“W mojej ojczyźnie”
W mojej ojczyźnie, do której nie wrócę,
Jest takie leśne jezioro ogromne,
Chmury szerokie, rozdarte, cudowne
Pamiętam, kiedy wzrok za siebie rzucę.
“In my Homeland”
In my homeland, where I shall never return,
There is a lake, in the forrest, gigantic
The clouds stretch wide, torn open, enchanted
I remember, if I cast my sight back.
Poem “W mojej ojczyźnie’ by Czesław Miłosz.
Czesław Miłosz was a1980 Polish Nobel Prize winner in literature who spent over thirty years in exile in the United States.
Polish Americans are the largest Slavic ethnic group in the United States, second largest Central European group after the Germans, and the eighth largest immigrant group overall. There are an estimated 10.5 million self identified Polish Americans. The Polish American Cultural Center places a figure of Americans who have some Polish ancestry at 19-20 million.
Our choice of the word kaleidoscope reflects the fact that Polish Americans living in Minnesota today have a multi-faceted, unique story to tell, one that differs from yet complements the experience of prior generations of Polish immigrants. It is a story that has been ignored. Lingering stereotypes and a focus on “new immigrants” by Minnesotan centers of power in politics, culture, and business have made Poles’ struggle to find a place, identity, and acceptance in Minnesota as difficult as the challenges faced by earlier generations. What drives this project is a thoughtful,
reflective desire to share how Poles are overcoming such obstacles in a way that may provide inspiration to others.
Project goals are:
1- To present contemporary Polish Americans beyond well known Polish images. Polish people are known in America for their traditional folk dances, cuisine or drinks as well as some customs such as colorful painted Easter eggs. However, Polish life and culture is much more diverse than this. We do hope that the project would present Polish Americans in MN outside of the festivals and folk customs, as involved in daily activities, along with other Americans.
2- To showcase the presence and diversity of Polish Americans in MN. Commonly Chicago and NYC are considered as Polish centers in US, other locations are in their shadows. MN is little known to Polish people outside US, however there is a number of fascinating Polish personalities in MN.
3- To document and demonstrate presence of Polish Americans in MN to the public outside MN, including Poland (exhibition, books, lectures, social media).
The project inclusion criteria are Polish Americans:
1- Born in Poland & having Polish citizenship in the past and/or present.
2- Currently permanently living in MN.
The project exclusion criteria are:
Polish Americans involved in politics or diplomacy on any level (in US or in Poland). The Polish Americans to be covered by the project can be divided into following groups:
A. WWII refugees (arrived in US till between 1939 and 1960)
B. Iron Curtain refugees (1960-1980)
C. Solidarność refugees (1980- 1989)
D. Regular immigrants (after 1989)
E. Persons of Polish and mixed-Polish heritage(born in the US).
Extension project planned after finishing the main project (groups A-D). Groups A-C include both political and economic immigrants.
Total number of the subjects: 24. (The plan is to interview about 30-40 candidates).
The project “Kaleidoscope, Spotlight on Polish Americans in MN” consists of two main parts: visual part (pictures) and oral part (interviews).
The visual part: Responsibility: Grzegorz Litynski
-Portraits, focus on environmental portraits (at work, at home, with family, preference of no staged photographs),
-Collection (scans) of subjects’ historical materials incl. pictures especially of time witnesses.
The oral part: Responsibility: Katarzyna Litak and associates
-Interview about the past and present, incl. family background, memories from Poland.
-Standardized questions (i.e. “your first day in Minnesota”, “your dreams”, “your hardest time in the US”, and others).
-Standardized question about subjects opinion on MN, US and Poland.
Head of the Project. Originally from Wroclaw, Poland, Katarzyna has been a first generation American since mid 1990s. Currently she is President of Polish American Medical Society of Minnesota, a 501c(3) non-profit striving to promote professional and scientific relations of physicians and biomedical scientists of Poland and the United States. Katarzyna’s many leadership positions within the Polish community include founding the Polish American Medical Society of Minnesota and the Poland Independence Celebration Committee, initiation of Poland Centennial Celebration gala at Minneapolis Institute of Art, organizing concerts such as the performance of Warsaw-based ATOM Jazz String Quartet at Minnesota Orchestra Hall, and serving as a Board Director of Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota and Polanie Club.
In May 2019, on the occasion of one of her visits in Poland, Katarzyna initiated and set up the project “Kaleidoscope, Spotlight on Polish Americans in Minnesota”. She contracted Grzegorz Litynski, a recognized documentary photographer and Professor at the Technical University in Katowice, Poland, to do the visual part of the project in the Spring 2020. Katarzyna took the roles of project development, subject interviewer, and fund-raising manager.
Grzegorz Lityński (www.litynski.com)
Documentary photographer and university Professor, Head of Department of Travel, Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the Technical University in Katowice, Poland. He focuses his research and work on visual history. Currently, Grzegorz works in Germany on high school teaching materials about Polish-German relations in historical photography, a project of highly regarded Deutsches Polen-Institut in Darmstadt.
Grzegorz’s photography style has been significantly influenced by the American humanist photographers such as Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), Gordon Parks (1912-2006) or Bruce Davidson (b. 1933). A decade ago, Grzegorz took classes run by the leading US photographers: Alex Webb, Mary Ellen Mark, and Kent Kobersteen. Grzegorz has conducted numerous projects in Europe, North America and Asia. His jobs for NGOs include assignments on war refugees in Sri Lanka (Tamil – Singhalese conflict), homeless people in Belgium, Netherlands and Poland, street children in Manila, native Canadian at Obabika Lake, and many others.
At the assignment of Italian Consulate and Italian Embassy, Grzegorz carried out the four-year project “Caleidoscopio Italiano”: portraits of 50 Italian immigrants in Poland to present them far from the stereotypes. Currently, Grzegorz is running his project “Kalejdoskop śląski 1919-2019”: portraits of 100 Silesians. He visited over 75 countries on 6 continents and used to teach about travel photography. In the 2000s, he was the editor of “Globtroter”, a Polish traveller’s magazine and “H2O”, a water sports magazine. Grzegorz published over 30 papers and 2 textbooks issued by Technical University in Katowice. Grzegorz had many exhibitions including solo exhibitions in National Center for Culture in Warsaw and during 2018 European Capital of Culture. His work has been awarded by prestigious BZWBK Press Foto Award 2014 and by Polish President in 2015.
Mark G. Dillion
Strategic Communications Consultant. Mark is a third-generation Polish American with a background in journalism and financial services marketing for global assets managers. He serves as a 2nd Vice President of the American Council for Polish Culture, a 503c(1) non-profit representing more than two dozen Polish American heritage groups across the country. He is also Minnesota Bureau Chief of the Polish American Journal, where he writes a monthly Minnesota Voice column.
Kalejdoskop Polski, Minnesota
Spotlight on Polish Americans in Minnesota
Immigration to MN: 2020
This chapter is about Anna Urbanczyk, our pilot subject. We have been fortunate to follow her immigration from Poland to Minnesota over 2019. She met Kris of Minnesota in 2014.
Anna applied for a fiancée visa in January 2019 and is still waiting for the paperwork approval. She decided to start a new life with Kris in Minneapolis, hopefully in 2020. In the United States, Anna would like to be a sports coach.
Become a sponsor of Kaleidoscope, Spotlight on Polish Americans in Minnesota project. Your help will enrich the community through acknowledging presence and contributions of Polish Americans to Minnesota community. Your help will inspire the next generation of Polish Americans through learning about ancestral history, lessons of endurance and fortitude. Your help will serve the broader community by creating unforgettable and important contribution to the knowledge of history of presence of Polish Americans in Minnesota.
Our goal is to raise 25,000 for phase one of this project. All donations are fully tax deductible.
Benefits can include:
Acknowledgment in exhibition and program materials including signage and advertising space
Recognition in press releases, website, and mailings
Invitation to the opening night or special event celebrations
We offer multiple levels of sponsorships:
Platinum Sponsors-$5,000 and above
Gold Sponsors- $2000-4000
Additional Sponsors- $75-499.00
Ways to give:
Check made payable to: Polish American Medical Society of Minnesota.
Please provide your full name and either your email or mailing address to receive letter of confirmation for your tax deductible donation
For questions e-mail:
PAMSM PO BOX 130940 Roseville, MN 55113
The Polish American Medical Society is a registered 501c(3) nonprofit organization.