Sunday in Otwock, I met with people who knew more about my family than I did. People with a passion for the past and messengers of hope and reconciliation for today - Barbara, Jadwiga, Anna and Zbyszek. Barbara, the wise and gentle historian and poet, told me stories about the Przygoda family heritage in Otwock, a former spa town about an hour by train outside of Warsaw.
We ate cake with Zbyszek, a new friend who is opening many doors of history for my family. Barbara showed me articles she had written about the Przygoda family and old photographs of the Sanatorium my great great grandfather, Jozef Przygoda built in 1895. (picture below) It was the first Jewish Sanatorium to treat tuberculosis. My great grandfather Wladyslaw had his tuberculosis practice there and my grandfather Zdislaw spent time during his childhood between Warsaw and Otwock. Up until the beginning of World War II, the Sanatorium was administered by the Przygoda family. Before the war, there were 14,200 Jews in Otwock. Today there is perhaps 1.