This article is about Polish Haitians in Cazale, Haiti
In a previous article I wrote about the Polish soldiers sent by Napoleon to Haiti (then Saint-Domingue) and their legacy in today’s Haiti.
The article includes background information that gives context to the information on this page.
Polish Haitians in Cazale
The Christopher & Elizabeth Mission introduces Polish culture to Cazaliens, through the medium of videography and via the Polish children’s channel CazaleTVPologne. Both The Christopher & Elizabeth Mission and the TV channel are run by Polish philanthropists Krzysztof and Elżbieta Szybiński.
A snapshot from Cazale – The last few years
The above video and an associated editorial (in Polish) was also published on the GOV.PL website on 22 April 2021.
The following text (translated into English by South Coast View) gives more information about the video and about Polish Haitians in Cazale.
The associated translated editorial is rebublished by us under the license Uznanie autorstwa 3.0 Polska (CC BY 3.0 PL).
Video Conference – Meeting with the Polish diaspora from Haiti
On the evening of April 22, 2021, Minister Jan Dziedziczak’s (Government Plenipotentiary for the Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad) met with representatives of the Polish community in Haiti.
It was an unusual meeting, carried out via video conference, as part of the #SpotkaniazPolonią series, during which Minister Dziedziczak learned about current problems and plans for the future of Poles living in different parts of the world.
Haitian descendants of Polish legionnaires and Poles who take care in disseminating knowledge about Poland among the local community and caring for the memory of Poles in Haiti, joined the video conference.
It is amazing that in a place so distant from Poland, you can still find traces of Polishness. Polish Haitians proudly speak of their roots, referring to the tradition of a country with which they seem to be completely unfamiliar with.
Children from Cazale, known as the Polish village in Haiti, with the support of Krzysztof Szybński, who has been involved in development and education for many years, prepared a film especially for this occasion.
Currently, Polish citizens in Haiti are mainly members of Polish-Haitian families and workers of humanitarian organizations, temporarily staying in Haiti.
The inhabitants of the village of Cazale (also known as La Pologne), located about 70 kilometres from the country’s capital Port-au-Prince, refer to their Polish origin and consider themselves descendants of the soldiers of the Polish Legions sent to Haiti to suppress the uprising of Black slaves.
After the initial clashes with the Black population, the legionaries fell during battle or went over to the Haitian side. After the fighting ended, they remained in Haiti.
The mementoes and documents relating to the Polish origin of Cazaliens were preserved until the 20th century but mostly lost during the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier in the 1960s, which was related to the discrimination and persecution of people of lighter skin colour. However, a cemetery has survived in the village, where most of the names are Polish.
The inhabitants of Cazale, despite not knowing the Polish language and the country of their ancestors, consider themselves Poles and proudly emphasize their uniqueness.
I hope you enjoyed this snapshot featuring Polish Haitians in Cazale.
I trust that events causing instability throughout Haiti will resolve themselves and facilitate a more prosperous future for all people of the country.
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