Ever since I can remember, I have always been reading.
I went to school when I was six years old. For the first six months, I was struggling with reading. One day I came home and told my grandmother that I had finally learned how to read. She did not believe me, so she told me to read something from my primer. I read it very quickly so she thought that I had memorised the content of that page. She opened the book on one of the final pages and found out that I could read it just as well. I read the entire primer in less than an hour.
There were no children’s books at home and I felt a compulsion to read. The first book that I intentionally read was Noemi Szac’s Przeminęło z ogniem [Gone with the fire]. Somehow, Walka i zagłada warszawskiego getta [The fight and the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto] by Bernard Mark proved too much of a challenge for me. Later, I switched to my mother’s medical books.
It was not until many years later that I realised that aside from my Father’s Czech books (which I started reading two years later), the only books we had at home were mostly about medicine and the Holocaust.
To this day, I read constantly. Typically, two or three books at the same time. Until recently, there was not a single book in my library that I had not read.
I became interested in martial arts at the age of 12. I first went to a jujitsu class when I was 13 years. My parents did not approve of it so I kept it secret from them and my grandmother paid for my classes. Later, I trained karate, judo at the university, and several different martial arts systems. Today, I only do a little boxing, just enough to stay in shape.
I like shooting and I have been doing it since I was a child. First, it was my uncle’s air gun, then a bow and firearms. I have never had any interest in hunting. I shoot for sport, dynamically, for my own amusement. I have absolutely no ambition to compete for medals. I shoot because I like it. I am also one of the founders of the Polish Paintball League. For years, I was the captain of one of the first paintball teams in Poland. We were runners-up in the Polish Championship.
I also enjoy cooking. Occasionally, I make beer. Cooking is indeed the trademark of our entire family. My wife bakes bread and Shabbat challah, she also makes great gefilte fish, and my daughter’s cakes are superb. My specialty is roast duck with dumplings – a typical Czech dish. I loosen the skin on duck, pull out the bones (except drumsticks), fill it with chopped duck and chicken breast, add apples and marjoram, and stitch the duck up. I roast it in the oven, basting it. I serve it with dumplings and sauerkraut. And, of course, beer.
I like peace and quiet. I spend my free time deep in the woods in my favourite Suwałki region. I cannot imagine a better way to spend my holiday.