instructions listed below) to help cover the expenses involved…

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History, Poland, RFE, RL, VOA

The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II by Victor Suvorov

By Ted Lipien I would like to thank Bill Coe for bringing Victor Suvorov’s book to my attention. Journalists reporting on Vladimir Putin’s latest attempt to re-write history with his propaganda and disinformation blaming the start of World War II on Poland–the first victim of the war and the first country to resist militarily Hitler’s Nazi Germany–should read The Chief…

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Children, Cold War, Featured, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Media, Poland, Radio, RFE, VOA, Women

Radio was a ‘childhood companion’ of Polish Nobel Prize author Olga Tokarczuk

I learned something today by reading on the Internet the Nobel Prize in Literature Lecture delivered on December 7, 2019 at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk. As a young girl growing up in Poland in the 1960s and the 1970s, a country at that time still under communist rule until 1989, she was often listening…

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Glos Ameryki, History, VOA

Hollywood’s Polish Latin lover who terrorized Voice of America broadcasters

By TED LIPIEN

The name of the handsome man with a tanned Latin complexion in the 1942 publicity photo was Edward Raquello. He was a Hollywood actor, but he soon became known as a “very talented terror” at the Voice of America (VOA), the U.S. government radio station broadcasting abroad, where he was hired that year as a producer and put in charge of training radio announcers during World War II and later in the early years of the Cold War. Before his Voice of America career, he played Latin lovers in a number of Hollywood films. Radio Daily, the national newspaper of commercial radio and television, referred to him in a report on July 7, 1943 as being “once known as the ‘Polish Valentino’ at the time the late Carl Laemmle brought that European film star to to Hollywood.” The paper praised his role as the “Polish immigrant” in a radio play titled America the Beautiful. Had we known earlier that Edward Raquello was the voice of the Polish immigrant, the paper wrote “the thrill to our ears wouldn’t have been so unexpected” “[His]splendid performance” Radio Daily added, “will be remembered (at least by this reporter) for many years,” 1

His American friends called him Eddie. Raquello was his American name. His name in Poland, where he was born on May 14, 1900 to a middle class Jewish-Polish family in Warsaw, then still within the Russian Empire, was Edward Zylberberg (Silberberg). His father died when he was a child. He was raised by his uncle, Beniamin Rykwert, the head of the Nożyk Synagogue who supervised his religious education. His mother, who died in 1932, ran a successful bakery and patisserie shop in Warsaw.

While still in Poland, Wowek, as he was affectionately called by his family, changed his last name to a more Polish-sounding name, Kucharski. In 1917, he began studies at the technical university in Warsaw, but his higher education was interrupted by the 1919-1920 war with the Soviet Union. Edward must have been a highly capable young man because he was chosen as a personal driver for Polish general Józef Haller despite the fact that some of Haller’s volunteers were strongly anti-Semitic, falsely accusing Polish Jews of siding with the Bolsheviks. With the exception of a few Polish and Polish-Jewish communists who took orders from Moscow, Edward and many other Jewish students saw themselves as Polish patriots and fought alongside ethnic Poles in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw which stopped and reversed the advance of the Soviet Red Army.

After the Polish-Soviet war, Edward started his acting career in Polish films. He also performed in theaters in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Kraków, Berlin, London, and Paris. An excellent, comprehensive and well-sourced article in Polish by young journalist Marek Teler, titled “Edward Raquello – zawrotna kariera polsko-żydowskiego Latynosa” (“Edward Raquello — A Meteoric Career of A Polish-Jewish Latino”), describes how Edward found his way to Hollywood. Rosabelle Laemmle, the daughter of the Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle reportedly hired Edward as her dancing partner in Paris when he fell on hard times. She immediately noticed his resemblance to Rudolf Valentino. The party-loving young woman was believed to have persuaded her father to offer Edward a contract with Universal Pictures. He arrived in New York on March 26, 1926.

A Latin Lover and Broadway Actor

Edward’s first Hollywood name was Edward Regino before he changed it to Raquello, possibly to honor his beloved sister Rachel who remained in Poland. Rachel survived the Holocaust, but his other sister, Jentel, was murdered in a German concentration camp together with her husband and their two children.

Edward Raquello’s first notable American role was that of a dancer Raoul in the silent movie The Girl from Rio. Afterwards, his movie career had stalled for a few years, during which he appeared in several Broadway plays, often playing handsome and aristocratic foreigners, mostly of Latin origins. In 1937 he signed a contract with 20th Century Fox and resumed his movie career, appearing in several films, including Charlie Chen at Monte Carlo and Idiot’s Delight with Clark Gable and Norma Shearer in the main roles. In 1938 he became an American citizen. Some of his other film roles were in  Missing Daughters (1939), The Girl from Mexico (1939), and  Calling Philo Vance (1940). He never became a major Hollywood movie star but had a reasonably successful American career as a film and theatre actor. Marek Teler reported that Raquello promoted Polish culture in the United States and assisted visiting Polish journalists in arranging interviews with film celebrities in Hollywood. In 1940 he played the role of a Polish officer Major Rutkowski in a Broadway production of Robert E. Sherwood‘s play There Shall Be No Night about the 1939-1940 Soviet attack on Finland. The play was directed by Alfred Lunt who admired Raquello’s acting talent and once fired another actor who publicly insulted Edward on stage during a rehearsal. Edward Goldberger, a veteran VOA broadcaster who had worked with Raquello said later in an interview that Raquello had to have provoked the actor to such an unprofessional outburst as he was later known to provoke many VOA broadcasters with his own erratic behavior. One explanation for it might have been that he suffered from an undiagnosed Addison’s disease, but according to Goldberger, Raquello was a unique, talented but difficult person.

But the thing that came into my mind was, he must have been like that then, too. What provoked this guy to do something so unprofessional? It must have been that Raquello was Raquello. 2

Notes:

  1. Radio Daily, “Main Street Old Scoops Daly,” July 7, 1943, page 4. https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Radio-Daily/RD-1943/RA-1943-07.pdf.
  2. The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project Information Series,”EUGENE KERN AND EDWARD GOLDBERGER.” Interviewed by: Claude ‘Cliff’ Groce. Initial interview date: December 12, 1986. Copyright 2000 ADST. https://www.adst.org/OH%20TOCs/Kern,%20Eugene.toc.pdf
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Cold War, History, International Broadcasting, OWI, Russia, VOA

George Soros’ building in NYC saw Voice of America’s early love affair with Stalin

By Ted Lipien for Cold War Radio Museum The Argonaut Building in New York City at 224 West 57 and Broadway, where first Voice of America (VOA) radio programs were produced in 1942, is now the headquarters of Open Society Foundations (OSF), formerly the Open Society Institute, originally created and funded by billionaire investor and philanthropist  George Soros to help countries move…

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