Danuta Hutchins was born in 1940 in Warsaw Poland. She became a naturalized U.S.A. citizen in July 1976. As a young child, Danuta experienced the ravages of the Nazi occupation of Poland, merciless reprisals after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and the subsequent persecutions of her father Jerzy Zamojski at the hands of the Soviet imposed communist regime. Just before the Warsaw Uprising, he was arrested by the SS and was marched in front of the invading Nazi tanks as a prisoner of war. Danuta describes these experiences in her book “Torn Out Memories”. These memories re-emerged while she watched the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country.
Danuta, sponsored by an American family in Minneapolis, came to the U.S.A. in September 1962 to study American Literature at the University of Minnesota. There she earned her M.A. and later, in 1986, a Ph. D. in Modern Languages Education, Literature and Linguistics. While a graduate student she taught first Polish Language and Literature courses there, establishing that section in the U. of M. Department of Slavic and Oriental Languages. The program she initiated continues to thrive to this day.
Danuta married her husband, Jonathan, in 1968 in Minneapolis, and their first child Edward was born there a year later. Subsequently the three moved to Los Angeles where Jon was offered an academic post at USC, having earned his Ph. D. in chemistry at the University of Minnesota. In 1972 they became parents again, as Danuta give birth to their daughter Maria.
While the children were growing Danuta was a stay-at-home mom. This continued when they moved to Storm Lake in 1976, where Jonathan became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the then Buena Vista College (now University). When Ed and Maria started school Danuta was invited to teach at BVC and was working part time, having been assigned a title of Research Professor of Slavic Studies. While at BVC she had a chance to present issues in the U.S. Constitution and discuss with her students and other Faculty our Founding Fathers’ drafting of the original text and the events at the birth of the United States of America.
She was chosen as a Visiting Professor to teach Russian Literature and Slavic Cultures and Literatures at Ohio State University for the academic year 1988-89. Subsequently she taught Russian, and German Languages and Literatures at Teikyo-Westmar, then Westmar University until its dissolution.
Since 1996 she has devoted much time to the art community. She has had successful solo art exhibits at Westmar University, Witter Gallery, Sanford Museum and Planetarium, and, her most significant to-date exhibit entitled “Our Land: a Celebration” held in 2000 at the Sioux City Art Center. Her works are in the collections of several universities, as well as the corporate and private collectors in the U.S. and abroad. She has been actively involved in several civic and community programs, organizations and events in Storm Lake. She was a president of the AAUW. She served on board of Storm Lake Arts Council, and recently has been named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Buena Vista County Historical Museum where she volunteers regularly. She has also volunteered her art skills at the Faith Hope and Charity – an exemplary home for the profoundly challenged children, and was an artist in residence at the Methodist Manor, a model elderly care facility, both in Storm Lake. Recently, Danuta helped obtain funding and grants for the post 9/11 programs at BVU, the Witter Gallery, and the Buena Vista County Historical Museum.