Church History
Lidia Zakrzewski and the Chicago Polish Branch
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Lidia Zakrzewski and the Chicago Polish Branch

Chicago Polish Branch

Lidia Zakrzewski (center) with members of the Chicago Polish Branch, 1978

Lidia Dürr came of age in Poland during World War II and was educated in secret schools that operated without Nazi approval. Near the end of the war, she joined the Polish Underground and took part in the Warsaw Uprising.

After the war, Zakrzewski left her homeland, eventually settling in the United States, and was widowed at a young age. She was introduced to the Church when the youngest of her four sons asked her to attend his baptism. She was baptized herself in 1974.

In 1978, Zakrzewski was called on a mission to Chicago, Illinois. When she arrived, she discovered a large Polish community living near Logan Square. No Church materials existed in Polish, so she decided to translate portions of the Book of Mormon and other Church materials to help her teach Polish investigators.

Zakrzewski’s success in Chicago led to the organization of a Polish-speaking branch, Polish instruction at the Missionary Training Center, and a complete Polish translation of the Book of Mormon. In 1988, she was called to teach Polish investigators in the Austria Vienna Mission. A few months later, together with two Polish-speaking elders who had been serving in Chicago, she was transferred to become one of the first missionaries in the newly created Poland Warsaw Mission.