I was so pleased to be asked to give a presentation about Józef’s diary to the (virtual) Polish Language and Culture Meet Up yesterday. It was the first time I had formally presented any information about this project and it was really encouraging to receive such positive feedback from everyone – so thank you very much to all for your interest and warm comments and of course, thank you very much Ewa https://www.facebook.com/digestiblepolish for inviting me to do this.
While I was preparing the talk I was reflecting on how much information I have managed to unearth about my father in the last few years, in addition to the diaries. The Polish War Office has a wealth of information about Polish soldiers who served in the UK – thanks go to my cousin Joe who put me in touch with them! I also found that the Sikorski Museum in London had some letters and other documents belonging to him which was a wonderful and totally unexpected surprise. While visiting the museum, I was also given the contact details of a Polish museum in Switzerland where I might find information about his time there with his unit, between 1940 and 1945. It seems that every time I follow one lead or suggestion it takes me to some further sources.
I’m now three quarters of the way through translating the material he wrote and it begins to feel as though I will actually finish it in the foreseeable future. It’s been a long and testing process and at times very sad, especially in terms of reading the more harrowing details of the devastation during the war, but despite all that it continues to be an immensely rewarding endeavour.