chapter
2 Pages

School

WithJoseph Rykwert

This chapter presents memories of the author in his school life. 'Confession' was the euphemism for 'religion', and therefore also 'race' – or ethne. When the time came for Joseph Rykwert to attend an elementary school, his parents in fact chose the Lutheran school in Warsaw, reputedly liberal about racial matters and with high academic rating. It was named after the first major Polish prose writer, Nicholas Rej – who had been a Calvinist. It also operated a numerus clausus policy explicitly, though marginally favouring Protestants. There would often be several non-Jewish students who would brave the bullies and the vociferous majority to stand with them. Rykwert made common cause with Polish boys, some of whom deliberately associated with Jews as an expression of their detestation of the unenlightened anti-Semitism of their contemporaries. With one of them Rykwert even worked out a scheme for running away to heroic Abyssinia to fight the dastardly Italians.