HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The man who was known as the ‘Polka King’ is now trying to help Ukrainian refugees.
Polish-born Jan Lewan rose to national fame as a polka band leader.
He emigrated to Pennsylvania and lived in Luzerne County for much of his life. Now he is returning to his homeland to help Ukrainian refugees.
Jan Lewan says he had to do something to help Ukrainian refugees he has family in Poland, he recently traveled to Poland with medical supplies.
“It was heartbreaking to me when I saw the pictures when they send to me,” said Jan Lewan.
Jan Lewan says he could not believe what was happening in Ukraine and in nearby Poland, his homeland. He says Ukraine hospitals are in dire need of medical supplies. He delivered suitcases full of those needed supplies.
“Well, what I saw on tv I didn’t realize the threat and danger of it until I went there and did want to go because I do have my brother and whole family up there. I thought well the border is still open, let me go,” Lewan said.
Many people know Lewan as the Polka King. He rose to fame in the 1980s then fell from grace when he admitted to stealing millions of dollars from people across the nation in a Ponzi scheme. He spent 6 years in prison. His life was turned into a movie called “The Polka King,” starring Jack Black.
Lewan says that fall from grace changed his life for the better. He says his trip to Poland was another life-changing experience.
“I went to the train station thousands of people they’ve been there a couple of days because they are not outside. Snow and such chaos, terrible,” Lewan stressed.
The 79-year-old Lewan, who splits his time now in Florida and Hazleton and says he will never forget what he saw at the Polish-Ukrainian border and says he will try to get more medical supplies to Ukraine.