by Yehudit Hendel, translated by Barbara Harshav

Near Quiet Places: Twelve Days in Poland

TEL AVIV – My trip to Poland began by accident. I didn’t plan to go to Poland, had no idea of going to Poland, never thought I should go to Poland. It began by accident and it seems strange to me even now that it all started with a casual suggestion over the phone that I go to Poland and do a series of radio programs about my trip. As usual, I tried to get out of it on some pretext. I was scared and my first impulse was to refuse. Why? I thought. How? What? But suddenly it all began to move and soon I couldn’t think about anything except going to Poland. Suddenly I felt I had to go to Poland and yet, at the same time, I felt a tremendous hesitation about going to Poland. All the baggage we drag around with us from Poland and anyway I don’t know a word of Polish.

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