Somebody has recently told me how they were walking behind two girls and overheard their conversation. An eleven-year-old was telling a six — or seven-year-old about Łazienki. It sounded like a fairy tale. Such a big, big, big garden, where you go without paying any admission fees (a great disbelief of the listener, “It really doesn’t cost a thing?!”). Paths, flower beds. And what does it mean “flower beds”? And a pond and swans. And what does it mean “pond”? What does it mean “swan”? The discussion got stuck on difficult explanations, verbal comments of this legend of the past. Seeing on the table a few sprigs of lilac in a glass jar with water, one lady asked me today to „borrow” a lilac flower so that she could show it to her child, who had not yet seen a lilac in its life and asked,”and what is a lilac?”, “It’s a flower”, “But what is a flower?”.
Rachela Auerback, 29th May 1942, Warsaw
R. Auerbach, “The Diary” in: “Ringelblum Archive”, volume 6, ed. A. Ciałowicz, Warsaw 2012; diary from JHI collection