A City with More Soul
The contrast between Warsaw and Krakow is like night and day. For starters, many old synagogues are still standing because the Germans wanted to make Krakow their new capital, so they didn't totally destroy it.
There is color and interesting architecture, not the drab buildings of post-war Communism. It makes such a difference.
As we walked through the formerly Jewish quarter of the city, our rabbi pointed out the empty space on the doorpost, once filled with a mezuzah. This was a grim reminder of what was lost. It is interesting that in pre-war Poland, the parchment actually fit into a groove in the wood, to be adorned by the decorative outer covering.
Krakow is filled with big posters like the one above, which advertises an annual Jewish festival, organized and attended primarily by non-Jewish Poles who are trying to rediscover things like Klezmer music lost when the Jews were exterminated. I would love to be here in the summer when it takes place.
As we came out of Schindler's factory, we were greeted with a wintery mix of snow and sleet. If you look closely at this picture taken out of the bus window, you can see another sign of a city with more life. The small black dog was one of a half dozen sighted in Krakow, whereas dogs were nowhere to be seen in Warsaw.
We sloshed down the wet streets in search of what turned out to be a rather disappointing market, me with my walking stick and my purple plastic raincoat from the dollar store back home.
Instead of buying amber, a new friend and I elected to drink excellent coffee in the warmth of a Polish coffee shop.
The day isn't over yet. We have a meeting with a righteous gentile, followed by dinner and an early bedtime, since tonight Polish time springs forward and we are on the bus at 7:30 am to go to Auschwitz.
Tomorrow night in Jerusalem, where hopefully it will be warm and dry and any anti-Semitism will come from a different source altogether.
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