My father died in 1967 at the age of 46. In 2002 my mother died.
Some time later, I found myself looking through my parent's belongings. In an old leather suitcase I found...what? Handwritten notebooks; old and discoloured; written in Polish and completely incomprehensible to me, together with numerous drawings and paintings. Very frustrating!
Several years later, by chance, I heard of a translator who was willing to work on the translation of these notebooks. I desperately wanted to know what all this writing was about. Scans of the first pages were sent to the translator. He offered to put his translation onto voice files to make the exercise less expensive.
I received the first voice file, and with a certain amount of trepidation, switched on my machine, and started to listen. A man's voice with a heavy Polish accent began. A shiver went down my spine. It was as if my father was speaking to me, telling me what had happened to him during the war; how it felt to be a teenager in September 1939; how he was arrested by the Soviets and taken to a Gulag and later how he joined the Polish 2nd Corps and fought with the Allies in Italy against the Germans.
'Lost Between Worlds' is an English translation of my father's wartime journal.
Written in real time, it is a moving and emotional account of his experiences, immediate and untainted by the passing of time and failing memory; a first hand account and primary source of information about how it felt to be a Polish teenager at the outbreak of war, and six years later a young man in his mid twenties, with both his youth and his country lost. He does not write about battles or military action but puts his thoughts and feelings onto paper so as to try and come to terms with what is happening to him and his compatriots. A lost generation whose lives were changed irreversibly by war.
You can read more about this book and the author by using the links shown at the top of this page.
'Lost Between Worlds' written in English is a paperback, 237 pages and is available to buy using the Contact Page on this site for the reduced price of £8.50 plus postage. For more than one copy or to pay in a currency other than UK pounds, please use the Contact page and we will send you a price by email. See reviews of the book here.
"15 September 1944. But still .. long, long ago, back in Russia I began to write something ... it is not a diary, nor a story, nor anything else. Just a lot of pictures, snapshots seen in the blink of an eye, bound together by nothing but that red mark on the map ... Extremely briefly told, almost stenographed, with intervals of not less than a week, but sometimes many months - however it now fills many hundreds of pages. I don't think it's good or even passably well written, but there is a lot of material; maybe one day it may be of some interest." 'Lost Between Worlds' page 208.
Along with his diaries, the old leather suitcase contained a wealth of Edward Herzbaum's artwork. During WWII, as soon as he could lay his hands on art materials, he started sketching the landscapes he found himself in. Starting in Kyrgyzstan overlooked by the giant Tien Shan mountain range, through southern Asian USSR to the Caspian sea, across to Iran, Iraq, Israel Egypt, and into Italy. These sketches, together with his later more formal work as a student of architecture and as a practicing architect are chronicalled in this lavish art book.
The book has 146 pages, in soft cover or hard cover, and is available from the publisher, Blurb. Preview the book using the following Link to Blurb
A Polish version of Edward Herzbaum's wartime journals was published in 2016 by the Karta Publishing House. Link to Karta website.