Krystyna and Szczepan Praszałowicz Kloss
The creation of the Foundation and its initial activities, in particular those related to the maintenance of the Memorial Museum of the Polish II Corps, were made possible by the bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Praszałowicz Kloss.
Mr. and Mrs. Praszałowicz Kloss were eminent architects and town planners who worked mainly in the United States. Traces of their work can be seen in the architecture and urban structure of several American cities, in particular Washington, D.C.
Szczepan Praszałowicz was born in Cracow in 1917. After completing his secondary-level education in Cracow he moved to Warsaw in 1937 to study Architecture at Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska). During WW2 he was active in the underground resistance movement. In Warsaw he met his future wife, Krystyna Wyszyńska, also a student of Architecture and a member of the underground Polish National Army.
Krystyna Wyszyńska was born in Cracow in 1918. She attended schools in Borysław (now in Ukraine), where her father worked for oil industry.
The post-war years were a difficult time for the couple. At the end of the war, Szczepan found himself in Italy and soon afterwards in Madrid, where in 1950 he graduated from the Graduate School of Architecture. According to Spanish tradition he changed his name to Praszałowicz Kloss, adding his mother’s maiden name to his family name.
Mrs. Praszałowicz remained in Poland. She returned to Cracow, where in 1948 she graduated as an architect and became Assistant Professor in the Architecture department of Cracow University of Technology.
The couple remained separated for 12 long years.
Szczepan Praszałowicz Kloss enjoyed a brilliant career, winning prizes and awards for various architectural projects. His designs include the headquarters of the State Industry Institute in Madrid. In 1954 he moved to the US. Finding his Polish family name too difficult for Americans to pronounce, he began calling himself Stephen Kloss. One of his first projects in the US was the Museum and Planetary in Davenport, Iowa.
In 1957 he was joined by his wife Krystyna. In 1962 the couple moved to Washington, D.C. where Szczepan became increasingly interested in urban design and was appointed head of the National Capital Planning Commission. He retired in 1980. During this period Krystyna worked for the Housing and Home Finance Agency.
Szczepan Praszałowicz Kloss died in 2004, and Krystyna Praszałowicz Kloss in 2013. Mrs. Praszałowicz bequeathed part of their estate to finance the construction of the Information Center (Museum) of the Polish II Corps on Monte Cassino and to support the Foundation Memorial Museum of the Polish II Corps, whose aim is to maintain the Museum and promote knowledge about the Polish II Corps.
(Source: Mr. Jerzy Bulik of PolMyśl Radio and Mr. Thomas Donohue)
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