Connecticut’s “Little Poland”
Connecticut is a state of nearly 3 million people. Among its residents nearly 50 major ethnic groups all living together in the Constitution state. In the city of New Britain, Connecticut there is a very strong Polish community made up of about 15,000 Poles. As with all ethnicities, it’s the rich traditions that are so important when living away from the Mother countries, and that has truly been established here.
In the video below there are four Poles who talk about how important it is to carry on those traditions. I talked to some of the folks in the Roly Poly Polish Bakery where you will find countless Polish goodies. Breads, meats, beer, cheese, you name it, if it’s Polish it’s in this store. The store doesn’t have a web site, it doesn’t need one that’s how famous it is, you can barely get in the parking lot.
Stefan Szafarek talks about going door-to-door when first moving to Connecticut from Poland to try and get to know his new neighbors, fast forward he has established Forward International Tours http://www.goforwardpoland.com It is a tourism company and he takes small groups of tourists back to his native Poland off the beaten trail to really see the country.
Polish Police Officer Richard Kisluk, finds it very important to uphold Polish traditions. Kisluk’s parents who came to America from the home country, passed on a strong work ethic, he has since passed that onto his children, he says it’s important to work hard to get ahead in the world, all immigrants understand this.
Maggie Slysz’s parents were born in Poland, and she speaks the language fluently even though she was born in Connecticut because her parents instilled the language as important in her life. She is a former Miss Polonia (Poland). Her parents took her back to their native Poland as a child so she understands the pride her parents feel for their country and now she carries that with her as she goes forward in her life.
Ela Konferowicz and her husband, Rob, came to Connecticut twenty years ago at age 22 with 200 dollars in their pocket. They stayed in the Nutmeg stage and have now opened up a restaurant on the famed Polish Broad Street in New Britain called “Belevedere.” They have put everything they have into their Polish restaurant with the hope that it flourishes and grows and helps keep the largest Polish community in the state together.
There are all kinds of Polish businesses on Broad Street to explore and banks and clubs, go and see for yourself. Do you have stories to share here about growing up Polish in Connecticut?
Enjoy the video, it was shot and edited by PGaryn Productions based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.