There I was, stirred by the play Dziady and the recent days’ events at the University of Warsaw, ready to go on strike for the Polish cause at the University of Technology. I saw that moment as lofty, significant, not at all disgraceful. I did not notice that what was happening singled me out from others, isolated and branded me, drew a demarcation line between me, a Jewess, and everything Polish.
I did not understand the political maneuver which this prelude announced. I did not notice that the insults directed at Israel are an anti-Semitic signal. I did not yet have an inkling that this was a modern-day recreation of a pogrom. Not a bloody one, but effective.
Crossing – at that time irrevocably – the border, not by choice, but by lack of it, I don’t think about my twenty years in Poland, or about the seven hundred since Casimir the Great. I think of nothing lofty or significant. I don’t think that Jewishness in Poland ends with us, that we are the last chapter of this rich history.
I don’t think about the Hasidim of Lublin, or the Tzadikim of Galicja, or the fools of Chełm, nor the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. I don’t think about magnificent Jewish Poles, I don’t think about mystics, or communists, I don’t wish to remember that Brzechwa, Leśmian, Słonimski, or Bruno Schulz were Jews…
I’m tired, I’m fed up, I want to leave this place, and if Polish literature by any Jew speaks to me today, it would be Tuwim. And not We, Polish Jews… – that wasn’t on my mind – but Everybody, kiss my ass. I’m sick of you. You won. No, it’s we who won. Rather, we all lost. Whatever.