How to find a Husband in Poland between 1925-1950

6 Jul

I thought I’d break up all my sad posts with something mildly funny. Since arriving, I’ve been told about various methods women used to ensnare husbands. Similarly, I’ve been informed of deterrents.

Here are my favourite three, in no particular order:

  1. Paint your house blue. En route to Auschwitz we pass several peasant houses (these are one-level bungalows all constructed in the same boxy style). Some were painted baby blue. Our guide tells us that women looking for a husband, who lived in a village, would often paint their houses this colour as a sort of subtle signal to passersby.
  2. Don’t let your hair go grey. This was the advice of my Great Great Grandmother. My Great Grandmother went grey as a school girl. Her mother apparently fretted that she would never find a husband, but according to my Grandmother, men always flocked to her. When she was a child, and they were trying to get home on a train being used to transport soldiers, her mother told her to hide while the officers welcomed my grey-haired Great Grandmother into their train. My Grandmother, once sighted by the officers, was sent to third class to sit with the orderlies.
  3. Don’t attract attention. My Grandmother was called a few names in the Lithuanian papers for fighting for the return of her property. (Out of pride, she keeps the accompanying picture in her wallet). Her grey-haired mother was horrified and told her daughter this: A lady only has her name in the paper three times, when she is born, when she is married, and when she dies. Much to the shock of my Great Grandmother, her daughter’s name continued to appear in the paper, and she still eventually landed a husband.

A single woman lives here!


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