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Sharing Polish Immigrant Experience.

Elizabeth at the St. Paul skyway , 2019. Photo: K. Litak

Author: Katarzyna Litak, M.D.

Unexpectedly and quite providentially, I met my first teenage love in Poland, then again ten years later in the United States. This event changed my life forever, Elizabeth Suszynski

The Kalejdoskop Polski MN project serves as a platform to connect the stories of Polish immigrants in Minnesota, spanning various periods of history. The project, initiated by MPMS, has successfully completed two phases, focusing on the narratives of WWII survivors and political prisoners turned refugees from the Solidarity era. The project's third phase delves into the experiences of individuals who immigrated from behind the Iron Curtain. Elizabeth Suszynski is one of the participants who has graciously agreed to share her story, specifically highlighting her Cold War-era immigration journey.

Elizabeth's upbringing took place in Poland under the weight of an oppressive socialist regime. However, in 1976, she arrived in the United States, seeking a new life and the opportunities that freedom offered. In her self-published book, "Journey Through an Immigrant's Life with Faith, Hope, and Love. How Faith Gave Me Hope to Find Love and Meaning in Life," released in 2022, Suszynski recounts her childhood experiences in Poland, her immigration journey, and the life she has built for herself and her family in the US. Through her book, Elizabeth aims to inspire love, provide solace, and share her wisdom gained along the way.

Elizabeth Suszynski is no stranger to sharing her immigration story with the people of Minnesota. She actively participated in another project titled "Speaking of Home," created by artist Nancy Ann Coyne in 2017, which showcased the stories of 58 Minnesota immigrants. A photo of a nine-year-old Elizabeth was prominently displayed in the St. Paul Skyway system as part of the project. In a conversation with Star Tribune reporter Jim Walsh in 2017, Suszynski commented on the photo, describing it as a snapshot capturing a time when the path ahead seemed uncertain and the future appeared bleak. However, upon arriving in the United States, she discovered a life full of boundless possibilities.

Elizabeth Suszynski's unexpected and permanent stay in the US resulted from Poland's challenging political and economic climate during the 1970s. In Minnesota, she established her home and began her own family. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of immigration and the remarkable resilience and adaptability of individuals seeking a better future.

Meet Elizabeth at the Landmark Center at MPMS's Violin Concert and Exhibition Opening March 5th 2-4 PM.

I think we can all learn something from everybody’s life.— Elizabeth Suszynski, in an interview with Jim Walsh, Star Tribune reporter 2017,

More about the installation "Speaking of Home" by Nancy Ann Coyne:


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