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Aleksandra Jemulska ID, Polish student, 1945

Aleksandra Jemulska Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB


Polish Women Stuents

After the German invasion of Russia in 1941…a number of refugee camps and small polish settlements had been formed in and around Tehran, life in Tehran was not easy. However in 1943, the Polish Government decided that the young girls who had completed high school should go on to university in Beirut. The First large group came in 1943-44 with a British Army convoy, from Tehran, through Damascus, to Beirut. Other Groups had come via Romania and Palestine as early as 1941-42, and by the mid-1940s, Beirut had acquired a small Polish community. Most of the women settled in Ras Beirut in and around the Polish Hostel.

A history of ACS: the American Community School at Beirut 1905-2012 / by Wade H. Morris, Jr., Beirut: the American Community School, 2014.




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Ex-Students of AUB 1945-1948

Aleksandra Jemulska Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB


An Additional Sophomore Class is added for Polish Women Refugees

Many of these young women impressed by the liberal and cosmopolitan atmosphere of AUB, decided to enroll there. In 1944, AUB accepted another contingent of 30 students in the sophomore class of the faculty of Arts and Sciences and over 10 students in the school of Pharmacy. And in 1945 as more and more polish women enrolled, another special sophomore class was formed for them, by 1946, the polish girls were fully integrated in campus- they had a student representative in the Women student organization and participated in campus activities. The Polish women marked by different attitudes and experiences, engaged in activities that local shied away from, in 1943, Felecia Fedorowich became the first woman to be elected president of Co-ed student club, the International Relations club.

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AUB Polish Students 1948

Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

Ms. Gorkiewicz's Leadership of ACS

Ivy Gorkiewicz was born in Beirut in 1918, the child of a British mother and a Polish father. Her father arrived in 1914 to work for the Ottoman Water. The summer of 1941 was a chaotic time. The governing board of the school - a col­lection of parents, representa­tives of AUB and representa­tives of the Protestant Mission - were scattered across several continents. ACS trustee Mary Dodge, wife of the president had returned to Beirut and asked Gorkiewicz to assume the burdens of leading ACS just a few weeks after the end of fighting in Beirut.33 Gorkiewicz was certain that Mary Dodge chose her as principal because "I was familiar with all the traditions."34 Gorkiewicz received valuable assistance from Mary Dodge who played an important role in obtaining operating funds and recruiting faculty and students. Gorkiewicz also received support from Professor lulius Arthur Brown. Brown, the newly appointed dean of Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences and a veteran of the AUB faculty, had taught physics and astronomy for over forty years.35 He had remained at AUB through the famine and disease of World War I, and his insight and wisdom must have been invaluable to Gorkiewicz.36 She thus had some of the most important and talented figures within the AUB community behind her.


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West Hall skating Rink, ca. 1940s

Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

West Hall: A recreation Center for Many

"West Hall is open as a recreation center for the troops. Last week they had a series of "Concert Parties" on three evenings and the hockey field was jammed with parked trucks."

William West Collection: August 24 1941 (p 2)


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West Hall Common Room, ca. 1940s

Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

' make an exception to the general rule and to grant permission to the "military theatre" of the French army to give two performances in West Hall..."

Minutes of University Faculty and Executive Committee 1936-1940: May 2, 1940