Judaism, location

The past present

Since I left O’Hare last evening at 5 pm, people have been speaking to me in Polish all day, as if they expect me to understand.

I spent the entire plane flight reading the Cambridge Concise History of Poland, and learning more about the contested boundaries and ethnic divisions of this region of the world. I knew the country had been divided many times, but not this many. My head is multiplying with ten-year-old queens and Hapsburg alliances and tripartite divisions, the liberum veto and the Warsaw Pact.

I have spent most of my life thinking of Poland primarily as the site of the second World War. Poland was like a dreidel of history. A Great Disaster Happened Here. Three brothers came to the United States in the thirties, escaping the war and continuing my family. One spin, and everyone they left behind was lost.

But now that war, that trauma, is contextualized in a history of wars before and wars after, scramblings between dukes and kings and countries. The country was divided so many times it looks like a pie chart.

Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s