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Poland, outside Boidem //

The story of several journeys across the length and breadth of Poland

We left the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw excited. We caught a taxi, I asked the driver in polite Polish to drive us to Łazienki Park, the most beautiful park in Warsaw, and I told him that we had just visited the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. "Ma'am, do you know how many Poles hid Jews and saved them in the war? More than any other nation in Europe," said the driver, who turned out to be an extreme scholar of Polish history. "And after General von Dem Bach suppressed the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the city was destroyed to the ground we rebuilt the ruins with the hands of our builders. And it is precisely us who are being attacked." I wonder how our driver would have reacted if I had told him that in 1947 my father, Captain Henrik Barles, then a legal advisor in the Polish intelligence service, was the one responsible for accompanying that General von dem Bach to the Nuremberg trials.

This is the story of several journeys I have made in recent years across the length and breadth of Poland - from Warsaw, my hometown, to the beautiful Baltic Gdansk, from Krakow, where my father studied before the war, to the Mazurian lakes, and from the witness forest of Biawyja to the colorful stalls in front of the magnificent church in the village of Schweinte Lipka, where they are offered for sale in a mixture of Wooden figurines of Hasids as a virtue for fertility and Jewish figurines with wigs as a talisman for good livelihood...   

For an article about Poland

© Galia Guttman 2017

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