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Pursuing Freedom

Andrzej and Wieslawa Rymsza (photo by Mavis Gonshorowski)

Andrzei Rymsza, second from the left, is pictured after receiving The Cross of Freedom and Solidarity at the Republic of Polish Counsulate in Chicago, Ill., on November 7, 2019. Making the presentation is Consul General Mr. Piotr Janicki, far right. The Consul General’s wife is shown in the center. The other two gentlemen, former residents of Poland and now living in the United States, were also recipients of the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity medals at the time.

The Cross of Freedom and Solidarity medal.

Mavis Gonshorowski

November 7, 2019, will forever be an important day in the life of Andrzej Rymsza, former Greenbush resident, now of Warroad, Minn. It was on this day that Andrzej was presented with the “Cross of Freedom and Solidarity” at the Republic of Poland Consulate in Chicago, Ill.

The “Cross of Freedom and Solidarity” was established on August 5, 2010, to honor members of the democratic opposition in Poland who between the years 1956 and 1989 were killed, seriously wounded or injured, arrested or interned for at least 30 days, who lost jobs or were expelled from school or university for at least six months as a result of their activities for the benefit of a free or democratic Poland. (According to website:

Residents of Zabrze, Poland, Andrzej (Andrew) and Wieslawa (nick- named Wesha) Rymsza were married December 25, 1972.

After being employed underground in the Makoszowy Coal Mines for 15 years, Andrzej became a leader in the Solidarity Movement from 1980-1981. On December 13, 1981, he was interned in Zabrze and Uherce-Bieszady (prison). After his release 11 months later, on November 26, 1982, Andrzej was once again employed as a coal miner, but lost his job because of his involvement in Solidarity.

The Rymsza family went to the American Embassy and received their visa for America in October, 1983. The Embassy then sent them to Germany where they learned of their sponsors from the Bethel Lutheran Church and the two Catholic churches in Greenbush, Minn. Andrzej, Wieslawa, and their eight- year-old son, Rafal, flew to New York, Minneapolis, and lastly Thief River Falls, Minn., where they were met by their sponsors on Thanksgiving Day, 1983.

The family settled in Greenbush and on February 10, 1984, they welcomed the birth of their baby girl, Angela.

In December, 2004, the couple moved to Warroad, Minn. Wieslawa was employed at Marvin Windows; Andrzej worked at Polaris Industries in Roseau. Both of them are now retired.

Congratulations, Andrzej Rymsza, for standing strong in your convictions.

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