Sunday, 12 January 2014


Łódź is Poland's third-biggest city, and it is filled with ghosts. The ghosts of textile workers who lived in cramped tenement houses facing the factories, the ghosts of magnates who dined in rococo palaces, and the ghosts of Jews rounded up and deported.

David Lynch, Untitled, (Łódź), 2000

They are there, the ghosts, floating around side by side with the living. The tenement houses are still inhabited, with the same staircases and the same railings, covered by a thousand layers of fingerprints. The rococo palaces are art museums that hardly anyone visits, or restaurants that stay empty on a Friday night. And the ghetto, untouched by the war, has stayed so since: With windowless staircases, crumbling façades, and no paint left to peel. Descendants of those who moved in seven decades ago live in monuments to something they don't care to recall. 

David Lynch, Untitled, (Łódź), 2000

So why visit? Because everywhere else, the traces of the past have been made to look pretty. Everywhere else, the ghosts have been chased away and reconstructed behind glass. Not in Łódź. 

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