Józef has been very much in my thoughts this week, as today – 3rd June – is the 70th anniversary of his death. So we have our own, but very different 70 year commemoration.
Yesterday evening I was discussing some of the content of the first book with a Polish friend, who has very kindly been reading my father’s original and my translation to check for any errors or inaccuracies (nothing significant so far, I’m relieved to say).
Edyta commented on Józef’s great sense of humour being very apparent from time to time, despite the otherwise awful situations he describes. She tells me that these touches of warm humour, when describing people or certain situations, are even funnier in Polish due to his choice of words which don’t always translate well – or at all – into English.
I am still translating the final pages of Józef’s daily notes. My earlier optimism, thinking they would be easier to translate, was somewhat misplaced! Some parts are relatively straightforward but, because they are mostly brief notes, there is not much context to help with understanding.
The bigger problem however is the minute handwriting – especially at the ends of pages. It often seems as though he was racing to get everything down that he wanted to say about a particular day without starting a new sheet of paper, so the writing gets smaller and smaller down the page! This is where I have to call for help again, and in these situations it’s my dear friend Ewa in Katowice who comes to the rescue. If I send a photo of the illegible section, she somehow manages to decipher even the tiniest handwriting almost every time!
So the journey continues… but maybe the final stages are really in sight at last.