I admit that this isn’t the most efficient way to keep track of things and at this point, several weeks into a trip, it adds confusion more than clarity. I do know where I am. Right now, I’m writing from the Bristol Hotel in Rzeszow, Poland. We are back here for several days. My computer is on Mountain Time (and date) and so is my camera. They both stay with that time zone no matter where (or when ) I am. That is where, after traveling to so many different places, the confusion enters into things. Now that I’ve probably confused anyone who might still be reading…
We began our last morning in Krakow, after taking J to the airport, with our final research trip to the archives in Krakow. One of the special challenges of researching in the archives is the inconsistent hours each is open. They all open some time between 8 and 9 AM. Some close for lunch. Some days they are open until 2, sometimes until 3 or 4. Each archive is different, and the reading room, where documents are requested and read are typically closed an hour earlier than the archive itself. It’s difficult to carve out sufficient time on any trip to look at every relevant document in an 8 hour work day, but there are never 8 hour days in the archives. We know that if we have time to identify the documents we need, but insufficient time to review them, we can always request that they be sent to us.
In this particular instance, we had already done that last week, and only needed to look through about a dozen books of death records for the records we had already identified. It’s a pleasure working in the archives in Poland. We are permitted to take photos of records we find as long as they do not violate privacy rules.
The weather started out beautifully in the morning, and then, as we walked through Krakow, we encountered weather changes. In case anyone thinks I’m exaggerating here, I really am not. It was warm and sunny, then chilly and rainy, then warm and cloudy, then cold and rainy, over and over again – the weather probably changed every 5-10 minutes. Umbrella out, raincoat on, raincoat off, umbrella closed, raincoat (for warmth) on, raincoat off. Maddening.
Once we got in the car, at least we were able to control the temperature in the car, and it was dry. We did have a very long drive ahead of us, needing to drive through many towns on the way to Rzeszow to take photos of the places we would be researching in various archives. Today, on the way to Rzeszow, we stopped in Limanowa, Łąkta Górna (pronounced Wankta Gorneh), Nowy Sącz and others. Some photos were in the car as we passed signs letting us know we were entering and leaving a particular place (getting out of the car in the middle of a busy road is something I try to avoid).
The countryside as always is beautiful, and the roads are very well maintained. Churches abound and are an expected part of the landscape. The colorful houses lend an interesting twist as we drive by. What is missing not only on the side of the road but in the towns and cities is not only a current Jewish presence, but even a significant or intact indication that a lot of these towns and villages once had a Jewish presence that was 50% or more of the total population.