Montag, 17. März 2014

Taking notes

By Pawel Sawicki

Taking notes is the heart of the journalist profession. At least one of many hearts, since proper and careful listening and asking questions with childish curiosity are another important hearts.
Today we listened to a story of Jan Bocian, who was imprisoned among others in Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen camps. It was interesting to see how people take notes simultaneously. Pens kept spinning all the time. And this is very important. On the other hand I find this picture a bit humorous, since in the world of new media, digital technologies, when we are surrounded by computers, tablets and other gadgets, a pen and a piece of paper are still the basic equipment of a journalist who wish to preserve some of the words he listens.


(c) Pawel Sawicki

I could also watch the struggle for getting words out from Jan Bocian. The translation did not help him to speak freely, but I also had an impression that finding the right words was not so easy for him. The questions were asked, but they were sometimes not answered. He was a person that preferred to stay with the facts and not reach for emotions.
What I remembered, were two things. 

Jan Bocian was asked about his attitude towards German language. He said he did not mind the language, but he also shared a story of his mother. He said that just before the war started he asked his mother about Germans and if they were going to take them away. She answered him: I was born in Germany, I went to school there and the time then were better than now. Jan Bocian was raised in this spirit. After the war her mother said: "These were not the Germans I was brought up with. These were different Germans". Sometimes sentences have great power and this is certainly one of those sentences.
And one more thing - a questions was asked about how he got the strength to survive. The question that calls for a profound answer. Yet Jan Bocian said: "I don't know. I don't know why I survived".
This is another sentence that hits you hard because it shows us how powerless we - the journalists - are sometimes when we are faced with experiences we cannot really grasp or understand. Sometimes we are simply powerless and helpless because some things simply cannot be told and some questions will not get the answer we want. Or maybe such answer is the most logic and proper one?

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