Last Sunday…


I went to the Hala Targowa the old-school open-air market, (Polish version of gran greniers) and got 3 lbs of relaly nice mushrooms for 3 dollars. So I made about half a gallon of mushroom soup to last me for the next few days. Mushrooms are incredibly expensive any other day of the week–so going on Sundays has it upsides.
We also saw a Nazi-era health-hygienic rules book in German. My Austrian friend translated bits of text about how the ill had to be kept away from society and essentially sterilized. Then there was a “stambuch” or a child’s journal-book written in Austrian Silesia in the 30’s leading up to WW2 with vague allusions to the war saying that the girl who owned the book originally should hold on to her beliefs and trust in God. There were beautiful drawings and poems in an older dialect of Silesian German–some of which were absolutely gorgeous. The guy was selling it for 12 dollars which would sell in the US for 10x the price but I decided not to buy it…if its there next week then I might haggle it down. But it really is a gorgeous historical artifact.
The seller said that he found this book in a deceased person’s home in the former bits of Austrian Silesia near modern-day Ostrava, Czech Republic. After the Second World War under then President Edward Benes’s rule, ethnic Germans living in then Czechoslovakia were forcibly deported to Germany. No one knows whatever happened to the mysterious owner of the book. I regret not buying it. Perhaps it will be there next week.
I also saw golden menorahs being sold. I tried to ask the seller, an old Polish lady where she found or got them, what city they came from and she scowled and glared at me. My Polish friends told me that the lady must have thought that I implied that she got it from looting or stealing. (During World War Two and following, some Polish people looted abandoned Jewish houses and held on to these artifacts as antiques and valuables.)
I went to the Galicia Jewish Museum with my friends and  colleagues from school. The temporary exhibit we saw was “On the other side of the Torah: Wartime Portraits from Tubingen.”  I wrote a review of the exhibit which should be published in NEE soon.
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