Portrait of Marek, Lodz 1929, Tel Aviv 2003
from German Patrols on Piotrkowska Street
in The Last Address
by Leslie Starobin
The bony hands of ninety-year-old Marek Sheracoviak point to his childhood haunts on Piotrkowska Street in the Polish city of Lodz. Folded and torn, his high school portrait is one of only two photographs from that time to remain with him. The other is of Marek's father, Shlomo, who perished with other family members in the Lodz Ghetto. In 1939, as the Nazis invaded Lodz, Marek was able to flee across the border to the Soviet Union. Years later he settled in Tel Aviv. His cousin, Dawid, described the terrifying day of the invasion: "Lodz is occupied! The beginning of the day was calm, too calm. In the afternoon I sit in the park and draw a sketch of a girlfriend. Then all of a sudden the terrifying news: Lodz has been surrendered! German patrols on Piotrkowska Street. Fear, surprise. Surrendered without a fight? Perhaps it's only some tactical maneuver. We'll see." Like his Uncle Shlomo, Dawid did not survive the Lodz Ghetto.
The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the Lodz Ghetto (1996) is available from Oxford University Press.