Not many survivors of the erstwhile Jewish community of Schneidemühl had the urge to venture forth to visit the town of their birth. The late Joachim Rosenberg— who, as a child, had fled from Schneidemühl to Chile with his family in the last days of 1940—was one of the very few who did, thirty-two years later, during the winter of 1972.
These are excerpts of his impressions:
“Even though the inner city had changed, we did find the old streets and were able to familiarize ourselves.
I saw what used to be the Jewish cemetery, levelled by the town's Nazis before the war. The streets haven’t really changed, but the houses in the inner city are new. In the middle of the Neuer Markt now stands a Polish monument, and from Wasserstrasse to Hasselstrasse there are ugly five-story apartment buildings. Sadly, Kleine Kirchenstrasse, Grosse Kirchenstrasse, Mühlenstrasse and Lindenstrasse are still empty lots.
Posenerstrasse has the same width as it used to have, but the new houses are set further back. The Wilhelmsplatz exists no more, but one can still see the two trees that used to stand in front of the Tempel... The Zeughaus still stands; the house in which Café Kaiserkrone used to be is still there and the same goes for Siegmund Jacob’s house.
Friedrichstrasse, except for one building, is completely new. Moltkestrasse still has the building where my kindergarten was. The Bismarkschule is still there, so is the Gymnasium and the Moltke Schule...
Piła has—except for a few bits of memory and a few landmarks—not much in common with the Schneidemühl I used to know...”