Zuzanna Ginczanka ***
Non omnis moriar—my proud estate,
of table linen fields and wardrobes staunch
like fortresses, with precious bedclothes, sheets,
bright dresses—all remain behind me now.
And as I did not leave here any heir
You, Chomin’s wife, the snitch’s daring wife,
Volksdeutcher’s mother, swift informant, please
Allow your hand to dig up Jewish things.
May they serve you and yours, and not some strangers.
“My dear ones”—it’s no song, nor empty name.
I do remember you, and when the Schupo came,
You did remember me. Reminded them of me.
So let my friends all sit with goblets raised
To toast my memory and their own wealth,
their drapes and kilims, candlesticks and bowls.
And may they drink all night, till break of dawn,
And then begin to search for jewels and gold
In mattresses and sofas, quilts and rugs.
Oh, and what quick work they’ll make of it
Thick clumps of horsehair, sea grass stuffing, clouds
of cushions torn and puffs of eiderdown
Will coat their hands and turn their arms to wings
My blood will bind these fibers with fresh down,
And thus transform these wingèd ones to angels.
( Translated by Aniela Pramik and Geoffrey Cebula )
In the 1940s, Zofia Chominowa was the mistress of the tenement house at Jabłonowski street in Lviv, where the Polish-Jewish poet Zuzanna Ginczanka was hiding. Her name appears in Ginczanka’s poem „Non omnis moriar”.
The project, assuming the viewer’s objection to Chominowa’s unequivocal attitude, leads one to reflect on the someone’s attitude toward others during difficult times, when the choice of good or bad depends on individual decision.