08 May 2012

The Holes in the Walls

I realize more and more how differently I am changing as a person as I grow older and lose more and more pieces of my ancestry, my nation's and family's history. How little I know and understand. 

I'll probably never know because the chance to move back to Poland fades away further and further with each day and with each piece of this beautiful yet tragedy filled heritage that I am losing.

When I was pregnant the first time, I went to Poland to visit my family and attend the wedding of one of my dear cousins.

My cousins, their husbands, and I went out one night for a few beers together.  I only drank mineral water with fruit syrup in it but toasted with them just the same, since I was pregnant.

We went to the Rynek in Wroclaw and sat at a table in one of the very narrow outdoor corridors of the Cloth Hall.  We sat for a few hours, laughing about everything and just enjoying the company of young family. 

After a while, we had to leave because a resident above the corridor complained that we were being too loud.  We were truthfully not being very loud.  However, a group of loud drunk German tourists had just walked by singing German songs with all their might.

As we walked back to our place, I saw some holes in the walls of a few buildings right off of the Rynek.  I had never noticed them before.

It looked as though 1 inch circular chunks had been knocked out in an odd pattern at the height of a person's head.

They had been painted over many times in a green color.

It didn't dawn on me what they were.  I have not lived for a long time around history.  And with history, comes the death of those who passed before us.

I asked my oldest cousin why they had not been fixed, perhaps plastered over.

She gave me an odd look, not a look of disgust or irritation, perhaps more of confusion that it wasn't apparent to me what they were.  She said "Kasiu, that's where people were killed by the Nazis." 

I immediately apologized and realized what they were.

Bullet holes. 

Either they hit the target or passed through it.  The target, the victim, most likely a Pole.

In the near darkness, suddenly the holes became clearer to me and I saw many many more around us. 

It dawned on me that I had seen many many more in my travels through Poland and had just never realized what they were.  Because where I live now, where my parents brought me, the biggest reminder of war is on the news in lands far far away from me. 

We kept walking by the holes in the walls. 

Na razie...

Related Posts:

My Older Daughter's First Trip to Poland, Wordless Wednesday

A Love Letter to My Home Town, Wroclaw

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