Diana Wichtel is an award-winning journalist. After gaining an MA at the University of Auckland, she tutored English before moving into journalism, and is perhaps best known for her long-standing media commentary for the New Zealand Listener. She has also written dialogue for television and was the recipient of the 2016 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship. Wichtel used her time on the fellowship to write her life story, and specifically that of her father, a Polish Jew who miraculously survived the Holocaust, but who disappeared from her life when she moved with her mother and siblings from Vancouver to New Zealand. The story - which sees her visiting Warsaw to find out what happened to him - has just been published as Driving to Treblinka.
United States


00:00:00then in in which to was a Polish Jews who jumped from the train on route to the death camp of Treblinka in nineteen forty two Hey is five siblings and his mother stayed on the train Benjamin ended up in Canada after the war which is where his daughter
00:00:23journalist Diana which to was born and brought up until the age of sixteen in nineteen sixty four when the family came to her mother's home country here New Zealand to Knox Benjamin she never saw him again and pretty much all she knew was that he had died a
00:00:45few years lace hat in the mental hospital Jim has more now and she has told the story in a book called driving too troubling care alone search for lost found them it's a book about his very particular circumstance also %HESITATION about the big engine of guilt many of
00:01:10us carry with regard to our parents the thing I've come to realize who this fall the story it's I mean that's one category alone isn't it %HESITATION so many people I've talked to have father stories %HESITATION crazy father is sad happy you know every time but it just
00:01:28seems to be a genre of its own meaning and plenty of books written about them too EM I was thinking about season for Lou days when I was reading you'll as in the diagram about his father he went through one could say a similar experience in the war
00:01:44and cannot very differently of course but she had to come to terms with Hammond such a major way as well interview to that was a remarkable book kiss and she yes with some of the you know putting it all out there and that was quite a story has
00:02:01%HESITATION but yeah it just shows how people come through these experiences there's no one way that people emerge from these experiences hers couldn't be more different the question was laid in front of you as it lay how can you not know the way your father is Barry and
00:02:22everything sprung from NASA managers said there was a lot of stuff underneath that but that was what you set out to discover right yes because well I mean I always had beaten enough sort of way you know I tried I am talking to anyone who might know who
00:02:38am I had a tiny bit of information from when I was a teenager and we were told to certain amount but there were no cases no date sooner %HESITATION none of that and I was only sort of I would engage with it and then I would back off
00:02:52and was always frustrating for many many years even after the internet I could not find a mention of my family everyone else's family seem to have something up there but you know I have other friends in my situation who would find this and that it just took so
00:03:07long and you just get discouraged but then the next generation come up and say you have this narrative that there's nothing that can be done about it somehow that's just how it is you get used to it and they said to me you can't get used to this
00:03:20is not normal arm and that what do you say day this is your children were my daughter Monica was one and my niece they were both there Nichola my brother Jeff store after they happen to be there and I was probably convention away about the frustrations of it'll
00:03:36and they just took him on a minute you know you can't not know you've got to be able to find out and I just think that was a spur to make me realize once it just for me to find out it was something I owed to all of
00:03:48them %HESITATION and I just had to try really a lot harder and of course it coincided with things many more available as well and I had help from other people %HESITATION sort of pushing me in the right direction and so yeah it took a long time but I
00:04:06think it's you know the other person I interviewed around that time was tenure Mendelssohn who wrote the lost it's the six million six of the six million yes and %HESITATION so you have this six members of the family he was trying to track down and he just you
00:04:24know %HESITATION we talked about it a bit when I was talking to him and he said you just got to open the door and you know get yourself in the stream of history will be amazed what happens and in a way set engagement you know you open the
00:04:35door instead of shutting it again you just leave it open however painful however difficult and you just I'm not going to shut that door okay that's a great expression isn't as in suit yourself into the stream of history yes yes and it proved to me to be very
00:04:52%HESITATION central to the feeling I had because you know we then went to Poland and Poland in twenty ten when we first went I think it's it's meant the next time we went to the door ready sort of modernized a bit but you felt absolutely close to that
00:05:08history in a way that when you're in New Zealand you couldn't feel for further away from it you never wanted to go to Poland you say and for for completely understandable reasons I mean the statistics you site before World War two jeans were over one third of the
00:05:24population of Poland ninety percent of them including nearly or all of your father's family limited off of cool Jews who perished in the Holocaust with from Poland yes understandably mind boggling thus the nice Hoff Jewish champ that you ended up marrying was studying the architecture of mid day
00:05:50and memorial so day you would in crackle yes in the district as you described it that's become a kind of Jewish revival theme park which sounds completely horrific to me well that was weird because it was horrific but coming from New Zealand things are far from middle you
00:06:12know I think a lot of Jewish currents go there because it does recreate in a weird kind of way this %HESITATION a the trace of what life might have been like you know there was something but it's sort of torn down because I haven't really done a lot
00:06:28of thinking about it %HESITATION research before we went that first time you know that there were no it was in the absence of any almost any Jewish people and I think a gain since then %HESITATION things are are changing their because there were apparently a lot of Jewish
00:06:44people who young people didn't know they had Jewish roots you know during the communist era they were not connected at all so there are real Jewish people trying to to do things there %HESITATION but yeah it was so weird to go into the shop the booze little figures
00:07:00that look like little stereotypical Jewish man sum of money bags and things and and I'll just put this company right but I was so disoriented that got can this be right and then I did a bit of reading about it and and you know it does a thing
00:07:17and a lot of people have talked about it of course and I can I can think of would you describe that hypocrisy doesn't even come close it's weird and I thought you know I felt oddly it was a weird mix of of the Nile in the style to
00:07:31a you know there was a some style to for this lost vibrant community but nobody really wanted to face up to what happened to them and that still going on you know %HESITATION books that come out to try to talk about some of the programs even programs after
00:07:50liberation %HESITATION you know get shouted down and I think you know it's even being considered possibly a a criminal offense to put down Poland you know what I mean it's still very difficult to talk about these things there %HESITATION so again you're so close to that history in
00:08:09a way that in this part of the world you have an understanding of the thing talking about not knowing where your father was buried you mother died ten years ago what did she tell you about your father well she we had been told in the end %HESITATION after
00:08:30you know sort of when I was about nineteen I think that %HESITATION he had ended up in a mental institution but the %HESITATION %HESITATION idea I got from that at the time was that because she been trying to get a divorce and she said he was in no
00:08:50state to have papers served on and %HESITATION I got the idea that that meant he was completely knocked compass mentors are not available in a and I think it was traumatic I just put it away because we are living an itinerant student life moving flats try my mother
00:09:09was off to Japan we're kind of on our own and I didn't do anything about it %HESITATION so that's where the guilt comes from I think %HESITATION I when you finally got his records yes I do want to go into much to this part of it just not
00:09:25to give too much away no %HESITATION I understand that %HESITATION suffice it to say that it's heartbreaking yes yes beginning of each chapter you have heart breaking exits yes from his time in this institution here which when you read them all right and barely imagine the pain you
00:09:49must felt well yes I mean I never expected you know that's a thing of not knowing and you think well I want to know and then you know who when you finally find out to a lot of that not all of that I certainly know still a fraction
00:10:03of what happened to my father but %HESITATION you think is it better not to know sometimes I don't really believe that because I'm a journalist and I have to know if it's out there I had no yes it was extremely painful and painful for everyone you know and
00:10:20%HESITATION and much more than we ever expected we would not you talk about the battle that had always been a battle between no waiting and the thing that might in the end being more bearable not knowing yes that's right which I think everybody can relate to to some
00:10:38extent I mean most people have relatively complicated family histories when you think about the mules obviously more complications more painful and may well yes although that's been the amazing thing is people have read the book and people of read about the book of you know I've had so
00:10:55many people talk to me about their stories and not all from my kind of background but just Amazing Stories and very complicated stories and fairy stories SO grappling with late in life %HESITATION so it you know it is it's not it is quite universal and so you know
00:11:14in that way %HESITATION so many people have family stories are still grappling with and the one really a common thing is this thing of why didn't I ask more questions when I couldn't yeah it's always after the people have gone and even my mother a set time with
00:11:31her and we had very very %HESITATION detailed conversations where I thought I had to ask for every possible thing I couldn't but you still think have Twitter went in NASCAR that you know it's just inevitable when you you also found in Poland of people who told you about
00:11:52the lengths to which dates going all this families have gone to help the Jews to save the Jews which must have given you a much more nuanced idea of that country what did I think the first time I we just did everything ourselves %HESITATION my partner Chris strove
00:12:11I'm struggling in a slip semi farcical voice in a journey in the car on the wrong side of the road through getting lost in %HESITATION but we didn't really engage with people we tested everything ourselves we wandered around the remains of the ghetto what little there is there
00:12:28and %HESITATION the second time we went I was talking to but we had a guy it a Polish died and so we talk to people and %HESITATION I got to sit down with a man who as a boy his family had sent this friend of his an apron
00:12:44friend defense and that was one of the most moving experiences is a wonderful man and %HESITATION you know they risk their lives every second to do this %HESITATION so there's many good people who did that and it did it change me from feeling totally alienated in fact I
00:13:02said to Chris who you know maybe we come and live here for a few months and work here or spend longer and he was like noon probably not but okay begun to feel %HESITATION but yeah that was my family's home as well it was square they roots where
00:13:18and I definitely want to go back now wears after the first time you know I felt quite alienated brand I was thinking about Susan Faludi spoke about his father that when I was reading the descriptions of your father when he was in the psychiatric institution and you quoted
00:13:38Steven gross the psychiatrist suggesting that it was talking that paranoia talking about that you know a possible delusional behavior Stephen grows suggested that it was better to feel targeted by nameless enemies than to feel that no one was thinking of you as he put it paranoia shield shielded
00:14:02him from the catastrophe of indifference yes he was a wonderful guy looked interviewing Steven gross and many of the things he said in this little book is just like a little book about them cases that he's also he he had a father that he would return to Europe
00:14:20with as well %HESITATION so he knew the territory and that struck me very forcibly that that can be true it's worse to feel no one is thinking of you no one cares then to think someone is concentrating on maybe you know doing an injury of something that's very
00:14:39interesting to think of something that could be classified as mental illness being a completely reasonable response to last extra machines yes and the other thing I ate in just reading around on you know certainly no expert on trauma or any of these things but you read this and
00:14:57that and %HESITATION %HESITATION the other thing is that one account of some survivors that I read about sort of said as young people trying to start a gang building their families they had us a certain amount of resilience but then perhaps you get older and think when things
00:15:16go wrong men when relationships break when %HESITATION diet when your finances go under that resilient you can't you can't muster if a gain %HESITATION sometimes I mean obviously some debt but I've often thought that about my father it was just too much when things went wrong the second
00:15:38time you what yeah of course you don't you don't know about pre existing personality no that's French as well so that you can't make any firm kind of a judgment about it but yes that's something I think about along nicely and that's right and and as he put
00:15:56it he hit his actions made sense given the double disaster that had afflicted him yes but front yes to lose everything twice I mean that's something that's wanted me all my life that he lost everything twice in in in the war and then you guys if his family
00:16:14yes and I suppose so it's a child well when a teen young teenager had the sheriff of because you know how when you lose a parent you can feel abandoned even if that's not the case bit heroes if you suddenly have got a parent around %HESITATION you can
00:16:31fail they must've somehow left you %HESITATION and I think I had the sort of narrative may be running that that we were all too much for him by that stage and maybe he didn't want to join us in in New Zealand and you know you just have these
00:16:44narratives that you use to kind of make sense of something that doesn't make any sense and then years and years later you find that was probably very wrong so you lived with a terrible narrative and now old you have changed that you have in city jail cells into
00:17:01the stream of history how much difference has that may need to use well I'm it's hard to say at this point but people say did you get closer al gore's I had that would June no well I was trying to think what would be the opposite of closer
00:17:28I can't think of the word for it but it's like everything thrown open and all all the props that you have you realize how much your identity and your sense of self is built on these all these little prop that you have about your history about what happened
00:17:43interesting yes yes and then you what more away and you're starting a game and it's actually been painful and terrifying more than you know like people say oh good you got that off your chest nothing could be further from from the truth but I'm sort of working through
00:18:02it now but the wonderful thing of course is the next generation %HESITATION our children want to have to do that with it will not %HESITATION and also their reaction has been just extraordinary %HESITATION you know they they have a goal responded in different ways all would have been
00:18:18more let more or less interested in this territory my daughter particularly interested in it %HESITATION and %HESITATION you know she is said to me the shadowy figure that was my grandfather you have now given them back which is the best thing you could you know that she has
00:18:33a relationship with them she cried for him in the cemetery in Warsaw moment she's been there %HESITATION other family members of reconnect a little with you know finding out about the Jewish side of their heritage because none of us were brought up with any of that %HESITATION so
00:18:50that you know that's the best part of it %HESITATION and they're wonderful they're gonna kill them it's much less complicated I mean this this would be a sport that if I would go into detail about this but suffice it to say that the end of the book %HESITATION
00:19:08way you gather the family around and %HESITATION give him a fishing grave is is a beautiful thing it's a beautiful thing and you must defend that extraordinarily moving well yes absolutely %HESITATION the whole thing was %HESITATION typically in our family it's a total nightmare farcical in many there
00:19:38are some less than the book you have to really or you you wouldn't be here anymore but %HESITATION has your name by the way surprisingly good well a little bit too much movement and that yeah just tell me how that happened because it could happen to any of
00:19:51this but it happened to you at the bad time well it happens to me from more regularly apparently you know I get told by you know my family I I I think I put in the book you know I've been kicked in the knee on various travels kicked
00:20:05in with me by a horse the terrible skiing accident right did both money is in this time we were on the train going to morsel from Berlin and be gone and had some lunch and I've been coming back and I think people were trying to get wifi there
00:20:23will gathered around I wanted to go to the ladies were were gathered around there and me between the carriages and %HESITATION I was holding my little backpack in front of me because it was so crowded and so because I couldn't see where I was putting my feet and
00:20:37I stepped into the little stair well that goes to the door to exit the carriage and I just was flung backwards and look like well I hope I did hit the door I think likely it didn't fly open or we wouldn't be here talking to you and I
00:20:52would have flown out of the train in Poland which would have been dreadful %HESITATION thing but %HESITATION dreadful things that's odd words fail me at that point but this guy grabbed my arm and pulled me back and I went to put weight on my knee and nothing it
00:21:13was just agony I could not put any weight on it so I hobbled back to the carriage and I said to Chris my name he went white you know we were just starting what was going to be an active few days of tramping through cemeteries and so we
00:21:29hold off the train and %HESITATION two people had helped me off you know we hadn't done what people that not many people speak English just around the place that more so so we hobbled into a pharmacy as sort of hopelessly tried to ask what I should do a
00:21:45lovely young woman in his job who don't speak English help may and got a bandage and things so we hope will back her little %HESITATION place we were staying up stairs likely with the left and the guy that was fantastic I mean there are some wonderful people we
00:21:58encountered it this is what changed my view I think he went on his own NY gel and %HESITATION maybe lots of people have an interest but %HESITATION yeah bye and Chris available during the insurance we're going to go home and I said leave it till the morning and
00:22:14by the morning I could just put a little bit of weight on it and it was very hard going up and down stairs so we always had to find lists and things but the first day where many sitting down talking to people and by the next day I
00:22:26could hobble it was bad and it remained at night to go to a doctor there who %HESITATION told me he thought it would come right Pat self %HESITATION so great you got a bit better but was painful the whole time is age and as I think I say
00:22:41in the book is sort of like this psychic pain I was in was made physical so in a way it felt right to you know that I should have this pain with every step in Poland it's interesting is that when you when you look at this and in
00:22:55retrospect a lot of that must seem that it was meant to be you know the the knee pain the fact that Chris was doing that study which took cues to Poland if it pulls out as a as a kind of that story that was meant to be although
00:23:16I'm sure that didn't feel like that at the time will know because you never knew where it was going but yeah I mean I'm not a real religious now have no belief in phase or any of those sort of things but I think anyone who's done the sort
00:23:28of stories you sit down with them and they've all got the store is really %HESITATION never know what happened you know it's it was so weird it seemed like it was meant to be seen like so absolutely but then again that's a kind of narrative you put together
00:23:40afterwards sometimes isn't it you think %HESITATION you know why did I make that choice well must be meant to be but %HESITATION yeah it's an interesting thank you but I must say you know as I said I'm not religious but I did have the sense that whole stream
00:23:55of history sense that you are entering something that history isn't that far away but it's some parallel dimension you can sometimes intersect with in a way that doesn't quite normal %HESITATION and while I was writing the book I had I don't have many dreams about my father I
00:24:12have had a few over the years I had several vivid dreams about him and again it's that thing some people would say you know it's some sort of spiritual connection but I don't think it matters what it as it has the same sort of effect on you know
00:24:28I said to him do you mind in one demand for tell your story and I you know were cut before I got the reply so you describe a game that you used to play with your father you and your sister and he would appear as if he were
00:24:46a homeless man at the door and union system will bring him in from the cold yeah well that came to mind years ago when a dear friend Davy Knowles was doing a book about we were in a second we are in a second generation group of people of
00:25:02my kind and %HESITATION with parents you know family stories like that and %HESITATION you know she said could you write a chapter was sort of a recipe and ma'am memories and I so I you know I really I can't I just caught it was too painful I couldn't
00:25:16remember anything and she just sat in a car on the front so what do you remember and some of these very vivid memories that come back and they get re frame to you know when you think of them now was just a little game I remember he would
00:25:29come home late we'd always usually each and the table be beautifully set for his dinner and %HESITATION he would come in the back door and I would make him go Africa and and with my sub Saharan turn up his collar and bring the men and because of this
00:25:43beautifully laid table we could bring him to and you know it was just very satisfied but I never thought about it until that many years later and that seems astonishing definition and then I read you know as you found online somebody had found the story who was a
00:26:00former professional and then use that as an example of this is one of the most comforting things oddly he sent that in that story my father was trying to share his trauma with me us and %HESITATION in fact for children whose parents have been traumatized that needs to
00:26:21happen and that my father gave me a great gift and that we were actually talking to each other about this and I'd always thought will be never barely ever talked about any of this but that's another thing you can find all of these are other ways of talking
00:26:36about it and that was deeply comforting to me because it meant we have a relationship in a I mean I knew I loved him and I knew he loved me but we were having a relationship that included these difficult things you knew that your father of course to
00:26:52jump from the train when it was on the way to Casablanca and you asked him how could she leave your mother on the train moon what did he say well my memory of it is not a that I didn't realize what a terrible question to ask children you
00:27:11know the one in there so you know I love my mother couldn't imagine how could you gave your mother %HESITATION my memory of it to all those questions I asked you to send you couldn't do anything they would shoot you that was what he said you know because
00:27:27I also said why did you will run away well they would shoot and of course I know now you know that was the case %HESITATION every move you made every decision you made every decision you didn't make would be it could be the last moment you were %HESITATION
00:27:46yeah it's fiendish what happened %HESITATION and %HESITATION how little agency anyone could have %HESITATION which makes it all the more remarkable that he he did you know that I think I came to see it that he was just choosing between different kinds of death in a way %HESITATION
00:28:04one killed she must've felt such guilt and I've read a game yes a lot about that you see a game that had the correct method of anyone jumped off everyone would have been happy about that would've would've but it wasn't always the case there were people why are
00:28:18you leaving us you know the people who %HESITATION %HESITATION felt it was in a everyone should stay together no matter walked over and over still we're maintaining hope that the worst was going to happen so I don't think it was an easy thing to do it all he
00:28:36was addicted to barbiturate pain killer so that's what my mother told me death do you think I mean what did he have health issues that that would be necessary for or was this is this is a psychic pain well you did have health issues he had I remember
00:28:52he would come roaring into the house you know you didn't want to be in the bathroom when he arrived home after work because he need to get to his milk of magnesia had stomach very bad stomach issues with he told the stomach cancer but that way yes yes
00:29:05he would say %HESITATION you know I've got some accounts and you know it in it it Norton up too terribly serious I mean in a dramatic way then a diagnostic but he %HESITATION and he was getting shakier and shakier and %HESITATION we didn't I didn't know but he
00:29:25you know it was obviously the early stages of Parkinson's disease and %HESITATION my mother to tell me that the family doctor who was all they were also family friends would bring her and say you've got to get them to go into the bring him into the office and
00:29:40he just wouldn't he wouldn't go near the place so he was a very difficult man to help I think I've also discovered a lot of people over the years you know I mean there was guilt I'm I'm going back to Vancouver in the eighties and making an old
00:29:55family friend and he took me right to his wife didn't really want to talk about it but he took me aside and I think he was worried that we would think he hadn't helped and he said he tried to %HESITATION but my father just wouldn't take any help
00:30:09and %HESITATION you know I I just said to him look I know in had to reassure him that nobody I mean there's nobody to blame in that sense %HESITATION it was just incredibly complicated Saban impossible really I can imagine that it was very hard for you to deal
00:30:32with the change of narrative Fromm my father left also didn't join us two one old if he really wanted ten but yes because that's that's a lot of grief in the eighth yep %HESITATION you know there are moments in the research process where something arrives in your inbox
00:30:58I remember just groaning allowed in hating it because you want to know %HESITATION but then you have your new then you do not own you know %HESITATION we still don't know exactly why it didn't come down here %HESITATION in the end to %HESITATION how long did your mother
00:31:14expect him to well I don't know you know I did that's the missing yes this is enough yes I did ask her as much as she could tell me you know %HESITATION it was difficult because of she she loved him and it did make her cry and she
00:31:30carried pain forever about it but I think you know I I also have memories of what things were like before we left and for her it was incredibly difficult she was you know housewife of her era but she had none of her own money in the end she
00:31:48was banned from going to see their friends she had to sneak out %HESITATION to see their friends she offered to help get a job or whatever no and she wasn't able to do anything so I also have I'm I'm going to talk to her when I was twelve
00:32:06thirteen %HESITATION we should go to bed and I go and say good night just wasn't in Vancouver yes yep and should be weeping and you know I suppose for want of anyone else to talk to she talked to me about about it so I didn't know what she
00:32:19was going through and I think I was angry it's almost seemed you know when your child to you if you don't understand why these things are happening so I think for a certain number of years I was kind of angry at my father why was he behaving like
00:32:32this that it was pulling us apart you know %HESITATION and I now realize this things going on that you know where my certainly not his full time %HESITATION just things going wrong yes things are wrong and %HESITATION I'm sure delayed trauma post traumatic stress in a I don't
00:32:53know that the diagnosis but %HESITATION I mean this is nineteen sixty four I'm wondering whether the there was just no %HESITATION the would have been help if it'd been now but then no no well as far as I know no help in as far as I know he
00:33:10got no %HESITATION nothing no reparations naru no nothing in those days whether he's sort any %HESITATION and I you know I'm sure he didn't see can help people didn't %HESITATION often and %HESITATION I'm not sure there would be many available and also you can %HESITATION in those days
00:33:30the Holocaust wasn't even really being talked about as any just beginning to post the Eichmann trial rarely and is interesting knows actually %HESITATION in in his records it says that he told the medics quote that his mother two sisters and three brothers what accidentally killed during the war
00:33:57yes now that comes up in what he said right well it couldn't because see thank yeah because if you you know about a game give away too much but %HESITATION who he Wallace was never really as if he we walls changed in those years %HESITATION and he didn't
00:34:19always admit to being sure she didn't always admit he never admitted to being a Holocaust survivor so %HESITATION yet that's what you know in other places he's referring you never did miss each to being a Holocaust survivor never talked about it right as far as I can make
00:34:35out the evening news no one knows this is later after we the family was no longer together after that he never took to her no according to anything I've been able to find %HESITATION yet you know this other records that show he he sought help from Jewish agency
00:34:52so whether he felt it was on safe to talk about that whether he felt he could get more help elsewhere %HESITATION and I you know I can only speculate about that %HESITATION and yeah I mean his records or mixture %HESITATION in a at one point he is declared
00:35:09Catholic silent %HESITATION you know that was his way of dealing with the situation %HESITATION but yes I mean it wasn't talked about and I realize now I look back was kind of like almost an embarrassing topic %HESITATION it's been very problematic to talk about all the way through
00:35:26I think it may even these days since it's now a conversation stopper but %HESITATION but back then there wasn't even the vocabulary you know the war was the war so we have a whole generation people use %HESITATION and Daniel Mendelssohn and Susan Faludi and the role taking back
00:35:50to find out as much as they possibly can from that period is secrets in silence and soon yeah yeah yeah you know I mean I mean I went three years of not really talking about that background too so I think it is you know it's not way back
00:36:11then it's an ongoing unreeling thing I think and of course people sometimes sell another Holocaust story or whatever but but %HESITATION it's not like it's been done actually complete it luckily I wasn't suggests no no no I knew you were okay no no I knew you were it
00:36:30was just sort of talking generally you know how that with this particular history sometimes people say you know do we really need more we know everything now but you don't say that about other parts of history do you you know %HESITATION no it's always to be revisited I
00:36:45think I will say I mean quite aside from that the whole row of the whole of pools I think that that this kind of trying to come to terms with one's parents is is as general meaning how yeah you know I find it incredibly poignant because you know
00:37:07you say the last time I spoke to my father I was a **** you would lose in nineteen sixty four the last time I talked to my father I was a **** now that's an extraordinarily poignant sentence and I think that an awful lot of people will say
00:37:21yeah that's a terrible thing to guarantee that the facts that's a fact and this is your way of reparation isn't yes I suppose so you yeah because I mean I always had sort of the whole thing is just a risk is me irredeemable tragedy and you can't do
00:37:41much about the past obviously but %HESITATION you can't do much about the past and I've always thought that that stash and that's that but you have sold to change my moon what is very interesting to note the %HESITATION it felt like you can engage with the pass it
00:38:03felt like you can change some things it felt like you can %HESITATION find the things let me think my daughter said at one point %HESITATION she was talking to her grandfather and she said you may have felt that you were a failure but you weren't because we're here
00:38:23you know %HESITATION there are those things that you can try to bring together in the face of all that loss and death and murder and tragedy %HESITATION it's not enough and you know it's never enough but it's something I guess the reserve rations that run three families as
00:38:42well the main the secrets and silences Norderney on your father's side your mother's father disappeared from Hannah life when she was very young and there are reasons he said why people are drawn to each other why war was a key week Catholic Gudrun to a Holocaust survivor a
00:39:00June ten years older than she was yeah %HESITATION will let you struck mate but they were both kind of in flight from their their own past she had the secrets and silences in her life she had a loss I mean it was obviously extremely different but you can
00:39:18imagine that as she was in a way the right person in a way that's not the right person because I think she understood about Santa Claus and I feel and it's been confirmed for me by gain reading other people Lawrence race you know the Holocaust the book hero
00:39:35and he's a broadcaster in England has interviewed many survivors and things and he he says it's a bit of a myth that they didn't want to talk about it some people didn't but he thinks those who did want to talk about it often got shut down people didn't
00:39:51want to hear it for various reasons it was too much to heart embarrassing how do you respond and my mother was a bit like that because the few occasions I can remember my father would say something out of the blue and we would look at them and ask
00:40:05questions and she was %HESITATION you know don't upset your father and what all kind of shut down so in a way she was the right person for him and that they they are both understood just living in the present and getting on with it but in a way
00:40:21maybe not because she read everything she could get her hands on about it but I don't know how much you ever talk to him about and maybe you need at that %HESITATION the book the book comes to you know and all these and as I said peaceful and
00:40:36but did you know that the book it ended I mean the must be things that you think well maybe I can find out more about that and more about this %HESITATION absolutely yeah I mean I'm happy because you know it was finished usually the publisher telling you right
00:40:53that deadline %HESITATION but no I mean it it's own growing because some yes there is so much more to find out and and things are still coming out you know what we are seeing things still come out so I'm not I'm taking a break from sort of obsessively
00:41:09googling obsessively looking at the moment but I will continue to look because the whole of my father's family and more so we know so little about we've got names in a few but scraps of information thanks to my cousin Joe Anna my late cousin job wonderful man who
00:41:26%HESITATION you know his mother was my father's out left and %HESITATION the twenty eighth and he %HESITATION met the survivors and knew them and knew the family what family information there was but the general story is but no one could get much out of their parents because it
00:41:45was too painful that was the that's just you know everyone's parents would cry soon %HESITATION you want it doesn't want to do that to people and I understand that now the business of re traumatizing by reliving you know that's very true I think it might be healing for
00:42:06some people it might be not healing brother people home so you'll be good to go but you're going back to Poland I would like to yes we have no immediate plans but the thing about this is that you've got to know a whole lot of people family and
00:42:21friends of family that you didn't know before yes it's been wonderful to reconnect well to connect with some family members %HESITATION we we knew we had some family in Mexico but there was no connection and I have some connection with them I'd love to to extend that and
00:42:38%HESITATION from this tiny little well it was it seemed like it was you know so few of us now at least there are a lot more of us and that feels quite hopeful to %HESITATION but yes I definitely want I don't think I'll ever stop looking %HESITATION and
00:42:54that it would be such a her dominance thing for you I mean I feel like you must've devotion awful lot of your time and life and if it's to this for a long time now yes yeah I think what happens is it's not like you make the decision
00:43:10it's just you becomes the thing you do it's like a spy slightly obsessive %HESITATION and %HESITATION I want to keep doing that but right at the moment that obsession isn't the sort of quite a strong because you know I have come to a place a place %HESITATION but
00:43:32I'm sure I will continue Diana which still award winning listen a journalist talking about him them while driving to Treblinka along search for a lost fila here is a song that his father was fondled the family just last year science as his grave in Ontario %HESITATION %HESITATION ma'am
00:44:09do do do this is the big day still being do do soon as all the dole was all we set out to the stand food food yeah yeah the mid life do you do dial stuff makes I still yeah then then they'll and does not done stage so
00:45:34the US owns the yeah yeah yeah as soon as the Melanie de tree with due due to leaks to me of inheritance too many dues do do leaks mia and have since you are in my hot lots of nice feedback for Diana which still and this one which
00:46:17says I do wonder about the many times your interviewee underlines that there are some nice people there involves a why do you think that is do you think that there may be a general idea some collective responsibility behind that the most people that are not nice somehow Hey
00:46:40it might have something to do with the fact that ninety percent of the Jewish population and Poland including nearly all of Diana which tools father's family limited and half of all Jews who perished in the Holocaust with from Poland do you think that that might have something to
00:46:59do with

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