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Kalejdoskop polski,  Minnesota

Kaleidoscope, Spotlight on Polish Americans in Minnesota

The Kalejdoskop project started with the purpose that the story of the Polish-American Community, especially the stories of the post-WW 2 immigrants who moved to Minnesota, needed to be told. Preliminary research indicates that little is known about the history of post-WW2 Polish immigrants in Minnesota. The goal is to add information about the postwar Polish American immigrant experience in Minnesota culture and America to the historical record. It is a community oral history project not aligned with an academic institution. 

There is an urgency to collect pieces of history that are rapidly disappearing due to the age of those who immigrated to the area. Oral history can serve the purpose of finding and preserving the narrative that may have been left behind or forgotten. The first-person accounts need to be added to the historical record to understand the past and current events.

The project combines oral history interviews with stunning documentary photography. The visual history part of the project is led by Grzegorz Litynski. He is the Head of the Department of Travel, Documentary Photography, and Photojournalism at the Technical University in Katowice, Poland. Grzegorz focuses his research and works on visual history. He has conducted numerous research and collection projects in Europe, North America, and Asia. His work has been awarded prestigious awards. Grzegorz’s photography style has been significantly influenced by American humanist photographers such as Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), Gordon Parks (1912-2006), or Bruce Davidson (b. 1933). Grzegorz has studied with leading US photographers: Alex Webb, Mary Ellen Mark, and Kent Kobersteen.

Phase one of the project will illuminate the experiences of the Solidarność/Solidarity refugees in Minnesota, including their stories of adjusting to life without political repression, the ways Minnesota's culture facilitated their integration, and the influence of their social activism.  Phase two focuses on the narratives of WW II survivors and refugees living in Minnesota.

The project has received grant support from the Minnesota Historical Society and the Metro Regional Arts Council.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

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This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.