‘The Wound That Never Healed’ by Jozef Lojko 1999
Interviews, transcriptions, editing & production: Swami Tantramurti Saraswati
I met Joe through a mutal friend. She had heard Joe was getting upset and had got rather stuck with his book. My role in previous publishing and book-writing projects had come to his attention and he was keen to meet me. Joe was a funny, serious, kind and spirited man, grateful for every day on earth. No wonder every day was a plus for him when I heard, bit by bit, his wartime experiences and how he was lucky merely to be alive, let alone happily married with fine children and grand children. His experiences, when narrated and shared had a cathartic effect on releasing Joe’s suppressed and traumatic memories.
I visited his house in Washington Street many times as I teased the story from him, was quite when he needed to immerse himself in the most traumatic memories, empathised when he cried or was silent. We shared a tipple that Joe made specially for our interview sessions, Vishnyufka (please excuse the Polish spelling) – a cherry infused vodka. I must have earned Joe’s trust because the recounting became easier as he gave his testimony and I felt very privileged to be working with such genuinely moving material. One day Terry, Joe’s wife, took me aside and remarked; “He’s telling you things he hasn’t been able to tell me in forty years of marriage. Thank you.”
Joe’s sister had always supported Joe’s aspiration to share his experiences with his large family – to leave behind a milestone in the family’s folklore and history and she funded the printing of a run of books. My congratulations to my dear old friend, from his ‘Stefan the Writer’. Joe’s no longer with us – gone to join the choir invisible. I hope the angels budge up and give jolly Joe a seat at the drinking table and he can tell them tales as they all get slightly squiffy on Vishnyufka and sing old Polish folk songs. Blessings dear brother.
KIDDERMINSTER SHUTTLE 1999
An author is to donate proceeds from his book to a hospital as a thank you for treatment.
Joe Lojko, who wrote the volume about his experiences as a prisoner and fighter in the Second World War, will give £500 to Kidderminster Hospital.
The 82-year-old, originally from Poland, has undergone two operations at the hospital and said he “didn’t need the money anymore”.
“It’s a good hospital, well-run and friendly, and they need the money,” added Mr Lojko, of Washington Street, Kidderminster.
The retired sales manager published ‘The Wound That Never Healed’ in 1999, 40 years after arriving in the town.
Two hundred copies of the book – which was on sale in Kidderminster after its publication – will be available in shops in both Kidderminster and Stourport by the end of the month with £2.50 of the £3 price going to the hospital.
It tells the tale of Mr Lojko’s treatment at the hands of both the Red Army and the Nazis, which included capture, torture, escape and recapture.
He saw many friends killed and the wartime years were so traumatic it took him 14 years to write the account.
“I was in floods of tears and on the third day after I started writing it I collapsed. My doctor told me to go slowly. I still can’t talk about it.”
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
“This is a truly moving and beautiful book which, once read, cannot be forgotten! Above all, it is a memorial and tribute to the triumph of the human spirit over the most extreme evil and terror. This book demands to be read – and anyone who takes the time to read it will come away inspired and reinvigorated!” (Councillor Mike Oborski)
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
It’s bad enough that scars tend to be permanent and sometimes painful in fiction. The really unlucky, however, get something even worse: a wound that won’t heal at all, and remains open and raw long after it ought to have healed. This usually happens for supernatural or highly symbolic reasons. Either the wound was made by something powerful enough to prevent healing, or it was received as the result of treachery, cowardice, or evil so potent that the recipient of the injury must go on paying for it indefinitely. Either way, normal medical care simply won’t do the job. The wound will have to be somehow purified of its taint, and the symbolic meaning behind the injury will have to be somehow rectified, before the sufferer will stand any chance of being healed — if that’s even possible. The really unfortunate can never be healed, and go on bleeding for the rest of their lives (tvtropes.org)