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Brookyn's Polish Community Reacts To Presidential Tragedy

Tears are flowing in the streets of Greenpoint, the heart of Brooklyn's large Polish community.

"I cry because it's my country," said Elizabeth Kukikla. "I live for 24 years here and I never forget my country."

Before settling in Greenpoint three years ago, Krystyna Kordowska lived under the leadership of President Kaczynski, who took Poland in a nationalist, conservative direction.

"He was very kind. He was very elegant, a nice person to the people. And I think really knew the Polish soul," Kordowska said.

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Marta Kazmierczak, 24, who moved here from Poland a year ago, was not a Kaczynski supporter. But she acknowledged "he was a well respected person, a law professor and opposition activist during solidarity times."

At the Polish Consulate in Manhattan's Murray Hill section, mourners lit candles, and left flowers and notes throughout the day. Pawel Dlugosz, 22, stopped by to pay his respects, and like so many others, was struck by the tragic irony in what happened.

"They're flying there to mourn, to pay respects to 20-thousand officers killed by the Soviets, and in the end, the country itself is now mourning the loss of their leader and their fellow countrymen," he said. "It's unbelieveable."

"The country is crying, people are crying and I'm crying myself because the president of Poland is my friend, as his wife," said newly-appointed Concul General of Poland, Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka. "And I worked for him for the last four years."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun