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Lessons of Gratitude and Resilience

Adam Han-Gorski 2022. Photo: Grzegorz Litynski

Author: Katarzyna Litak, M.D.

The MPMS project, "An Interrupted Childhood: Polish WWII Survivors in Minnesota," encompasses the stories of Adam, Anatol, Leonard, Magdalena, Maria, Walter, and Wiktor. As part of the Kalejdoskop Polski MN project, we have gathered oral histories and photographs of Polish Minnesotans who endured the horrors of World War II. These individuals include a forced laborer in the Third Reich, deportees to Siberia, a Polish Army Cadet, a survivor of the Volhynia Massacre, and a Holocaust survivor. Through their narratives, we gain insight into the experiences of Poles during WWII and its aftermath. These collected stories offer lessons in suffering, survival, resilience, and gratitude that are both humbling and inspiring.

Among the survivors is Adam Han-Gorski, a virtuoso violinist and concertmaster. In just two weeks from March 5th, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of Adam's solo debut with an orchestra. As a survivor of two Nazi Ghettos (Jaworow and Krakow), he, along with his parents who survived the Holocaust in Soviet Russia, was compelled to leave their native Lviv. Adam began his violin studies at the age of 6 in Poland and continued his education at the Israeli Academy of Music. He later participated in Master Classes with the legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz at USC. Throughout his career, Han-Gorski served as concertmaster for renowned orchestras worldwide, including Vienna for 30 years, Mexico, and Italy. He has also garnered acclaim as a soloist and conductor. Despite holding US and European passports, affording him the opportunity to live anywhere in the civilized world, Adam chose to retire in the Twin Cities.

To commemorate this significant 75th anniversary, an extraordinary violin concert by Adam Han-Gorski will take place, coinciding with the opening of the exhibition on Sunday, March 5th, 2023, from 2-4 PM.

This exhibition represents the second part of the Kalejdoskop Polski MN project, which was initiated in 2020 by the Minnesota Polish Medical Society. The project aims to document the stories of contemporary Polish immigrants and refugees who have settled in Minnesota. The lead artist for Kalejdoskop Polski MN is Grzegorz Litynski, a professional documentary photographer ( The exhibition is curated by Katarzyna Litak.

The Kalejdoskop Polski MN project has received grant support from the Minnesota Historical Society, Metro Regional Arts Council, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. We have also partnered with the Landmark Center, Ramsey County Historical Society, and the East Side Freedom Library. Kowalski's Market has generously sponsored the reception.

We are honored to present "An Interrupted Childhood: Polish WWII Survivors in Minnesota" at the Landmark Center in St. Paul from March 5th to April 30th, 2023, from 2-4 PM


Katarzyna Litak, M.D. President, Minnesota Polish Medical Society


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