Lost Between Worlds: “The house that Edek built – and the secret suitcase kept inside.”


A friend wrote.

I saw this and thought of you. Such an incredible life story, and his technical ability to notice detail and legislate it into beautifully realized images in such appalling conditions! His ability to add high contrast details (the tire on the back of the jeep, for instance) – the unpainted highlights on the mountains – such an accomplished artist.

And an amazing life.

The house that Edek built – and the secret suitcase kept inside, by Monica Whitlock (BBC World Service)

When Edward “Edek” Hartry and his wife Teresa designed and built their family home near Woking, they created a daringly modern building full of light.

Their glass and timber home stood out among the red-brick Tudor revival architecture of stockbroker Surrey – simple, open-plan and translucent.

It was the 1950s. Young architects were in the vanguard of imagining a new, post-War Britain.

The Hartrys though had more reason than most to believe that life could no longer rely upon old blueprints.

They were both Polish by birth, making futures as naturalised British citizens after a war that had made a graveyard of their country.

Edward, known always as Edek, spoke perfect English. He didn’t talk much about the past, but that was not remarkable in that time and place.

He was busy with life, his children, his job, his sports cars.

Edward died in 1967, Teresa in 2002.

It was not until then that their daughter Krystyna found a small suitcase full of papers that revealed her father, his story and his art.

His daughter’s page is here: Lost Between Worlds’ by Edward Herzbaum

‘Lost Between Worlds’ is 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 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

When I ended 2017 by swearing off elegiac memories of history, I was only bluffing. They always will appeal to me, so I might as well continue indulging them. Thanks to W.