A Milestone Reached!


Well this week I am so pleased to have finally finished translating the 1st of my father’s 2 exercise books, in which he wrote his wartime diaries. I feel quite a sense of achievement having got this far and am trying not to think too much about the fact that I still have to translate over half of what he wrote in total!

It’s definitely getting a little easier the more I do. There are still times though (probably every few pages) when I sit in a fog wondering if I will ever transform the sentence in front of me into meaningful English. This is especially hard when the sentence stretches over half a page –a not infrequent occurrence. In these instances I think decoding the conundrums in the GCHQ puzzle book that my daughter Louise gave me for Christmas is probably an easier task!

So far the extracts posted on the blog cover almost a year from 24th September 1938 to 2nd September 1939 and are from the first 50 pages of Józef’s book. In all, this book covers the period up to 11th September 1939 and contains 114 pages.

So there is still a lot of material to post from this first part of his diaries. First though I have to type it up while at the same time continuing to try and perfect the translation in the selected sections. I always work on the translation with pencil and paper – I just find it more comfortable, maybe it seems more intimate working from his handwriting to mine rather than straight on to the computer.  Of course this means that it probably increases the time the whole process takes but it’s my preferred way of working.

The second book contains 158 handwritten pages (a small number of which I have already translated). So there will be plenty more to come which I hope you will continue to follow. I have to say the remainder of the September entries can be quite hard to read at times as the war takes hold and the struggle for survival for both the army and civilians becomes more harrowing.

If you have been following the diaries so far, I do hope you are finding this first hand record as compelling as I do and I thank you for your continued interest – and your patience when the posts are slow to come!

6 thoughts on “A Milestone Reached!

  1. Do keep it up. It really is compelling reading. Such a remarkable historical record of the events leading up to Poland’s capitulation. Your father cannot have imagined the horrors about to befall his beloved country nor indeed have thought that his diaries would have passed to his daughter many years later to translate for us all to read. How proud he would have been!


    1. Thank you Steve, I just hope that I’m doing him justice. Polish friends who have read parts of the original tell me that he writes in a beautiful literary style in places, but I fear my level of translating is not up to capturing that! It is certainly a powerful account of some of the tragic events that took place.


  2. Well done, Jane! A real labour of love, and it is great that it is bringing your father’s words and experiences to a wider audience for the first time. Looking forward to more entries in due course.


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