This is the largest, the most beautifully furnished, and the most popular café. Even though there are several spacious rooms, it has been bustling, full, crowded and packed nonstop since March 10th. It gets even worse at 1-2 and 5-6 p.m.
Even the most minor deals require a meeting, preferably in a neutral place. And L'Ours is perfect for this because an individual gets no attention here anyway. Moreover, the place is in the centre (at Leszno Street 58) and its luxuriousness and comfort attract "better" clients.
When you enter the café for the first time you get the impression that the war had never broken out. Except for the armbands there are no traces of war, captivity, or the ghetto. The faces of the clients are not gaunt. On the contrary, people look normal and well-fed. Their clothes are perfectly decent, if not smart. The ladies are dressed up, powdered, and made up like [in pre-war times].
They promote fashion "made in the ghetto," as if their only problems were the ones they had yesterday, when they jabbered about clothes, movies, and beaus. The men too are wearing very fine clothes. Their ties, sweaters, socks, and handkerchiefs all match the color of their suits, as if nothing has changed.
Nowadays, we worry only about how to dress warmly in winter, and in summer our only worry is how to conserve as much clothing as possible for winter. By contrast, they worry about buttons, colours, and cuts. Even though the older men are "only" well dressed, the fabric [of their clothes] is brand new (a suit costs 3,000 zlotys), and their shirts are silk and clean (while we wash our shirts less and less often, because we have too few of them, and because washing is costly and damages the clothes).
They enter the café, nonchalantly bow left and right (they all know each other), choose their table, frown, fuss, order mocha ("but make sure it's real") and pastries ("I would like to order abisynki, croquettes, stefanki",) light up fragrant cigars, and stretch out in the armchairs.
Having expressed their satisfaction with the music (the orchestra is playing `Si, si, si, this is a tramp's serenade'), the cakes, and the whole café, they get down to business. [...]
But it is certain that the vast majority is quite rich and well-fed. Many eat 2-3 pieces of cake. Here and there you can see an apple, a ham sandwich, or an alcoholic beverage. It is difficult to say who speculates, accepts bribes, steals, bribes, trades with the Germans, or denounces his compatriots. But it is certain that most clients have an income. There are no saddened, hopeless faces. Laughter often lights up the faces of the young ladies and men. [...]
Waitresses from "society". Very elegant and good-looking, they wear necklaces, rings, and silk. They add charm and elegance, which dazzles a person coming in from the street grown unaccustomed to such sights. This is a real oasis of luxury, comfort, sybaritism, and carelessness surrounded by the quagmire of hunger, disease, captivity, and utter hopelessness. [...]
These younger ones behave like kings and look out on their surroundings with a commanding gaze.