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'They were part of American history': Men share their history and culture at Polish Fest in Milwaukee

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 19:39:13-04

MILWAUKEE — Two men shared their culture and tradition with the Milwaukee community during Polish Fest on Friday.

Steve Szabados is passionate about his Polish roots.

"The history of your family tells you where you came from and what you're all about and why you're here, " said Szabados. "It has a lot to do with going forward to me."

He shared his expertise in genology to help others in search of their Polish roots. Milwaukee's Polish immigrant community dates back as far as 1866, 20 years after the city was chartered.

The desire for a better life and opportunity in America was a huge draw.

"The main thing was after the desire to come, next was where are they coming and they normally came to towns where they knew people who came before them, said Szabados.

Michael Krass has been volunteering at Polish Fest for 38 years. Krass says his family has deep roots in Milwaukee.

"From my dad's side, I would be a third generation. From my mother side, I think I am forth generation," he said.

Music, arts and crafts are beautiful expressions of Polish culture. Polish culture is also stamped in Milwaukee architecture.

Sazbados reminds us those seeking America's shores today are no different then the immigrants of the past, and preserving their stories is important to telling the American story.

"They were part of American history and even the ones coming today whether from Poland, south of the border, wherever," said Szabados.

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