Yehudit Hendel's moving first-person narrative describes her visit to Poland. In five lyrical, intensely personal chapters, she combines reportage, quick portraits of witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust, and her own associations and memories. This is a "Jewish journey" through a country in which there are almost no Jews left. "One can't avoid the feeling that Poland is a great cemetery," writes Hendel. She remembers that as a child she thought of Poland as a Jewish country, but the few Jews that she meets on her current journey seem to live in isolation.
Her description of the death camps and encounters with other visitors contrast with the pastoral beauty of the rural roads that lead to the hideous sites.
Real drama emerges from Hendel's intimate way of telling her story. She conveys an experience of life and death with a heartbreaking compassion that no hyperbole could achieve. The stories are slight, depicted with light brush strokes, touching and not touching, with no aspirations to encompass the pain, the catastrophe. But it is precisely the author's self-effacement that draws the reader in and makes one an immediate participant.
English translation available (for publishers only)