Colleen Turzynski celebrates Christmas with local Polish community

Colleen Turzynski attending a Christmas dinner organised by the Polish Embassy in Singapore for the Polish community. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Colleen Turzynski attending a Christmas dinner organised by the Polish Embassy in Singapore for the Polish community. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

A day after meeting her Singaporean relatives for the first time, Polish orphan Colleen Turzynski enjoyed her first Christmas party here yesterday.

The Polish Embassy invited her to its annual Christmas dinner for the local Polish community after reading a Straits Times article about her visit to the country. About 100 Polish people and their relatives attended the event at the Polish ambassador's residence.

Ms Turzynski told The Straits Times, through a sign language interpreter from the Singapore Association for the Deaf: "The Polish culture is what I grew up with, so I feel that kind of relation with the Polish community. We can understand one another."

The 26-year-old's Singaporean mother, Polish father and grandfather were murdered when she was 17 months old in a case that remains unsolved.

She lost contact with her mother's family, but managed to find them in April and met them in person for the first time at Changi Airport on Tuesday.

Singaporean Catherine Koh-Biernat, 31, whose husband is Polish, had the opportunity to chat with Ms Turzynski.

Ms Koh-Biernat, who runs a business organising corporate social responsibility events, said: "Her story is very inspiring. I can only imagine the determination needed to track down her family."

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg