The Journey to Polish Citizenship

(April 6, 2019/Jerusalem Post)

The subject line read: “Good news from Warsaw!” My heart fluttered. I assumed that meant that my application to receive Polish citizenship was approved. Indeed it was:

“Your Polish citizenship certificate has come through – congrats! Where would you like it sent to please? And do you have this BC [birth certificate] attached ready in hard copy so we can do Step 2?”

The email came from the Melbourne-based Krystyna Duszniak, director of Lost Histories, a small business that specializes in Polish citizenship applications. I should have been happy, but I was annoyed. No, not because now I had to face a certain guilt over actually becoming a citizen in the country that caused my grandparents tremendous suffering, but because I still need to send more documents.

The first email I ever sent to Duszniak inquiring about her services was on April 26, 2018. The “good news” came 167 emails later, on December 20, 2018 – just before Christmas, as she predicted.

I would have never imagined I’d seek Polish citizenship. My paternal grandparents, both Holocaust survivors, never had anything good to say about Poland. My grandfather complained in open letters he wrote for posterity about the antisemitism he faced there as a youth. America became their beloved, adopted country, although they were also fierce Zionists.

Read the rest online at here. 

Read the print version here.

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