38 – Zygmunt Bluman, students and dances



In the 1930s Bronka Dymant, Fira’s second but very close cousin, lived in Warsaw. She married Adolf Szerc, a representative of a company producing military decorations, and moved from Brzeziny to Warsaw. Fira went to the capital a few times a year and stayed at the Szerc’s house at Leszno Street 18 (today Solidarnosci Avenue). She always informed about her arrival Zygmunt Bluman, the co-owner of the National Cannery Kaefka” in Czerniakowska Street, who had been courted Fira for a long time.

However, in 1936 Fira came to Warsaw with some friends to see a famous exhibition and she didn’t plan to stay at Bronka and Adzik’s place this time.

Aunt Anna, a widow of Herman, who was a son of my grandfather’s brother, Meier Dymant, lived in a flat on the ground floor of my grandparents’ house in Brzeziny. The aunt lived there with her three children. They were Natan, who studied in France and came back with a chemist’s diploma but couldn’t find a job in his profession, Sonia and the youngest Bronka. I always visited them when I went to Brzeziny. Aunt Anna wasn’t rich after her husband had died, so she had to hire one room to two Polish vets, a district one and a town one. My cousin Policzka was in love with the first, and her Polish friend Genia Dutkiewicz in the latter boy.

Bronka, after getting married, moved with Adzik to Warsaw. I always stayed at them when I went there. However, in the late autumn of 1936, I came to Warsaw with a group of friends to see some famous exhibition. I don’t remember what and where it was. They were six of us, three girls and three boys, so we didn’t plan to stay at the Szercs’ that time. We booked rooms in a cheap hotel, which turned out to be a low-class one, so we started to ask about bedbugs. A receptionist ensured there were no insects in the hotel but we didn’t trust him. I knew I attracted bedbugs. Any time there were bedbugs and a few people in a room, they always came to me. We decided to make use of it and check the rooms. In the evening, we turned off the lights and closed the curtains. I went to bed fully clothed, and the others sat at the table. We had been talking  and joking in the darkness for an hour until we got bored. – Ok, turn on the light – I said. In the light of a bulb we saw dozens of bedbugs crawling on the ceiling, coming out of some slits, and from under the windows. They were already above me and soon they would start falling on me.

Of course, we left the hotel immediately. I didn’t want to rent another room, so I called Bronka and Adzik. They agreed to put up me, Basia Zajdel and Mira Lederowna. Jozio Lustyk went to his brother, who lived in Warsaw, and the other two boys, I don’t remember who they were, found a hotel.

Zygmunt Bluman learnt about their stay at Warsaw and joined them. He showed them the city and brought them to some eating and dancing places in the evenings. Finally, he asked for Fira’s hand and she agreed to marry him. On their way back to Poznan, she changed her mind and broke off the engagement. Fira Melamedzon-Salanska tells about these events in the book. She appreciated and respected Bluman for his being good and noble, but he was not her type at all, and she didn’t want to marry him. She described Zygmunt as a kind, understanding man. He as a romantic, not a joker.

One day, it was probably in the early autumn of 1936, I was to meet my Poznan friends for dancing in a Jewish club in Wielka Street. Adek Lewin and Jozio Lustyk came to pick me up in the late afternoon. All of a sudden, Zygmunt Bluman rang my doorbell. He came from Warsaw. – I felt like seeing you and decided to give you a surprise – he says and kisses my cheek. – Don’t kiss me as I’m having a cold – I replied.

I liked Zygmunt. He was good, polite and well-mannered, but I wasn’t happy to see him then. I didn’t want to take him to a dancing place, as I wouldn’t feel good with him there. I didn’t tell him about my plans. We spent time together till the evening and eventually I said I was tired. The boys said they were leaving too and offered to see Zygmunt to his hotel. He rented a room in the Monopol, on the corner of Fredry Street, and next day he planned to go back to Warsaw. Adek and Jozio went with him to a tram on Marcinkowskiego Avenue, waited till he went away, and they came back to my place. According to our  plan, set up behind Zygmunt’s back, I got ready in the meantime, went down and waited for them to go to a dancing party.

I still have one thing reminding me of Zygmunt. One year, in winter time, I think it was after my breaking off the engagement, I received a box of good chocolates. The box was decorated with shells. The parcel was sent in Gdynia but a sender was anonymous. I wondered who could have sent it. When I meet Bluman next time, as we stayed friends although we met less often, he asked me how I liked the chocolates. – Oh, so they were from you! – I said. – Haven’t you guessed who could go in winter to the north of Poland ? – he was surprised.

I took this box when I left for Palestine. I’m still having it.