Chapter 19

Our first stop in Poland was the railroad station in Przemysl. The building was spotless. They had a modern toilet facility One had to pay for the use of the toilet. We had no money and we were not able to use it. We went to the bushes instead. It is amazing how the 6 years of life in Soviet Union could change our way of living.

We felt hostility from the Poles we met in the railroad stations as we passed. The rumors were that there were gangs attacking the transports and killing Jews. Our train was not affected. Several hours later we arrived in Krakow. Sam was very excited. He left the train and he went to search for his family. The goodbye was very traumatic for me. I believed that I would not see him again. I cried bitterly for the rest of the night. The destination of the transport was Gliwice in Silesia. Gliwice was a German city prior to 1939 .The peace treaty changed the borders of Poland. The borders of Poland were moved west, while eastern Poland became Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania within the Soviet Union. Father’s sister Tania Golembikier with her husband Mietek and son Olek resettled to Chorzow (Silesia) They changed their last name to Golembiewski. They left Poland and moved to Australia in 1960. Mietek was a dentist. They settled in Chorzow as soon as the German Army left.  Mietek took over a dental office as well as an apartment when the German owners fled. It was a nice, large apartment and a well-equipped dental office. The previous owners left everything behind. Tania and her family did not want to be recognized as Jews. Although they did not convert, they wanted to be known as a Catholic family .My cousin Olek was brought up a Catholic. He was a practicing Catholic who also considered himself to be a Jew. Tania and Mietek were so much affected by hiding during the war that they were afraid to disclose that they are Jewish, although everyone knew that they are.

I am sure that it will be difficult for a reader to understand the split personalities of the survivors of the Holocaust. There was animosity towards the Jewish survivors. The Poles who took over Jewish possessions did not want to part with the loot to such a degree as to resort to murder especially in the small towns and villages.

Our train was approaching the city of Bedzin close to Chorzow. It was early in the morning. The day was cloudless. Father helped me to get down from a slow moving train; I was given money for a trolleybus to reach our family in Chorzow. It was Sunday. The streets were clean. The buildings were nice. It was a clean German city that did not suffer the war destruction. The language used by local people was German. Silesia was German before it became Poland. I reached our family without difficulty. They were very happy to see me. They left immediately for Gliwice to meet father, Ella and Mietek.

I washed up. In the bedroom, in a corner there were packages of cloth, a gift for us from USA. The first thing that caught my eye was a nightgown .It was a long, silky, sexy nightgown. I put it on to wear it as a housedress. I remember how impressed I was with my image in a mirror. It had been 7 years that I felt so feminine. The dresses, the lingerie seemed to be from a different world.

The family arrived late in the afternoon. Everyone was emotional. We were total paupers. The only thing that we had was father’s profession and our education that was not complete. Since Ella was married, Tania decided that I should marry a doctor. Although I tried to explain that I am seriously involved with Sam, she insisted that I meet the man she knew. She introduced me to a physician Sam’s age, a nice man, and a camp survivor. There was no way father could open an office. Money was needed and we had none. We were notified that Uncle Jack had sent us 200 dollars through the Arluk family in Walbrzych.

About 2 weeks later I traveled to the city in the western Silesia to receive 200 dollars. I traveled on trucks, open platforms. The trip was dangerous because of gangs searching for Jewish survivors. I did not look Jewish and it is why I went. The Arliuk family was from Lida. I trusted them, but I was cheated. They gave me so-called long dollars that were worth less. You can tell that “ a man is a wolf to a man”.

Father begun to work in Mietek’s office.  He was permitted to keep part of the fee, but not for long. It was decided that father should look for a job. A dentist’s position in a hospital provided a room, board and small salary.  He found a position in a hospital in a small town not far away. Ella also found a job in a hospital.

About one week after our arrival, Sam arrived to take me with him to Krakow. It was on Thursday, the second week of July. It was a happy surprise. I still see him standing at the door, well dressed, handsome and smiling. Father was adamant about not giving me permission to go with Sam unless we marry. I did not want to get married under pressure. I cried. My little 8 or 9 years old cousin Olek did not understand the problem and he started to cry telling “ if she does not want to marry him why do you have to force her”.  Sam told father that we will get married eventually, but this time father insisted that I should not leave unless we get married. Sam went to see the rabbi. He arranged for the wedding ceremony to be the following day on Friday The rabbi’s fee was 300 zloty. It was not much, but we did not have it. Tania invited their friends for a game of cards and Sam won enough to pay for the wedding ceremony. There was something incredible about the card game. One of the players was from Drohobycz. My first boyfriend was from same town, but I never made any connection. Many years later when Bubi found me, he told me that this man was his cousin.

 The next day, on Friday, father, Ella, Sam and I went to a place that was being used as a synagogue. It was on the same block Tania lived. The rabbi was a very pleasant young man.  He explained to me what is involved in the wedding ceremony and he also explained to me the meaning of the kessubah. We did not have any relatives or friends to come to the ceremony. Tania and Mietek did not want to participate because they were afraid to be recognized as Jews. A minyan was needed. Sam went out to the street and whoever looked Jewish was asked to come in. It was getting late and the wedding had to be completed before Sabbath. Finally we were ready to proceed. I needed a veil,  which I did not have. Somebody gave me a white handkerchief A glass of wine was also another obstacle.  The rabbi agreed that a simple glass of beer will be accepted The chuppah was in place and a stranger and my sister walked with me X times around Sam. For me the ceremony was strange but I was very moved. Sam appeared to be happy. We returned to Tania. She prepared a dinner of bread and kielbasa. The mood was good. I slept with Sam. This time it was legal. The following day we went to Krakow. Sam had a room in a hotel Polski on a small street Poselska. The street did not change, but the hotel was not there when I was in Poland about 5 years ago.

Our room was on the first floor. The luxury of a real bed with clean sheets, normal pillow and a blanket was heaven. The following day Sam took me around to see the city. We also went to the Jewish center to register. Sam met several friends but nobody knew what happened to his family.

He found the cleaning woman who was working for him before the war. Later, when we got an apartment she worked for us. She was a good friend and was not a Jew hater as some people claim. Some believe that all Poles were against Jews without exception. This statement I was never able to accept. People are people and one should not generalize.  There was tremendous animosity against the survivors. It was connected with the fear that the survivors will claim the possessions they left behind. The new owners did not want to part with stolen goods. The mob was dangerous. There was a major pogrom in Kielce, where many people, women and children were killed in cold blood. It happened few days after our arrival to Poland There were several killings in the villages and small towns.  The murder in resort Rabka happened in July 1946. Two or three Jewish families from Rabka survived the Holocaust. I knew one man. They were very happy to be able to return to Rabka. It was their home for generations. The night of their arrival, they were attacked. One man was wounded. He survived to tell what had happened. When they arrived to Rabka, they went to the houses belonging to their families to search for any valuables left and hidden.  At night they were attacked.

Every one was talking about leaving Poland. There was no legal way to leave. The organizations conducted the illegal crossing of the border, especially through the mountains of Tatra to Czechoslovakia. We did not consider going before completing our study of medicine. And also we did not have any hope to get a visa to USA or Australia. It is where most of families, we knew, were planning to go .The quota to USA was long and any way no one volunteered to bring us over. We stayed in the hotel a few days only. Sam rented a room from a family on the street of SZLAK. It was a sublet .The owners were Poles. The family occupied one room and the kitchen. They rented two rooms. In the other room were two sisters. They left for Palestine and eventually one of them met and married uncle Leon. Her name was Renia. And she became a stepmother of Ruth Dvir.  We stayed in the sublet no longer than few weeks.

It was July of 1946. The cafes and the nightclubs were open and crowded with people who not so long ago did believe that they would survive. Young people like us, if decided not to leave Poland for  the time being, applied to schools and universities to continue their education.  Some tried to get rich fast. Our friend from Tashkent Olek Ameisen became involved in illegal trafficking of watches and nylon stockings between Poland and Germany. They brought in nylon stockings and wristwatches and sent out silver. At that time a lot of important antique silver was melted into bricks and taken out to the west where the price was much higher.  A few months later Sam joined the smugglers, supplying them with melted silver. I was in  constant fear, because, if caught he might face prison. In most of  cases, the police was bribed.

At  the end of July we moved to a 2 room and a kitchen apartment which we shared with Olek and Maya. They took the bedroom and we occupied the dining room. We shared the kitchen and the bathroom. While Olek and Maya enjoyed privacy, we had none. They would walk through our room any time they wanted. I found love making to become even more stressful then in the Soviet Union. Sam sold the wedding band he made in Tashkent and used the money to buy the equipment and to open a dental office. He developed a successful practice in a short time. I discovered the flea market where one could buy used cloth sent from the west and especially from the USA. There was enough food on the market. Local farmers brought in the produce. The food stores, mostly nationalized, slowly deteriorated. The supply was erratic and no one knew when it would arrive. The common pictures on the streets were lines for the products that no one knew when and what will appear for sale. Our apartment was on the street Brzozowa 6. The apartment was around the corner of the street Josef, where Sam was born. And it was in the heart of the old Jewish Krakow. Our apartment was on the second floor. There was a bakery on the first floor. The house was a heaven for rats. There were big and fearless. They would make a hole around a water pipe and they would get into the kitchen. Sam invented a barrier, mixing dental plaster with broken glass and plastering the holes. Our bed was a single size mattress. We were so well adjusted to the width of our bed that we learned to turn together in our sleep. If the rats were not pleasant and scary, the real nuisances were bed bugs. It was before the era of DDT. Sam found a special way to get read of the bed bugs. Every night he will torch the wood of the bed using his dental torch.

These were the pleasures and luxuries of our honeymoon. But I was happy. The time for application to the medical school came. We applied for admission to the fifth year of the Department of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University. We were called in for the interview. The Dean was Prof. Dr. Glatzel. Just few word about Dr. Glatzel, a Pole. He jeopardized his life and his family life by helping Jews. I knew a woman that had to have an amputation of the leg, while in hiding and he attended to her and to others also. He was not a sweet person. My interview was not a pleasant conversation and as a matter of fact, he did not sound encouraging. Ella went after me. With her, he was a very benign interviewer and he agreed to accept her, but then Ella told him that she would appreciate if I would be accepted also. He agreed. We became  medical students of one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. Michel was not accepted in Krakow and he went to Wroclaw. He was assigned to the dormitory called Bursa.

Ella had to find lodging in Krakow, since we had only one room in the apartment shared with the Ameisens. She found a room with the family of Putrament. The Putraments were well known. The family was from Lida. The father was a retired officer of the first Polish Army organized by Marshal Pilsudski. The mother was a devoted Communist. The eldest child a son was well known writer Jerzy Putrament. Before the war he was a member of the socialist student group of the Batory University in Vilno. After the war he was in the Polish diplomatic service in Switzerland and later in France. During the war the family was resettled to Siberia. Because of his position within the government, the family was housed in a beautiful, modern apartment in the center of Krakow. I know that Ella was very unhappy while living with the Putraments. They were Poles (father) and Russian (mother). They were atheist and did not belong to any church. The daughter, Maria, was in Gymnasium with Ella. She was the only one not to attend the class in religion. As students, we received a stipend, a small sum of money, hardly enough to survive. We did well with the study in spite of the fact that we had to repeat all clinical subjects. Ella and I were the only students who had done part of the study in  Soviet Universities. We were looked on as inferior, but very soon we proved that we knew the subjects well. The professors interested in the level of medicine in the Soviet Union questioned us frequently .We were doing very well. The academic year ended in July 1947. Ella left to join her husband in Wroclaw. From that point we had to study and to pass the examinations. The dean imposed the subjects; the timing depended on our choice. We studied separately, than Ella would come to review the subject together and we always requested the date, when we could take it together. Most of the time Ella was doing better in grades.

At that time Olek and Maya moved and we had the luxury of being the sole owner of this tiny apartment. Finally we had privacy and I got pregnant. Sam did not want children at this stage of our life. Our dream was to leave Poland and children would complicate travel. I wanted a baby.

There was a very strange reason why I wanted to become pregnant at that time. One day, it was a day father visited us, in the morning, a bell rand and a telegram was delivered. Sam was shaving. I opened the telegram and I almost fainted. It was a telegram from my old boyfriend Bubi. I still have it. It was in French. Pense a toi, lettre suit Bubi. In translationL  I think of you a letter follows, Bubi. Sam’s reaction was very fair. He told me to invite Bubi to Poland and then to decide between the two of them. I decided without hesitation and I wanted to have a baby with Sam and this way I could put the end to my past love. The entire 9-month of my pregnancy Sam was not agreeable. He said the baby was my baby. This changed rapidly when he first saw our little girl Maria.

I will come back to the spring of 1947. Father met in the hospital, on his first job, and a female doctor, born Silesian, Ruth Michlowicz. Ruth was much younger, attractive, intelligent and good person. She was tall, blond with blue eyes. As far as I could see they were happy together. They moved to Myslowice to a big villa with a garden. Ruth’s family lived in the same town for generations. Silesians considered themselves to be more German than Polish. They were Catholic, while most Germans were Protestants. In the USA everyone is obsessed with race and skin color while in Poland it was religion that divided people. Ruth did not go to church. Father did not go to synagogue. Ruth’s first husband was a German officer, who left Myslowice with the retreating German army. Ruth was a graduate of the Medical School in Vienna. She was a surgeon. We became good friends.  I did not know until her baby was born and died soon after, that Ruth was a drug addict. She was addicted to codeine. She used codeine by injection. It was tragic, because she wanted to get out from the drug habit with my father’s help. She was not able to do it. My father’s mistake was that he helped her to get codeine after her medical license was suspended. He went so far as to talk me into prescribing codeine for Ruth. I was a beginning physician, and I trusted my father. Shortly after Maria was born Ruth had a baby boy. I rushed to see them, with the gift for my half brother 2 days old. When I arrived at their home full of expectation and. happy for Ruth and father, father met me. He told me that the baby is dead. I started to cry, I saw the baby. It was a beautiful boy. Ruth was desperate. Ruth’s elder sister was there. Father took me to another room and he told me that “ it is better that he died” At that time I understood it as that father did not want a baby. Few years later, it became clear that the baby was born addicted and the cause of his death was related to his mother’s addiction. Ruth died in 1952. She infected herself with Tetanus through a contaminated needle  .She died of Pneumonia in the hospital.  She asked for a priest before she died and the priest refused to come. Father went to see the bishop in Katowice to ask for a Catholic service for a dying wife. The service was denied because Ruth was married in a civil ceremony to a Jew. Ruth was buried in a Catholic cemetery, without a priest. I saved a photo of the funeral with Ruth’s brother Jerzy leading the procession.

Father was friendly with Ruth’s brother Jerzy and his wife Frieda Jerzy died suddenly in Father’s apartment at the age of early 40’s. Frieda became father’s mistress.

 There is a story or two that should be told. This one happened in the late summer of 1946. My cousin Sonya Glazman, Adrian’s mother came for a visit from Budapest. Just to explain who is who:  My cousins Sophie (Sonya) and Monia (Edek) Glazman were in Budapest at the end of the war. They survived as Aryans in Lvov and Budapest. Sophie married Nicolas Tschoegl. They had two children, Adrian born in 47 and Christopher who died of cancer of the esophagus at the age of 42. The Tschoegls left Budapest crossing the border illegally and reached Australia. They came to the USA in 1960 and settled in Pasadena. Sophie was visiting in September of 1946, while they were still in Budapest  .She was pregnant with her first child. Sam bought tickets to the opera. We were waiting for Sam.

It was late. The doorbell rang and two men entered the apartment. They told us that Sam was arrested while visiting a person involved in the black market. I did not know anyone in Krakow. Sophie left, because, as a foreigner, she was in a danger by just being there. The same night her brother, my most favorite member of our family Edek, came to stay with me just for moral support. Sam returned 5 days later. Each of the 5 days I was on my post at the corner in the vicinity of the detention center, I did not know what else to do. One morning, while I just stood there, I heard a voice “ Hallo lady what are you doing staying on the corner “. It was Sam, freshly shaven and smiling. The feeling of total happiness was too much, and of course I cried. And here we were, Sam teasing me and I with tears running down my face .Since that time I developed an anxiety syndrome, a fear that he will get lost one day. For time being I had him. Life was going on.

Two months before the baby was scheduled to arrive, we decided to legalize our religious marriage. It was September 16, 1948. We went to the City Hall with a couple of our friends as witnesses. While, the presiding official asked Sam the usual question “ will you marry this woman?” Sam gave me a look and his answer was “ how could I not to marry her?” I was in an advanced stage of pregnancy with a huge, protruding belly. Every one had a good laugh. What was my reaction?  I felt that all this procedure did not make any sense. A piece of paper does not make a stable, happy family. The man and woman in love and commitment do. Sam and I were so close. We were each other’s friends. I remember, many years later, sitting next to Sam and watching news on TV, I looked at him and I wandered how come that two people of so different background and of different characters could be closer to each other than a member of immediate family. My world collapsed when I was sitting in the intensive care unit watching Sam falling apart. I am surviving, for 21 years now. There are many pleasures  I am able to enjoy. But deep down I am not a whole person. I never accepted his death. He is always around. And I do not know if it is better for me or worse. I am in pain. I am sorry I had to put it down. I am hiding inside my feeling and this writing gives me relief more that I ever had, just reasoning with myself. Anyway, life goes on and not much left.

On November 20,1948 about 8 PM, the labor began. Sam went for a walk I was at home with our maid Bronia (a 17 y.o. Polish peasant girl, a good friend) and my friend Irena Wolfgang was visiting. I was sitting in a comfortable chair when I felt wet, no pain. Sam came upstairs for a minute. I told him that I am in labor and we should go to the hospital. He gave me the look, and he told me that since I am not in pain I am not in labor. He had no idea what labor is. He left again. All three of us were getting more and more nervous. Bronia packed the necessary things to take to the hospital. I refused to go without my husband.

Finally, it was close to 11 PM when Sam came home. When we arrived to the hospital, we were directed immediately to the delivery room. I did not have an obstetrician. I never had a prenatal examination. My philosophy was simple and naive. Since I am a young, healthy female, delivering a baby should be simple. Although it was not complicated, it was not simple. I was put under the care of a very young physician, a colleague of mine. I was on a stretcher for 15 hours. The pains were intense. I was alone. There was no one to reassure me. From time to time a nurse or a doctor came to check the frequency of contractions and the status of dilatation. At about 3 PM I was told that the baby is engaging and that I should push. At that time one of the physicians in charge attended me and directed me to the end.

At  5.10 Maria was born. She had a lot of dark hair; tiny nose (look what happened since) and a smile. They took her out to show her to Sam. Sam did not wait to see me. Instead, after telephoning my father and Ella, he took off to the city to spread the news. I was tired and hungry. There was no food available in the hospital. Finally Sam came with a sandwich. In the meantime Ella arrived from Wroclaw. It is about 6 hours travel by train. It was so good to have my sister with me She was not able to stay long She had to return to Wroclaw, her husband and her work. I was discharged a week later. We named the baby Maria after my mother. We took  Maria home. We had no experience and no instruction on the care of a newborn baby. I had no postnatal medical follow up. My breasts were swollen, and the nipples painful. I breast-fed my baby on demand. And the demand was frequent. The first night, Sam was up helping me. The following night, my husband told me, that since he cannot feed the baby, he would not get up. I was exhausted and helpless and I cried with the baby. The same day, I was approached by a lady with a suggestion. Her family is on the way to Australia and she has a very good baby nurse who needs a job. This baby nurse was Zofia Wolowiec.  Zofia was the most wonderful nanny and she became a member of our family We hired her right away and she was with us until the hour we left Poland. She accompanied HER children to the gate at the airport.

When  Zofia took over the care of my baby, she discovered that the baby was starving. My breast-feeding was not adequate. I did not produce enough milk. First, I ran to my friend, also a young mother, who had enough breast milk to spare. Then I went to a formula supply store to buy formula few times a day. There was no refrigeration in Poland at that time. It was really not needed because the temperature outdoors was below freezing. I left the baby in good, competent and loving care. We gave Zofia and the baby our bedroom and we moved back to the room where we had the dental office as well as the waiting room and now it became our bedroom.

While I was pregnant Maya and Olek Ameisen moved out. We had our small apartment for ourselves.

With the baby safe and secure with Zofia I  returned to work. Following my father’s advice I started specialty training in Orthodontics.  I have to explain that in Europe a medical doctor could choose to specialize in any of the dental specialties, as well as any medical or surgical specialties, or other fields of medicine. It was my father’s suggestion that I specialize in any of the fields of dentistry . The chairman of the Department of Orthodontia at the Medical School was dr Dominik. Dr Dominik , although much younger than my father, was a graduate of the Academy of Stomatology. Dr Dominik and father met while in the University in Warsaw.  It was decided that I enter  the specialty of Orthodotics. Working as orthodontist I was able to share the office with Sam. It was a good decision .I enjoyed my work Eventually I became an associate professor of Orthodontics at Jagiellonian University. I wrote several papers and I became well known in the field.  Dr Dominik was a good friend. He encouraged and supported me in my academic carrier. He was my real mentor. He encouraged me to work on my doctorate, and later on my PH.D. degree. When I visited Poland about 5 years ago, I was a guest in his house for a dinner. Always elegant, always  a gentleman, he was crippled by macular degeneration and by a family tragedy. His daughter died of cancer and the remaining child, a son, moved to Switzerland. . His apartment had not changed, since we left Poland in 1957 .The furniture and china, silver and crystal were the  collection of a lifetime. As Poles, they did not lose anything during the war.   He was in practice without interruption during the German occupation of Krakow. Krakow was not damaged by the war. Not even one bomb fell on the city.

 When Maria was few weeks old, another of the strange accidents that followed Sam through his life happened. Ella was visiting. I was at work. Sam was seeing patients in his office. The office was in our living, dining and bedroom that was all in one. Since it was after his first detention, I did not trust him with the dollars or gold coins to carry around.  To possess the foreign currency was illegal, but it was the only safe way to keep our savings. Polish currency was volatile and could not be trusted. Whatever we had, and it was not much, I could hide in my bras. One day when I was coming home, I saw my sister and the nanny looking down from the window they threw down a note and a small bundle. The note read that I should not come home and in the bundle were a few jewelry pieces. I did not go up, but instead I went to our friends living in the vicinity. I left everything there and then I returned home. At that time the special police had left. Sam was left unharmed. One of the patients had on her foreign currency. She was able to hide it while she was permitted to use the bathroom. This second incident increased the anxiety syndrome, which lasted for many years.

Shortly after this incident, we moved to a new apartment on Street Starowislna 43/4. We moved on the February 2, 1949. The owners of the apartment left Poland for Canada. This was a “mother-daughter” apartment, with two wings, two separate kitchens and two bathrooms .The owners shared the apartment with a sister, Mrs Spirer. In postwar Poland our apartment was luxurious. Sam bought the apartment, but still it was not ours. We had to obtain the permission of the city office to occupy it. The permission depended of the number of persons occupying the so-called “ living space “. We were permitted one additional room for the dental office. The shared apartment was in an inverted U shape. The open ends were kitchens, then bathrooms, single rooms (in our apartment it was a large room for the office,). Then there was a shared foyer, and three rooms in the front of the building, two for us and one for the Spirers. When, shortly before we left, Ludwik Spirer left for England, we got a permit to enclose it into our “ living” space.

Sam was doing very well in his office. We bought nice; custom made furniture,  a few Persian rugs, silver, china and a lot of crystal. We also started the collection of paintings and ivory. Soon after we moved we bought a car. It was a used convertible. There were no new cars on the market until about 1954, when one could put in application for a small Fiat. The waiting time was several months. Ella and Michel bought a small Fiat shortly before they left.

We adjusted to life in a police state. The fear of an arrest for buying gold or foreign currency was ever-present.  Listening to the radio station “ Free Europe“ was considered to be a political crime.  The question I am often asked, if we were living well, with two maids, a car ,a comfortable enough apartment, vacationing in well-known resorts why did we wanted so desperately to leave everything behind and to go in the unknown without anything?  We were suffocating. We had no freedom to travel, even when invited to a medical convention. We had been applying for a passport at least 10 times within 10 years. .It was denied until 1957 when there was a radical change in the Polish government.

In the meantime life was going on. On February 16, 1953 my son arrived by Cesarean Section. There was no recovery room in a University Hospital. From the operating room I was moved to a regular room with two roommates, non-surgical patients. Sam was delighted to have a son. We named him Roman, in a way translated from Abraham, the name of Sam’s father. The baby was slightly jaundiced, but otherwise perfect. I was not doing well at all. Ten days after Cesarean I developed acute thrombophlebitis (inflammation of a vein) in the right leg.  In medical terms it was known as so-called blue inflammation of the deep Femoral vein .In few hours of intense pain my right leg became swollen and dark blue. There was no anticoagulant medicine in Poland. The only possibility was to get French Heparin, (intravenous) from the black market. The application was not well known. I was an experimental case. I received it intra venous every 4 hours around the clock. My veins were in poor shape. The needles were reused many times and dull. One day a doctor told me that he is not able to inject me, I insisted that it should be done. The pain was somewhat eased by the application of hot compresses.  Sam was visiting daily. He would bring me food. I was craving red borsch and slightly seared liver. I believed that these are miracle drugs.

In the meantime Roman went home to be taken care by the nanny Zofia “ciocia” as we called her lovingly. I remained in the hospital for almost 3 months.  While recovering from the Venous Thrombosis, I went through two episodes of Pulmonary Embolus, a life threatening complication.  Another complication, very painful, but not life threatening, was bedsores on my back and heels.

On March 3 or 4 Stalin died. What it had to do with a hospital in Krakow is as strange as other actions in a police state. Suddenly, no visitors were allowed. But Sam knew his way around and he got  permission to visit me. One day, he came wheeling a special bed and with a help of an attendant, he moved me to a better and less restricted section of the hospital. The time I spent in the hospital I can compare to a torture chamber. It was a nightmare. I begged Sam to take me home.  In April, just before Easter, he took me out the hospital, against the advice of the doctors.  He carried me to the car. When we arrived home, the maid came down and Sam and the maid carried me 2 flights of stairs. It was so good to be home. I was not able to walk, but I was able to take few steps. It felt like I was rejoining the human race. The recovery was slow but steady. I was limping around. I was fitted with an elastic stocking. I wore it for several months.

 In the spring we drove to look for a summer vacation place. We decided on Rabka Spa, near Krakow. While we were driving around, I saw a beautiful, modern, white villa in the top of a hill. I told Sam that I would be happy to stay there for the summer. Everything was simple for Sam. We drove there. The view from the terrace was over the distant mountain range, known as “ Babia Gora” (the Grandmothers Mountain). There was a story about this mountain. Something about the witches congregating there. The owner had no intention of renting the villa, but she could not resist Sam’s offer. Sam offered to pay for her vacation in a sea resort, plus an additional payment. We landed there for the summer of 1953. Father stayed with us for several days.

Roman was a very serious and very good baby. He did not cry so much as in the fist several weeks of his life. I was told that while I was still in the hospital Roman cried a lot. Mary was a good sister. She would dance around to make him laugh. Especially he liked her red polka dot dress. It was joy to watch them together.

My recovery was progressing. I was able to walk more and more. The circumference of the right leg was still larger and I had to wear the elastic stocking. The children stayed in Rabka with the nanny “ciocia” and the housekeeper. Sam and I were commuting from Krakow. Since I had a long vacation, I was able to spend more time in the villa.

Once, when we were in the city, we invited two single ladies to dinner in a nightclub. The dinner was lovely, the band was playing and people were on the dancing floor. Sam did his best to alternate partners. We finished the dinner and settled the check. We were ready to leave when there was intermission on the dancing floor. At that time a man, very drunk, came to our table and insisted on having a dance with any of us ladies. Sam politely asked him to leave the ladies alone. The man became loud and abusive and ready for a fight. At that time my husband did something, I would never believe he could do. He grabbed an empty bottle from the table and he hit the man over the head. While there was commotion on the dancing flooring, we left. In the lobby two men approached Sam ready to start a fistfight. Sam ran. The restaurant was near the famous park circling the old Krakow. Sam ran into the park and the two men ran after him. Our dinner guests and I were screaming for help. When no one came, we stopped a taxi and began the search for Sam. I had a vision that he is somewhere in the bushes injured. After circling the neighborhood, we went  home. While our taxi stopped in the front of our building, Sam arrived in another taxi unharmed. I was shaking and crying. The next morning we drove to Rabka. I was in shock. I remember the feeling. I  was really bad. I was resting in bed not able to react even to my children. “Ciocia” was trying to talk sense to me. The feeling I remember so vividly. Sam wanted to return to the city. He had to attend his patients. I was afraid that the men would find him and beat him up. My deep depression lasted few days, but the trauma left its imprints.

The rest of the summer was fine and we returned to the city in the beginning of September. Since we were deniedan exit visa, we settled into the normal routine, of work and opera, concerts or dinner in a nightclub, or meeting our friends in a cafe after a dinner at home. The household was run well by “ciocia”. Housekeepers changed every few months because they did not want to accept the governess to be in charge. I did not concern myself with the changes. I was writing my dissertation for the doctorate and few years later I defended my Ph.D. Thesis. I became an Adjunct in the department of Orthodontics. Father was visiting us or we visited him quite often. We talked on phone daily. After Ruth died he lived alone with a sleep-in maid Agnieszka and her teenage son. Ruth’s sister-in-law became his mistress, her name was Frieda. I tolerated her because I did not want my father to be alone. Following Sam’ s advice, our invitation to father to spend time with us in Sopot or Zakopane always included Frieda. Sam’s reasoning was that if we want Father to come, we have to include Frieda.

The period of time between 1950 to our departure in 1957 was very unsettled. Stalin died. There were changes in the government in Poland. In 1948 Israel was established as independent country. In 1951 the Polish government gave exit visas to non-professional Jews, permitting emigration to Israel. There was also a possibility to go to other countries, if invited by family members. Families were created, similar to  the way  it was done in the Soviet Union at the time of our exodus.

The preparation for emigration had a special ritual. Since nothing of value was permitted to leave Poland, people were ordering custom-made down blankets, pillows, the best possible hand-embroidered linen. china, glass and crystal, custom made suits, dresses, and coats. All of these articles were useless unless one ended up in Israel, where the living standard was low. There was such anxiety in the air that even strangers meeting in a cafe were talking only, who goes where. Our family, being professionals, were not allowed to leave Poland. A lot of our friends left in 1951. Some went to Australia or New Zealand, some stopped in Vienna or in Italy, but most went to Israel. The next exodus was ours.

In 1956,  there was a change in the government system in Poland and in Hungary. It was September of 1957, when we were summoned to Warsaw to obtain passports. Sam went to Warsaw and came back with passports for our family. We had passports to exit Poland.  It was not enough. In order to leave Poland, we needed entry visas to any country that would accept us. I wrote to friends in Australia. I do not remember how I got in touch with a Committee for Resettlement of Foreign Medical Graduates in New York. I am almost sure that Elaine and Bill  Markell did it. We also went to the consulate of Argentina, where, as rumors were circulating, one could bribe to get the entry visa. There was a joke, popular at that time, “If it is not possible to get an entry visa on this globe, maybe God will create another globe.”

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