I was born and raised in Poland during the fall of the Polish communist government. After the end of World War II Poland was Soviet dominance and authoritarian communist rule. This control was lessened after Stalin’s death and finalized with the communist government fall, with the election of Lech Walesa becoming president. The resiliency of Polish people goes back to the 10th Century and the Piast dynasty, which is the first ruling dynasty of Poland. Since then Poland has been invaded and many times destroyed by Ottomans, the Holy Roman Empire, Mongols, Teutonic Knights, Russia, Germany and many more. Most recently and impactful to my youth, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Poland in 1939 causing over six million casualties (about one fifth of the pre-war population). Poland was occupied for six years and in 1945 the communist took control until 1989. Every part of my being is shaped by what Poland was and what it was becoming. I was born to Wioletta Kurzawa and Lucjan Trzaskus.

Jan Kurzawa

American Dream