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Chapter Nineteen

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Enthroning the Queen of Baszta

During the summer of 2014, while I was working on the development of this website, production of the architectural plans for the new Abrams’ Tower West in Los Angeles were underway. At the same time, I began to receive distressful information from private sources about what had come of the former Abrams’ Tower in Wrocław, Poland.

In June of 2013, its incognito ghost-owner finally obtained the city funding to repair the roof – six years after I had introduced her to the Vice President of the Wrocław City Council for this very purpose. I calculated that our combined financial loss during this period amounted to more than double what she paid to purchase the tower. Still, the orange haired kangaroo court victory left her with one big asset: she had her precious historical acquisition back, including the prior improvements made at my expense, in addition to ample funding from the city. Having failed to obtain this funding at the court’s order from one tapped-out American cash cow, her diabolical scheme had nevertheless come to fruition almost a decade after she had purchased Baszta.

Not only was the roof finally restored, but the city paid for interior improvements as well, which a new plaque on the tower’s wall makes all too evident. Clearly, the apartment was also built inside of the attic in accordance with her 2009 architectural plans.

The new name is the old generic one: Baszta (Bear Tower). La luz long gone, and Abrams’ Tower having migrated to the New World, I arrived at a realization that had never struck me before.

My dream to make access of the attic to the public a dramatic attraction had long since been crushed by her self-serving intentions. This had only become possible by somehow convincing the city to change the zoning, so that the building could be inhabited as a residence. Today there is a new vegetarian Thai food café below that also serves Hungarian wine. I found this to be another remarkable parallel between the owner of Baszta and the writer, Olga Tokarczuk, given that neither are meat eaters. Ironically, its walls are once again white, even though Poles had relentlessly insisted I change the color, when I chose white almost a decade earlier.

Photos by Zezen.

The new name is once again the old generic one: Baszta (Bear Tower). La luz long gone, and Abrams’ Tower having migrated to the New World, I arrived at a realization that had never struck me before:

As far as what I know from abroad, the true owner of Baszta remains unknown to this day by most of the Polish public. In retrospect, the way the name “Abrams’ Tower” came about is highly suspicious, even to myself. In fact, not only did I not think up this name, but at first I was adamantly against it. And, God forbid, it never occurred to me that there’s an American sociopathic egomaniac, who was attempting to build a tower named after himself in Moscow!

The reason for the name change, in fact, was suggested by the Landlord, and for once she made a thoughtful contribution with just reason. Nothing could have possibly been more ironic than my choice of the Spanish name “La luz,” because of the unimagined fluke that “luz” is slang for “chill out” in Polish. In Polish culture, the term is mainly associated with teenagers, which was the last thing I had intended. This communicated exactly the wrong message to the public, especially after having promised to the city department that grants alcohol sales permits that my business would not cater to beer-drinking students. Having inadvertently chosen a name with a completely different meaning in Polish and in Spanish, I could not avoid attracting students as my main demographic.

Thus, when I installed the new kitchen and aimed to recreate my business as a quality fusion-cuisine restaurant, a new name would be in order. However, it was clever Robak, who came up with “Abrams’ Tower,” while he was privately pow-wowing with the Landlord. At the time that the Landlord finally agreed to take responsibility for the roof’s restoration, she also thought it was a splendid name. Hence, eventually I reluctantly decided to go along with it. Only long afterward did it dawn on me that the choosing of this name communicated another unanticipated message on my part, that was likely a calculated smokescreen. If this were another attempt to stroke my ego –  just as I was about to agree to making a second large investment in the tower’s interior restoration – the new name inevitably gave the public the wrong impression concerning the tower’s ownership, while the actual owner remained incognito.

The further significance of this only struck me long afterward, as did the betrayal of my young Jewish cohort, who had offered me protection, only to bail on me, out of self-protection, when most needed. During this period of Poland’s economic redevelopment, Jewish demands, coming from foreigners for restitution of property that was confiscated by Poles after WWII, became a contentious issue. This angered many Catholic Poles, who protested that they too suffered serious losses during the Nazi occupation. It had never before dawned on me that while the Landlord went to great lengths to hide her identity from the public, that the new name associated with Baszta may have been intentionally conceived to provoke intense resentment against her tenant. What a clever scheme: my manager, who became her good buddy, was being treated by her as if he were her tenant. In this dubious capacity, he secretly engaged in sabotaging my business and, later on, the court verdict dumped onto my shoulders all legal liabilities for the building’s restoration, as if I were the owner!

Meanwhile, the Landlord continued her flight far and wide, and wrote books which won lucrative awards from the local newspaper that had blackballed my business ever since Abrams’ Tower became its new name. Today she is becoming an internationally awarded author, her books now being translated into English language. So goes the struggles of a poor Polish writer getting by teaching occasional classes in a local university.

On August 6, 2016, Newsweek published an article concerning the controversy of Jewish property restitution in Poland that has gone on for many years, which says:

Poland is the only country in the European Union that has failed to establish a comprehensive program to address the issue of confiscated Holocaust, or Communist-era, private property. Here is the entire article:

Poland Must Return Property Confiscated in Holocaust to Rightful Owners

This controversy had never even entered my mind. To the contrary, I and my family back in LA had invested an enormous amount of money into the Polish owner’s property. All I ever asked for in return was that she cooperate to restore the building, in accordance with demands made of her by the city, so that it would be functional to operate a profitable business, which obviously would have been to everyone’s benefit. Aside from this, while she had no time to tend to anything, I had brought to her other investors to partner with me, as I conceived a once-in-a-lifetime restoration plan, from which the entire city would have benefited.

Besides her own misguided negligent animosity, there were Poles, who remembered Baszta as being owned by a student organization and resented that a foreigner had taken their precious student hang-out from them. No matter that they drank dirt cheap beer and wine as they angered the neighbors, until the business went broke, causing the prior owners to lose their alcohol sales permits. Plus, no matter to the Landlord that the bums congregating outside during warm weather alienated many of my customers. Worse, I had used Baszta for such sacrilegious purposes as filling traditional pierogies with blue cheese, Mexican burritos with traditional meat pierogies and I refused to play Abba on New Year’s Eve!

In retrospect, perhaps a more symbolic name for Baszta would have seemed suitable. One can only conjecture what my Landlord might have thought of a new name for the tower that, in my mind, is most appropriate. Click on the image below:

The bear knows...

Click on the bear to hear it growl!

What would have made more perfect sense than an homage to Polish author, Olga Tokarczuk, who passionately wrote in 2010 following the plane crash that killed her country’s president, that it was time to stop mourning, time to stop looking back and generate ideas for the future, in spirit of self-worth?

Click here for Chapter Twenty: Welcome to the Wrocław Ghetto Hotel and Theme Park