Archive for Spadina Avenue

Wolf Krakowski writes about Sara Nomberg-Przytyk

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2020 by yiddishsong

Wolf Krakowski writes the following about Sara Nomberg-Przytyk:

I met Sara Nomberg-Przytyk August 26, 1974, by chance on Spadina Avenue, in Toronto. I can remember the day, because it was my birthday.

Some five or six years earlier, in Montréal, at McGill University, I had come to know Sara’s older son, Jerzy.

We became fast friends and, in the style of the times, with our significant others, we all moved in together into a sprawling country house in St. Sauveur, Québec.  Summer 1970. By 1986, my circumstances had changed radically.  Typically, after spring and summer doing carpentry and renovations in the Townships, I would winter in Toronto, chasing film work, I married and moved to the Boston area and then, to Western Massachusetts, where we remain.

We traveled North often. And of course, my wife and Sara also became close.*

Over the years, Sara was the grandmother and auntie I never had.  There was one period of ten days when Jerzy and Natasha went travelling, and Sara and I took care of Sasha and Ziv.  She was a doting, progressive grandmother, but brooked no nonsense.

She had great compassion and insight.  She could deliver an unpleasant truth with gentleness. She radiated unconditional love.  A Yidishe mame.

We understood one another perfectly and were totally comfortable together.

She was always an enthusiastic participant in any celebration, singing and getting a buzz on with the younger people. She told jokes well.

When I acquired a videocamera, it was a no-brainer to record her.

I will add:  she mocked herself and renounced her belief and devotion to Communism.

She claimed that, after everything, her satisfaction in life came from her grandchildren, who called her Bapke.  

She observed everything.

She was always for the underdog.

Everybody loved her.  She spoke French, and got on well with people of all ages. There were always visitors and travelers around, all of whom Sara engaged, to everyone’s pleasure.

She would not hesitate to tell it, with wisdom:

Az men shtekt aroys di hant af sholem, varf es nisht avek.

Our relationship transcended family.  We had no grievances, held no old grudges.

Before her last trip to Israel, when we were saying good- bye, I could see in her eyes she knew we would never see one another again.  She is buried in Sfad (Safed), among all the holy, righteous ones.

* Paula worked with Sara on a translation of one of her books. Sara translated it from Polish to Yiddish (on cassette) and Paula translated the Yiddish to English.