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Two Glasses of Good Vodka and a Very Brief Respite

Life in Translation 1939 Diary Extract

In this entry, the extent of the occupation (after just the first week of action) starts to become clear. 08/09/1939 Dawn broke as we glimpsed the Nida River in the distance and beyond that Nowy Korczyn. With the Nida came the hope of creating an organised resistance against the pursuing enemy. But we were naïve … Continue reading Two Glasses of Good Vodka and a Very Brief Respite

From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part four: Sad News from Silesia

Life in Translation 1939 Diary Extract

The old man chauffeuring me wasn’t managing very well and because of his age he was driving haphazardly in the dark. So at his own request, he was released from the army and praising God he made his way back to Giszowiec. I was given a young driver and we headed towards Siewierz but it … Continue reading From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part four: Sad News from Silesia

From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part three

Life in Translation 1939 Diary Extract

You may have noticed that in the first part of Józef’s entry for this date, both the squadron and the supply column travelled together. However in this third part of the entry, the squadron moves on towards Siewierz, while the supply column remains behind until the evening, at which point Józef receives some different orders. … Continue reading From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part three

From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part two: Who Can Sleep?

Life in Translation 1939 Diary Extract

To read part one of this section click here. Part two below. 02/09/1939 It was already well after midnight when we reached Strzyżów. The Commander called a halt here, so the supply column personnel made themselves comfortable keeping out of sight under apple and pear trees in local gardens. The kitchen was set up in … Continue reading From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part two: Who Can Sleep?

From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part one: Without Lights

Life in Translation 1939 Diary Extract

  As the unit continues its preparations on 1st September, Józef’s description of the rather ad hoc motorised squadron highlights some of the differences in provision between the German and Polish armies. The far wealthier German army was heavily motorised whereas this unit appears to be relying almost entirely on private vehicles. In this, the … Continue reading From Giszowiec towards Siewierz – part one: Without Lights

O Poland! Who Saw You?

Life in Translation 1939 Diary Extract

Józef’s diary entry for 1st September 1939 was simply one line: Wojna…Wojna…Wojna. (War…War…War). After that he starts a new section of his diary headed The September Campaign. He begins this section with a very patriotic and poetic passage. Well, his Polish is very poetic but is therefore hard to translate. I'm not sure my translation has … Continue reading O Poland! Who Saw You?