A Unique Confession About The Great Scientist Emil Racoviţă

Emil Racoviţă (1868-1947)

The house of the family Racoviţă was indeed a strange one as it looked like nothing else. It was the place of someone who wanted to get rid of all the material values... Emil Racoviţă had a fantastic appearance, he looked massy and noble, he spoke French like his mother tongue, with no accent at all. He had a huge authority and the distinction of a great feudal lord. Every day he would walk across the whole city to the lab. Nothing had changed in his habits since my childhood till 1937 when I met him again. He wore the same large mantle and the same black felt hat with very large brims like that worn by the French socialists as a recognition sign at the end of the 19th century. As he was always very keen on politics, he would read the newspaper while walking, holding it widely open in his spread arms, while the passers-by went friendly aside, letting him pass. In the evening, on his way home, he would stop at the cinema where he saw one by one all the films that were screened in Cluj, which had become sound films since 1927. Oh! It wasn't difficult at all, all the films delighted him, no matter how bad they were. I remember him presiding the dinner with a special ceremonial, in the large living-room with a wonderful view on the city. He would prepare the salad by himself. Under Blanche's slightly annoyed look (they called her Bla), he was brought the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Then, with terrible and annoying slowness, he would start on the habits that he had established himself. He would add an "indispensable" drop of water in the vinegar. After that, he mixed everything in an enameled bowl for a long, very long time. When the salad was finally ready, it was put in a salad bowl. With the nobleness of a magus king, he would offer the crystal cup to his Mother (Mrs. Racoviţă), saying: "Servez-vous, Doudouia." Jacqueline GALMICHE is the great naturalist Rene Jeannee's daughter- Emil Racoviţă's pupil and co-worker- professor of Biology at Cluj in 1920-1927

by Jacqueline Galmiche