Many years back, the last time I have visited motherland, I found an old brick building from before the Second World War. It was in rather poor condition, but standing, which is statistically unusual (most Warsaw was leveled). It was standing on a side street named “Foksal eleven” (before WWII it was called Pirackiego St.). Not being sure if I was heading in the right direction I asked for direction.
My interest in the building was two fold, one was because I have addictive interest in buildings (unused, falling apart, abandoned and restricted being my favorite) second I have been asked by a history professor I met months back to look around and see what is there to find. [Edit: Skipping forward, later I found that this professors both parents and grand parents either lived or where shot in, I have send the pictures I took and I am still waiting a replay.]
This is where the interesting thing happened, a gentlemen in his forties (???) jumped in offering to show me the direction as he was walking in the same direction. Quite intrigued in my interest, he started talking. I read few history books in my short life and I have a hard time recalling any of them being so well narrated. He elaborated on architecture, sewers, man-holes, store sign, etc as well as pieces of history of the Polish Uprising.
According to his research, there was a battle hospital placed there in sixth of September, in nineteen-forty-two as this was one of the only ways to get into the city from the riverside. Scary thing was that a five hundred meter travel took about six hours, because of heavy fire. Price between life and death (side of the fortification) was a bag of rubble, later used to strengthen the barricades. He was kind enough to take me on a small tour of surroundings, talking with such a ease, as if it was as simple sip from a can of coke or puff of smoke from the cigarette.
I owe him a lot and now that I look back at yesterday, I wish he would start teaching. Love for history is one, but ability to narrate like this, one has to be born with and him teaching could get many inspired. I am now patiently waiting the publication of his book “Samochód Pancerny Zwany Kubuś” by Ekner (when I talked to him, the book was going through last editorial revisions). I had the chance to take a quick look at the master manuscript and it looks like a fascinating debate of science in historical context. I thought that engineers that are humanists did not exist anymore.