Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Krakow

When I asked Nana what she would want me to see if I ever visited Poland, she included Krakow on her must-do list.   Warsaw  had been completely destroyed during the war, and Krakow suffered relatively little damage.   She and Mietek lived on the outskirts of Krakow with Mietek's parents for a time after they were married , and again after the Germans entered Warsaw.  
We visited Krakow university where Mietek completed his law degree and I casually stepped into the law college building with an air of "I've been here before" so as to not raise suspicion.   I ran my hand up the balustrade of the stone staircase trying to feel the hands of the hundreds of thousands of students who had rushed to classes up the stairs, including my grandfather.  I listened to lectures outside a closed door and sat with students in a courtyard as they joked with each other and chain-smoked.  
Mietek was unable to practice law after he graduated  due to antisemitism, and  worked instead in his father's business in the heart of Krakow, just off the main square. 
Reminder dear readers that Mietek was the grandfather I knew until I learned the truth in my teens (see sidebar to the right). 
The stairs of the Law college at Krakow University


Juwenalia was in full swing in Krakow - for three days students celebrate before exams, and  are given the keys to the city by the mayor.  Beer, mirth and laughter filled the alley ways and winding cobble stoned streets and the large squares.    I imagined that Mietek must have also dressed in some wild costume and consumed copious amounts of beer as Nana had told me of his reputation  for  pranks and mischief. 


Juwenalia 





Add your comments>>

2 comments:

  1. Amazing Karen!! We miss you and are following the entries of your journey. Much love, S&S

    ReplyDelete
  2. KK - I am so happy you have had this wonderful opportunity to connect with your past. I feel so honoured to read this. V x

    ReplyDelete

What do you think? Add your comments!