Marek Zulawski would have been 107 today. Here’s what he was doing exactly 34 years ago...
The day of my 73rd birthday: 13 April 1981.
At precisely 6am, in the small attic room of the Hotel Touring in Chamonix, while you, Maria, were still sleeping, I furtively, like a villain, slipped out of bed and quietly, silently, drew back the curtains. As the window was exposed, I suddenly saw pristine whiteness.
Mount Blanc rose up straight ahead of me, above the highest roofs of the surrounding homes, like an incomprehensible giant, too tall for anyone to even believe it existed. Incredibly beautiful against the pale dawn sky, the solitary massif had three summits: Mont Blanc, Mont Maudit and... Mont Blanc du Tacul, where, embedded in a block of ice, untouched by a schedule, untouched by time and preserved for the ages, was the body of my brother Wawrzyniec.
As I gazed out thinking about him, all three summits suddenly lit up. The day’s first sunbeams flew out of the bright sky and struck like lightning against the peaks. The background sky darkened by contrast and the extremely jagged glaciers sank into the deeper blue as if it were a huge sea. I looked upon this miracle as it played out before my very eyes, that everyday miracle of a sunny dawn, and my eyes filled with tears as if it were a sacred vision.
Through a clenched throat, I whispered: “Maria, come here and look.”
You woke up momentarily, and quietly, without a word, you came straight to the window. We stood there together like that for a long time, holding each other by the hand, barefoot, struck dumb as if we were facing the burning bush that Jehova spoke through.