President Hoover's charity to battered Poland remembered in new exhibit

Friday, November 12th 2004, 8:19 pm
By: News On 6

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Herbert Hoover, the former U.S. president associated at home with the despair of the Great Depression, is remembered as a hero to Poles in an exhibit that opened Friday.

The show at Warsaw's Royal Castle, ``American Friendship: Herbert Hoover and Poland,'' features photographs, letters and other exhibits that highlight his work to help orphans, impoverished Jews and the many other hungry Poles after both world wars.

From 1919 to 1921, Hoover directed the American Relief Administration, an organization that raised private and government money to pay for relief efforts to Poland and elsewhere in Europe.

After World War I, Polish authorities raised monuments to Hoover _ a Quaker and pacifist. But his links to Poland were largely forgotten during decades of communist rule.

``The Polish nation thanked Herbert Hoover for his humanitarian work, and for food, clothing and medicines, for rescuing millions of Poles from hunger, misery and disease,'' said Andrzej Rottermund, the director of the Royal Castle.

After World War II, Hoover _ who was U.S. president from 1929 to 1933 _ headed the United Nations Relief and Reconstruction Agency. The UNRRA food parcels were commonly called ``Hoover packages.''

At home, critics called Hoover a cold-hearted leader who ignored the millions living in poverty on his watch, epitomized by tent cities