Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Thanksgiving story to behold

I’ve previously written of my heart transplant recipient friend and his gratitude because his heart donor gave him a second chance at life [1]. I was reminded of him by a story on the Jerusalem Post website in mid November. Titled ‘Canadian Shoah survivor reunites with Polish savior’, it tells of Holocaust survivor Sara Marmurek, 88, who was reunited with Wladyslaw Misiuna, 85, who rescued her from the Nazis [2]. They hadn’t seen each other for 65 years. (Their New York meeting was arranged and funded by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous [3], a New York-based non-profit organization which identifies, honours and financially supports non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.) Misiuna’s reunion with Marmurek (pictured) was timed to coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday. Their joint story’s one of heroic bravery almost beyond belief, coupled with rare humility: When asked why he did what he did, Misiuna said ‘I acted as a human…who was able to help and not only look at [the persecution] and walk away’. Marmurek said ‘I thank God that I have the opportunity to say thank you to him in person for what he did’. What a story. It’s redolent of an earlier meeting between other Holocaust survivors and their saviour [4]. How many people have their lives literally saved by one person, and can thank that person face-to-face? Not many, I reckon. Of course my friend couldn’t personally thank his heart transplant donor. But he’s thanked the donor’s family – which is the next best thing.

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