Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Calling Warsaw 1939

An exhibit to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day in the third floor rotunda of the Public Library's main branch. In a glass case, open on a book stand, a Warsaw telephone directory from 1939. Jewish surnames predominate, along with typical professions and addresses: Glicksman, Józef, dr. med., Nowolipki 54; Glickson, Helena, lek. dentysta, Żelazna 75; Gliner, B., skł. futrz. tow. [fur warehouse], Grzybowska 70 [street of Warsaw's Great Synagogue], on and on.

It's an unexpectedly handsome volume, bound in brown leather, with "telephony" spelled out in an Art Deco'ish font (complete with stylish lower-case "T") on the cover. When I lived in Warsaw, 50 years later, I hardly remember seeing a phone book. Some buildings and districts still had spotty telephone service. I had friends with no phone. If you needed to reach them, you called a neighbor and they would go next door  and knock.

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