The Wall

The Wall

The Wall

The Wall

Excerpt

One sunny day in the Summer after the end of the war, a search party found the Levinson Archive buried in seventeen iron boxes and a number of small parcels, the latter wrapped in rags and old clothes, under the sites of what had been, before the razing of the entire Warsaw ghetto, Nowolipki Street 68 and Swientojerska Street 34. Could but poor Levinson have been there himself that day!

The search party consisted of four survivors of the ghetto, including Henryk Rapaport and Rachel Apt, together with a team of surveyors from the Warsaw municipality, some city employees with digging implements, and a number of government people. Their search was as difficult as if they had been mariners hunting for some Atlantis under an uncharted sea. In hard fact, there was nothing left of the ghetto except the encompassing wall. Within, there was only an immense quadrangle of ruin: scores of city blocks reduced now to a plaza of thoroughly raked-over bits of mortar and crumbled brick, with here and there unaccountably untouched hills of rubble, like careless piles of husks and pollards left around after a threshing. For the most part, the wreckage had been cleared and everything but masonry carted away, as if even the down-pulled ruins of Jewry had been offensive. Among thousands of buildings that had once been ranked on this ground, only one -- one building! -- was left standing: fittingly, the Gensia Street Jail. Around the prostrate quarter was an eight-foot wall, into the rounded mortar at the summit of which bits of prohibitive glass had long ago been stuck, and Rachel Apt says the walltop sparkled that day in the summer sun, with glints of amber and blue and green.

Thus it was the task of the search party to go out into the huge wrecked space within the twinkling wall and try to find, not only the location of two specific nonexistent buildings, but also the exact situation of their respective former courtyards, and inside those courtyards certain corners, and under those corners the little . . .

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