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Lessons of Gratitude and Resilience

Adam Han-Gorski 2022. Photo: Grzegorz Litynski

The stories of WWII survivors Adam, Anatol, Leonard, Magdalena, Maria, Walter, and Wiktor are part of the MPMS project An Interrupted Childhood: Polish WWII Survivors in Minnesota. During this phase of the Kalejdoskop Polski MN project, we collected the oral histories and photographs of Polish Minnesotans who have been through the horrors of the war: a forced laborer in the Third Reich, deportees to Siberia, a Polish Army Cadet, a Volhynia Massacre survivor, and a Holocaust survivor. These stories represent fates of Poles during WWII and its aftermath. The collected narratives teach us lessons of suffering, survival, resilience, and gratitude are truly humbling and inspiring.

One of the survivors is Adam Han- Gorski - a virtuoso violinist and concertmaster. Two weeks from March 5th will mark the 75th Anniversary of Adam’s solo debut with the orchestra. A survivor of two Nazi Ghettos (Jaworow and Krakow) was forced with his parents, who survived the Holocaust in Soviet Russia, to leave their native Lviv. He started his violin lessons at 6 in Poland. After graduating from HS, he followed his studies at the Israeli Academy of Music, followed by Master Classes with the greatest violinist of all times - Jascha Heifetz, at USC. In the following years, Han-Gorski was concertmaster of several major orchestras in the US and around the world, including Vienna for 30 years, Mexico, and Italy, and also appeared as a soloist and conductor. Despite having a US and European passport enabling him to live anywhere in the civilized world, he chose to return to the Twin Cities for his well-deserved retirement.

An incredible violin concert by Adam Han- Gorski will mark this 75 anniversary, and the exhibition opening on Sunday, March 5th, 2023, 2-4 PM. This exhibition represents part two of the Kalejdoskop Polski MN project initiated in 2020 by the Minnesota Polish Medical Society that aims to document the stories of contemporary Polish immigrants and refugees who settled in Minnesota. The lead artist for Kalejdoskop Polski MN is Grzegorz Litynski, a professional documentary photographer (

This body of work forms a traveling photographic exhibition. Katarzyna Litak curates the exhibition. Kalejdoskop Polski, MN project has received grant support from the Minnesota Historical Society, Metro Regional Arts Council, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. We also have partnered with the Landmark Center, Ramsey Cty Historical Society, and the East Side Freedom Library. The Kowalski’s Market has sponsored our receptions.

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


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