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Part of the old wall encircling the old town of Warsaw.
By ROSE PERLBERG
Daily Activities Edits,
J R most Americans the years
of childhood and adolescence
are carefree; we remember parties
and pranks, the everyday traumas
of growing up that we laugh at in
retrospect. But on the whole, we
can probably describe these years
as relatively happy and stable.
For Alex Matejko and Maria
Zagorska, Polish students here on
one-year scholarships, the picture
is very different. They are a part
of the Polish generation who lost
and never recovered youth.
Alex is 31, slim and straight-
backed with a florid complexion
and receding brown hair. Meticu-
los in dress and manner, he is What stands out in Maria's
softspoken, shy and conscious of mind about her childhood is the
the fact that he has been speak- fact that she spent the first 12
ing English. only a few months. years of her education in 12 dif-
When he's with Maria, he tends to ferent schools. "There was never
let her carry the discussion. Alone, a stable existence. We were always
he's more eloquent, shows a keen running from something; not
awareness of Polish problems. knowing what was coming next."
Nazis - Maria makes a careful
AT 24, Maria has a medium build distinction between Nazis and
with short-cropped blond hair Germans-bombed and destroyed
and a clear complexion. Snapping one school after another or killed
brown eyes crinkle around the teachers.
edges with her ready smile. She When Nazi occupation started
likes a jocular phrase and her In 1939, education was banned. It
hearty laugh is infectious. But went underground. Both Alex and
when Maria talks about the past Maria recall "a great enthusiasm"
two decades in Poland, she speaks for learning.
seriously. "We would gather in a private
home to study Polish history," re- mouth tightening into a grim line:
members Maria, ' ^arry books un- "It was very bad."
der our blouses, draw the curtains IThw s re a.
and speak -in a whisper." The Poles are a tough people,
They survived in the cellars.
PUNISHMENT was severe when But finally, they had to sur-
conspirators were c a u g h t. render to Nazis, who expelled the
Maria once saw Nazi soldiers bru- whole population of Warsaw, cap-
tally beat a little boy whose books ital city and a home for Maria
showed through his clothing, and Alex, then burned it to the
Alex, a sociologist, tells of a Maria and Alex describe the re-
group of students who were dis- habilitation of their ravaged
covered by the Gestapo and herd- towns and cities matter-of-factly.
ed with their professor to a con- They say quietly: "What had to
centration camp, be done, we did."
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Style-quality - price
But the "worst experience of
the war" for both was the two-
month period of futile Polish up-
rising against the harsh occupa-
Recalls Maria with a shudder:
"We lived in damp, musty cellars
with barely enough food to eat
once a day. We were always hun-
gry, constantly frightened ..'. it
was pretty tough." Alex nods,
ALL OVER the country tremen-
dous construction projects got
underway. Groups of sociologists
-of which Alex was one-teamed
up with architects and did exten-
sive research to determine what
would be most functional struc-
tures. From the ruins of a city
sprang a new town; from forest
(Continued on Next Page)
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