Friday, April 18, 2008

A most bizarre proposal

With cousin Jerzek to the town of Tarnow.
A city of over 120.000 inhabitants in the South of Poland.

Two reasons to go to Tarnow where before the Second World War half of its population consisted of Jewish persons.
But in 1943 the town was declared by the German occupiers “Judenrein” (free of Jews).
Most of the Jewish people living in Tarnow had been massacred.

One reason to travel to Tarnow is Aunt Anka.
The last surviving member of the family of her generation.

At 87 years old Aunt Anka lives in a comfortable private home for the elderly and still plays waltzes and foxtrots on the piano.
Making the other aged inhabitants of the home dance as if they were still in their twenties.
Aunt Anka has been working as a meteorologist and has been living in the capital of Poland, Warszawa.
Never she married and even today she claims what a good decision that was.
Yesterday she said with twinklings in her eyes:
“I had a fiancĂ© and he wanted to marry me. But I liked my freedom too much !”.

Aunt Anka is still having an excellent health.
No signs of Alzheimer, Parkinson or any other physical or mental inconvenience plaguing most persons over 85.
What might be a reason for her excellent health is the fact that she is always in a fantastic mood.
Always happy.
Always smiling.
Always making jokes.
And never has she been heard complaining.

When Aunt Anka dies she will be buried in the same grave where her mother is.
And not only her mother.
In that large grave are four of her sisters who also never married.
There is even another woman in that grave: the second wife of my father.
Who himself has joined those six women.
Eventually he will be there resting forever surrounded by seven women.
That makes a son think about role models.

This grave is in the town of Tarnow and it is a tradition to go there every year together with cousin Jerzek.
At the entrance flowers and candles are sold and a large supply is purchased by the two cousins who are less loud than they usually are.
Walking along graves of Soviet soldiers killed by the Germans during the fighting for Tarnow in 1944 eventually the “Krzyzanowscy”-tomb is reached.
As always, the grave is lovingly cleaned of dust, old flower bouquets removed, candles lighted and the new flowers are placed on the large dark stone.

Cousin Jerzek prays and makes a Catholic cross while the photographer only wonders in his mind if his father would be content with what kind of person his beloved son has become.

Just around the corner from the “Krzyzanowscy”-tomb is the grave of Aunt Danuta.
The mother of cousin Jerzyk.
She is there with her husband.
It is a large grave and cousin Jerzyk, who planned and financed this grave, explained that in there is room for 5 people.
Those resting places in that grave are intended for himself, his wife and his two kids.
That makes four with one space still available.

And then cousin Jerzyk said something extraordinary:
“If you like, you can join us there”.
Never before has such a bizarre but remarkable proposal been made.

In fact, it is a very good idea.
Not being married anymore and as far as is known without children, it would be a lonely thing to be buried somewhere in a country where dead wishes to strike.
What a great idea to know that eventually the body will rest together with the family members so loved.

And it will give an opportunity to even when life finishes to still make a journey.
When the dead body will be flown from who knows where to the cemetery of Tarnow, Poland.


To learn more about the city of Tarnow in Poland, click on


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