Saying last goodbye to Olga Zienkiewicz

We expected her passing, we should not be surprised by it, but we are.

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We expected her passing, we should not be surprised by it, but we are. For several years she had fought bravely with a merciless disease consuming her body. We knew she was suffering and that she was getting weaker, but we hoped that she may still return to work. She was somewhere near us, in her old house in the suburbs, and her desk at the Institute was waiting for her.

She had worked in our institute library for many years, but it seems to me that what gave her the feeling of an authentic professional fulfillment were her promotional and organization activities, which she conducted during the last years of her life. She was not afraid to take up difficult topics, which is best evidenced by the panel „Judaism and sexuality”, which took place as part of Thursdays on Tłomackie in January 2010. She organized it and participated in it.

She was resolute, sometimes even principled, but it was worth debating with Her, because it usually ended up with constructive proposals for the future. Curiosity and meticulousness predestined her to be a translator and editor. She translated novels, and in particular many academic and popular science publications such as „The Zookeper’s Wife”by Diane Ackerman, „Dictionary of Jewish lore and legend” by Alan Unterman or „The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls " by Hershel Shanks.

I must admit that it was very difficult to make contact with Her on a social level. I managed to do that only at the end of Her life, and the basis for our agreement, or even for the beginnings of friendship, was a round table in the room No. 16, our workplace. We would sit by it, drinking coffee or tea, and sometimes eating home-made cakes, and talk about ideas and plans, as well as less official problems, such as the differences between the canine and feline nature.

Board exhibition „They came, left... they are: Polish Jews „, the joint work of Her and Robert Lewandowski, for several years has been exhibited in different Polish schools, museums and libraries. This is one of many still living particles, fixed sparks of ideas that She left us.

Pawel Fijałkowski

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