Simonia Woycik

Polish resident of the Mazury who scorned Munye when he needed help

Simonia invites us inside and we stand in her modest living room. Speaking through the interpreter, we search for words to say to each other. She remembers my father by his first name, Shulem.

Why didn’t he come to ask for food, she asks. Why did he always send me? That was the same callous remark that I recall her mother uttered on that night more than half a century ago, when she sent me away hungry and forced my father to risk a visit himself. 

As we depart, I offer Simonia my sympathy for her husband who never came back from the war. “What can you do about it?” she says with a shrug.

“Yes,” I agree with an undertone of irony that I hope causes her to reflect on her past behavior toward me. “What can you do? Such is life.”