For everything there is a season, says Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), the first of my Holy Trinity of poets ever. There‘s a time to come and a time to leave. For Gabi & me the time has come to leave – and to say farewell to Kraków. Or more precisely: to Kraków‘s district Kazimierz. The Jewish district was our home for twelve years and we are grateful for each day we could spend in this both tragic and magic place. There were good times and there were difficult times – for sure, it was never boring. It happened that my book about the Yiddish poet and singer-songwriter Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942), the great son of Kazimierz, became my farewell gift to Kraków – my gift to my father‘s place of birth.
When I came to Kraków for the first time, exactly 30 years ago in 1989, I was told: „Don’t enter Kazimierz! You won’t know whether you’ll come back dead or alive!“ Of course, I ignored the warning and I entered Kazimierz. And I survived. And I came back, again and again, until I settled in Kazimierz. But, as Bob Dylan – the second of the Holy Trinity of poets ever – says: the times, they are a‘changin‘. The times have changed, Kazimierz has changed, we have changed – and now the time has come to move and to go somewhere else.
I‘m a writer, not a singer. But if I could sing, I would join Leonard Cohen – the third of my Holy Trinity – in singing:
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
I leave Kazimierz with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah. I don’t know yet if it‘s broken or holy. I did my best, but it wasn’t much. But what I do know is: Our time in Kazimierz was – to say it in my favorite language Yiddish: bashert.
Blayb gezunt mir, kroke …