chapter
3 Pages

Mornings

WithJoseph Rykwert

This chapter presents the memories of the author in his school days. During Joseph Rykwert earlier schooldays more cabs were horse-drawn. Shiny, black one-horse carriages until mid-November, they would, within days of the first snow, turn into sleighs. The Reja School was a grey-stuccoed but quite elegant building in a Germanic, post-1905 style. For all his school friendships, he did first meet institutional anti-Semitism head-on at school. There were fights – even though, the division between Jews and non-Jews was not clear-cut, and there would always be one or two non-Jewish colleagues who took the author's side. Elementary school was not so fraught. The headmaster, Leon Rygier, was very civilized, a much more distinguished poet then the schoolboys realized, corpulent but elegant, spade-bearded, and given to brightly coloured printed silk ties. When the author returned to the school on a visit to Warsaw as a septuagenarian, he found it half-bombed and rebuilt, but still recognizable.