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Joan i Raymond Bittner

Joan i Raymond Bittner, photography by Tomek Zerek
 

Joan and Raymond Bittner first met at university in Detroit, where they were both studying. In the late 70’s, they bought a shop in Hamtramck and started selling Polish folk handicraft, as well as Polish crystal glassware, Christmas baubles and painted Easter eggs.

Raymond has Scottish and Polish ancestry, his father was a Polish soldier who served under General Anders before emigrating to Canada and later to the United States. Raymond’s mother was Scottish and that is also where Raymond was born. He first visited Poland in 1967 and that is when he discovered and embraced his Polish roots. Since that visit, Raymond Bittner has been visiting Poland at least once a year. Joan self-describes as Polish by choice.

The Bittners visit Poland often, they celebrate Polish customs and are very much involved in promoting Polish culture and history in Hamtramck. Joan and Raymond Bittner have two daughters.


They were interviewed by Anna Muller on 4 August 2015 in Hamtramck

interview excerpts
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The origins of the store and exploring Polish heritage
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Life-changing trip of 1967
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Cepelia in Hamtrack
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Business during martial law
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Christmas Eve mystery
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Teaching about Polishness