A cementary is a place of transition that belongs to two worlds. On thw one hand, it is the place where people dear to us remain. To remember us that they are still with us, but maybe in different (better?) place. And that they are still part of our lives. On the other hand it is a place of a separation – there must be a reason why in most cultures people do not bury the death next to their homes. This separation and the ritual, that is bonded with it, gives us a clear signal – they are gone and will not get back. Maybe (if you believe) you will meet them in afterlife. But still a cemetery remains for us some sort of gate – a clear border between life and death. We bury the dead and then we go home. And move on.
In my essay “By fire and stone”, I would like to share some thoughts about remembrance and oblivion with you after having visited two old Jewish cementaries – a small one in Błonie and the big area on Okopowa Street in Warsaw. I talked to people living next to the places or working there and became interested in what meaning the place has for them. What is the story to be told? What is my story to be told about theses places?
Click here to read the essay in an pdf file: By stone and by fire
By Michał Wojnarowicz