Category: Crooked Mirror

  • A Day in Radomsko

    A Day in Radomsko

    [photo: on the street in Radomsko. LS2021] Preface IN THE SPRING of 2021, KARTA Center in Warsaw brought out a Polish translation of my book, The Crooked Mirror, nine years after its publication in the United States. The book chronicles my decades-long immersion in the discomforting, sometimes surreal, and ultimately healing process of Polish-Jewish reconciliation. I first […]

  • The Collaborative Skein: A Conversation

    The Collaborative Skein: A Conversation

    The poet Piotr Florczyk just published a remarkable collections of poems, From the Annals of Krakow, based on testimonies from Jewish survivors from his home town, Krakow, in the Shoah Archive at USC, where he Piotr did a residency. This conversation between the two of us, about Piotr’s book, about the forthcoming Polish edition of  […]

  • Welcome the Stranger: An urban installation for social engagement [Lublin, Poland]

    Welcome the Stranger: An urban installation for social engagement [Lublin, Poland]

    It’s been an intense and magical week in Lublin, Poland. A Kabbalistic text appears over the archway of the Brama Grodzka; a flamingo is invited to perch in a storks nest high in a poplar tree; the words of Polish veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are projected on the walls of the cultural center, reminding […]

  • Time Regained: Reading Józef Czapski in Billings, MT (about Marcel Proust, the Gulag, and reading as salvation)

    Time Regained: Reading Józef  Czapski in Billings, MT  (about Marcel Proust, the Gulag, and reading as salvation)

    He carried with him to Moscow letters of introduction from General Anders to the most influential people in Stalin’s inner circle. After waiting for many days at the Hotel Metropole, he was finally summoned to a waiting room at the notorious Lubyanka building, the headquarters of the Soviet secret police, where he was met by a “well-fed official” in a gray lambskin hat and collar who “looked a bit like Chichikov from Gogol’s Dead Souls.”

  • A psycho-geographic walk in Warsaw

    The last days of August I spent in Warsaw, holding animated conversations with my Polish friends about the abounding dangers in their country and my own. On my second morning in town, my friend Wojtek Szaszor a conceptual artist, offered me an unusual gift, a Warsaw map with circles drawn around locales he considered “symbolic […]

  • Elegantly Wrapped Dung: Or, a Polish Journalist’s Posthumous Victory

    A few weeks ago, I received an email message from one Ronan Ó Fathaigh, a researcher for the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. This euphoniously named gentleman wrote to tactfully inquire if the late Maciej Ziembinski, whom I’d written about on my Crooked Mirror blog, had been the plaintiff in a case he […]

  • Among the Righteous, on the passing of Marian Bereska

    Among the Righteous, on the passing of Marian Bereska

    I can’t let 2015 fade into the night without making mention of a remarkable man who passed away in a little town in central Poland on December 20, the day before the winter solstice. I had the privilege of meeting Marian Bereska first in 2009, when he finally was willing to tell his story of […]

  • Notes on a Warsaw Residency, 2

    Shall I write about the storks clacking their beaks high in their nests on the road to Sejny? And in Krasnogruda, near the border with Lithuania, the hare that bounded across the road and straight out of Milosz’ beautiful poem? In the candle-light coffee-house, Song of Porcelein Cafe, in the basement of what was once […]

  • Notes from a Warsaw Residency, 1

    some notes from this Warsaw residency (courtesy Adam Mickiewicz Institute, courtesy Warsaw Bauhaus)… the word “resident” from the Latin <em>sidere</em> to abide awhile, to settle down. To settle down on ul. Smulikowskiego, to read and write and move and think in this quiet flat not far from my friends Joanna and Wojtek, to emerge from […]

  • Between Nothing and Infinity: Poland’s Evolving Jewish Remembrance

    I remember the confusion I felt when I visited my family’s town, Radomsko, on my first trip to Poland in the fall of 2000. What was I looking for? I had no idea. I didn’t know anybody there. My relationship to the town, where my mother’s family had lived for over a hundred years, had […]