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(as told to Anna Mateja)
Of course, I won’t be able to tell the story of the entire forty-six years of my friendship with Ryszard—certainly not just like that, in such a short telling.
But over the last few days, I have been pondering the roots of the closeness between us. Perhaps it had to do, for each of us, with the brother whom neither of us otherwise had? Or perhaps the shared fate that threw us both, after the war, from the eastern stretches of the former Polish lands into the Polish People’s Republic—him from Polesie, me from Podole? Perhaps it had to do with the similar—at least part of the time—way in which we perceived the world? Even though I knew him, in the myriad of remembrances and articles that have been coming out about him since his death, he already seems a little different; and because of this I want to tell the story of a somewhat odd aspect of his biography and perhaps an interesting feature of his character: this vast, deep, life-long conviction that prepared him for all sorts of sacrifices.