Famed actress illustrates immigrant experience in Brooklyn
By Samantha Samel
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the early 1980s, acclaimed actress Dagmara Dominczyk, then a young child, was deported with her family from Poland. When Martial Law was declared in the country, Dominczyk’s father, a founding member of the workers’ union Solidarity, was sent to prison for a year. Upon his release, the Dominczyk family immigrated to Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Dominczyk has certainly made a name for herself in America. Most recently seen in the Broadway revival of “Golden Boy”, she has enjoyed a successful career as an actress and is married to fellow actor Patrick Wilson. Yet despite her notable achievements and celebrity, Dominczyk remains tied to her humble beginnings in Brooklyn. Moved by her family’s immigrant history, she has recently written a debut novel, “The Lullaby of Polish Girls” (Spiegel & Grau), which tells the story of three women who come of age in a small Polish town.
The story begins in the 1980s and traces the friendship of three girls who cultural heritage connects them even when they are separated by geography. Anna, whose father is involved in the Solidarity movement, immigrates with her parents to the U.S. and settles in Brooklyn. Though she is surrounded by immigrants of diverse backgrounds, Anna struggles to feel at home in her new city.
When she returns to Poland one summer, Anna is shocked by the sensation of familiarity. She forges intimate friendships with two local girls, Justyna and Kamila, and though Anna returns to Brooklyn, the girls remain in touch each summer upon her visits to Poland.
Together, Anna, Justyna and Kamila navigate the rocky transition from adolescence into adulthood. From developing crushes on boys to losing their innocence, the three girls adventure through Europe and New York and grow to be independent young women, relying on each other for comfort and support.
Dominczyk’s writing is authentic and her story is unique: reaching beyond the typical story of self-discovery, “The Lullaby of Polish Girls” explores one immigrant’s experience as she grows into a self-assured adult.
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Dagmara Dominczyk was born in Poland and immigrated to Brooklyn at the age of seven. She has acted in numerous films, TV series, and plays. Most recently she appeared in the motion picture Higher Ground and on Broadway in Golden Boy. She is married to the actor Patrick Wilson, with whom she has two sons. She lives in New Jersey.