Over the next two days, he tore small pieces and ate them on the sly.
When I told the story to a group of eighth graders today, they all laughed.
"Was it a gift from Heaven?" I asked.
The Nazis rode in tanks and jeeps alongside the march. One probably thought it'd be funny to toss the food into the crowd and watch the Jews fight over it.
It wouldn't have been the first time Monek witnessed Nazis take pleasure in torturing the Jews.
Monek was lucky. The roast beef's trajectory led straight to him.
I can trace my own existence back to that piece of meat, which sustained Monek and gave him the energy to keep going.
I am inspired by the younger generation's activism as they say #NeverAgain to needless death.
Monek was compelled to tell his story to show the darkness we're capable of when hatred goes unchecked.
I'm incredibly moved by the response to this thread, as well as the amount of people sharing it. I just got off the phone with my grandfather, or "Poppy" as we call him, and he was in tears when I told him how many positive responses his story is receiving.
I've also been receiving a lot of DM requests for more material, and I will post the links here.
The good news is Poppy’s health is stable!
I'm headed out to meet Poppy for dinner, where I'll read him many of your wonderful comments and DMs. I have tons to still answer, and I promise to get to them soon.
On a related note, please read this and contact me if interested!
It includes stories of my grandfather, but it's mostly about Marion Pritchard, a brave Dutch rescuer who had a lifelong commitment to activism.
I have learned and grown so much from writing about and absorbing Marion's story. Thank you, Margaret, from the bottom of my heart!
Many have inquired about Poppy's health. I asked him if I could write about what's going on and share it with the world.
"Of course," he said. "As long as you tell the truth."
It's not an easy truth to tell. I'm hoping some can relate.
He is scheduled to get an esophageal stent on Wednesday, but he's reluctant.
If anyone has experiences you'd like to share about esophageal stents—good or bad, personal or of a loved one—please DM me.
It would be helpful for him to hear and to inform the decision.
"Mission accomplished" is what he's been saying lately when taking stock of his life.
I will read him all replies and DMs. Thanks to everyone for your support ❤️
Even though he was waiting for some painkillers to kick in, he smiled and nodded at each.
“Beautiful,” he said about one.
“I’m proud,” he said as I was reading.
I told him it’s incredible his story has touched people all over the world.
When the rabbi visited, Poppy pointed to me and said, “Historian.”
The end of his journey is near. I will make sure we never forget what he survived.
I'm truly grateful for everyone's support. You've shared your and your family's stories, and they've all become a part of me.
I hope Poppy's story has become a part of you.
Today, historian @lukaspolomski organized a ceremony at the memorial at the same time as Poppy's funeral to celebrate his life.
Thank you, Łukasz.
When we left, it began to drizzle on an otherwise sunny day. Poppy said it was "tears from Heaven."
I wonder if it rained today.
Nevertheless a few kind souls persist.
My friend Beata’s family visits the memorial on all Jewish & Catholic holidays.
It was a celebration of his life, full of laughter and tears, with friends and family from near and far.
Here’s the way I remembered Poppy—with a promise to never forget.