An Anniversary

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.

5 thoughts on “An Anniversary

  1. Hello Jane
    Thanks for telling us about Uncle Joe’s anniversary, isn’t it sad and disturbing that it comes when there is an awful war going on not far from where he was fighting in what we all thought would be the last Great War in Europe?
    I must add that I want to applaud you for your endurance in the face of an immense and emotionally challenging task. Well done for keeping at it and nearing its completion.
    From Francis


  2. Yes it’s utterly appalling to see what is happening – yet again. Lives destroyed and refugees fleeing in scenes reminiscent of 1939 and the 40s.

    Thank you for your encouraging words re the translating – can’t quite believe I’m approaching the end of it!


  3. Hello Jane, just to say that I agree wholeheartedly with Francis’ comments and to add that I still remember your father’s coffin lying open for the family to pay their last respects before his burial. Wonderful that his diaries live on through your endeavours.



    1. Thank you Steve for your comments and continuing interest. I feel so fortunate to have these diaries – I have learnt so much about my father from them – and from the other documents and information that have emerged from my research. I had no idea where all this would lead me!


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