Today we intended to cover a lot of ground. Quite literally. Although our hotel was close enough to the Sanok archive to walk, we decided to drive. Time was definitely at a premium and there would be very little of it to spare. It’s truly amazing the treasures that can be found in the most unassuming looking buildings.
I know that I’ve used the word “privileged” before in my posts, but we are indeed privileged. The archives have small staffs and an awful lot of work to do daily. Yet, in every archive we have visited, the staff has been very generous with their time. We are taken on a tour of the archives, and the staff has discussed their challenges, their holdings and the general challenges of research in the areas covered by their repository.
We knew in Sanok that we would have a few hours to do research and took advantage of every minute of that. When we are at our office in Salt Lake City, or working off-site at home or other remote locations, we work for the most part, alone. Sure, we speak with each other and enjoy cooperative and collaborative relationships with other researchers on our team or in the office, but the work we do is fairly solitary.
On this trip, however, we work more collaboratively than at any other time. We often find ourselves sharing the research for a client to cover the most ground possible. That might mean that if there are 5 books of records we will each look in one, or if there are indexes someone will look in the index and order records while the rest of us look in those records as they are brought to us from the stacks. It’s a very different approach for us and one that I found very enjoyable.
We are mindful of the time, and regretfully left our research in Sanok to drive to Rzeszów.
Marek had been to the Rzeszów to do research before, but he didn’t recognize the neighborhoods we drove through to get there.
There was a good reason that it didn’t look familiar – this modern, state of the arts facility was brand new. It was also huge. In addition to the stacks that currently hold boxes of files, there are big, empty spaces awaiting the arrival of more records. These empty spaces will be custom designed to hold the records that will be sent here over the next few years. The building was designed not only for the current needs but in anticipation of the future.
Of particular interest to us were the huge stores of maps.
A big surprise awaited us on the roof of the building where we were treated to a 360 degree panorama of the city.
The archive had previously been located in the synagogue and adjacent cheder (school) and after finishing at the archive we headed out to find it.
Our next stop was a drive through Wielopole where a client’s family had lived prior to relocating to Kraków. I have been working on this particular family’s research for about two years and, after reading through volumes of Holocaust material which described the fate of the family who had remained in Europe, I was anxious to understand how they lived. Wielopole turned out to be a very small town.
Now it was time to drive to Kraków. This is a place with an incredible reputation for their annual Jewish cultural festival and I was eager to see what the city was like, as well as what we would find in the archives.
Our introduction to Kraków was interesting. The GPS got us to a place and said we had arrived. We weren’t on the right street, and there was a park not a hotel next to where we were Driving further down the street still didn’t get us to where we wanted to be. Finally we drove around the park, and there we found our hotel. It appears that the whole park area is not part of the Google map system.
The hotel was in an amazing location – right next to the walls of the city. We decided to venture out and go to the old Jewish Quarter for dinner. To get there, we walked through the enormous plaza area. I was mesmerized by the shops with their displays of amber and the creative and unusual clothing in the windows.
We settled on an outdoor dining area near where klezmer musicians were singing and playing. I wish we had more time than this evening and tomorrow to enjoy this city. There seems to be a lot to explore in the medieval streets. We have an 8:30 AM appointment at the archives whose reading room closes at 3 PM. Research awaits!