My Visit To

October 5, 1999: Warsaw to Bialystok

Signs at Treblinka
George joins me for breakfast at the hotel, after which I check out, leaving my suitcase (I'll be back in a few days) and just taking my computer and a few changes of clothes. Then we step into his waiting Mercedes (an unexpected treat), drive through Warsaw, and cruise out into the Polish countryside.

Today we're going to head first for Wegrow, the town where my mother's father was born. I know next to nothing about my mother's side of the family, and most of this trip will concentrate on visiting towns where my father's family lived – but Wegrow is on the way, and I want to stop in just to see what it looks like. Also, I've read a book called The Last Jew from Wegrow by Shraga Feivel Bielawski and Louis Liebovich (it's available from amazon.com), a fascinating account of life in Wegrow during the Nazi occupation, and that has made me even more curious about the place.

Treblinka, site of the notorious extermination camp, is also on the way, so we'll stop there as well. Then we'll make a quick stop in Zambrow, the site of a Nazi concentration camp. A cousin of mine died in Zambrow, but that's not the real reason for the visit, it's just "on the way" – although I have to admit that my interest has been piqued by a chilling account of an experience there by the daughter of a man who had grown up in Zambrow.

Finally, we plan to spend the night in Bialystok, not because of any family connection there, but because it'll be a convenient place from which to launch tomorrow's leg of the journey – and because in this part of Poland, you can't count on finding a decent place to spend the night unless you head for a large city, and Bialystok is the largest city in this part of the country.

Next Next

[ Wegrow | Treblinka | Zambrow ]
[ Bialystok: Cristal Hotel ]

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