How to cross the Yugoslavian border in 1990: “Everybody who speaks German, come with us. Sprichst du Deutsch? Come with us.” We join the brigade of angry Germans, marching toward the front.
If you look puzzled, or answer in your clearest English, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand, kid, I’m from Minnesota,” he will call in the troops: “Marek! Krzysztof! Piotr! Chodzi tu!” Each kid has a deck of postcards, a map of the city or a booklet about the cathedral…each costing one dollar.
Polish hospitals are not much for ice when it comes to post-op recovery, I discover later Tuesday afternoon, lying alone in my bed back in 538. No ice, no water. No nothing, just me, my bed, a couple of roommates.
Listen the history of Auschwitz, the whole history of Auschwitz in one man’s brain.
Gdańsk is, with Kraków, Budapest, Paris, Berlin and Prague, one of Europe’s great old cities.
Gradually one learns the first lesson of Poland: “Spoko, spoko. Easy, easy.” You get there when you get there. If you get there.
Can I imagine a George Bush Fund? A Dan Quayle Fund? Even a Ted Kennedy or a Dan Rostenkowski Fund? How many Americans, old or young, would donate their wedding bands, or even their talents “for the good of the Republic”?