[Photo: Group on Seattle Holocaust Center for Humanity trip to Poland at the home of Eugeunuisz and Alina Stys (Standing in center back next to Joanna Millick). In front, lying on ground is Grzegorz Maleshewski)]
Dateline: June 27, 2018
I was in an outdoor vegetable stand on Beacon Hill buying my produce for Shabbat. The 90’s music was playing in the overhead speakers and my cart was overflowing with squash, corn, herbs, potatoes and other healthy things that would be turned into a wondering Shabbat meal. My cell phone was snug in my back pocket. It rang. I grabbed it from my pocket and saw the bright face of Joanna Millick.
“Joanna,” I said into the thin black box, “how are you? Are you in Poland?”
“Did you just call me?” She asked.
“No,” I said, “well, maybe I butt called you – sorry.”
“No, no don’t be sorry,” she said. “I am in Poland and I have so much to tell you. I am with the Holocaust Center tour and today we visited Treblinka and then visited with Eugeniusz and Alina Stys.”
This butt call led to so much amazing information that I am still taking it all in. Here is what Joanna told me:
The group visited Treblinka and met with the director of the Treblinka museum. Joanna was telling the group Sam’s story, and explaining that soon they would leave Treblinka and follow Sam’s scape route to the forest outside of Stoczek where he met Esther. Upon hearing this, the Director asked if he could come along with the group.
“Sure,” Joanna said, “we will meet Eugenuisz and Alina Stys and see the barn and the forest pit where Sam and Esther hid.”
The Director came along and heard more about Sam and Esther. He heard that Sam was the supervisor of the Treblinka laundry during his imprisonment there. He then said –
“Oh, we just did some additional excavations at Treblinka and we located where the laundry was. Do you want to go back to Treblinka? I’ll show you the location.”
Joanna explained that they could not go back, as they had a full day ahead with the group, but she agreed that after the tour is over and the other Washington State residents fly home, she would come back to Treblinka and he could show her where the laundry was located.
Wow – that is amazing, right? When I get them, pictures will be shared.
Ok, there is more. The group was gathered in the now familiar living room of Eugenuisz and Alina Stys to talk with them about Sam and Esther and how the Stys family risked their lives to help hide these Jews. You may recall that Eugenuisz’s family did not receive the Yad Vashem Honor of Righteous Among the Nations, only Helena and Aleksander Stys’s family received this honor. So, the Seattle Holocaust Center decided to award Eugenuisz a Certificate of Honor for his whole family for helping Sam, Esther and Chaim during the war. This is such a beautiful gesture and I am so grateful to the Holocaust Center for doing this. Really.
[Ilana Cone Kennedy of the Seattle Holocaust Center for Humanity awarding Eugenuisz Stys a Certificate of Honor]
One more tidbit: One of my dreams for my book is to get it translated to Polish. Well, thanks to Joanna, I may be one step closer to fulfilling that dream. Joanna was discussing my book with the Director and told him that it will be published in October. He seemed genuinely interested in helping get it translated into Polish and published in Poland. I would so love to get a Polish translation of this book into Eugenuisz hand’s while he is still well enough to read and enjoy it.
Well, that’s the news that’s fit to print.