Nov 2020 - 2 Min read

My Grandfather Lost a Lot During WWII, but He Never Lost His Kindness

Mr.B Copywriter Moderate Millennial

A granddaughter discovers the true kindness of her family member after he was gone.

Growing up, I always thought my grandfather was the kindest man alive. Probably all kids feel that way, but I'm almost certain in my case it's true. 

I remember my excitement when grandpa came to town. While grandma came bearing gifts, he came full of laughter and stories. Needless to say, it’s the latter I remember. He was warm, joyful and yes, kind. It wasn’t till after he passed that I learned just how kind he was.

A Paper Trail of Generosity

I was in college when he died. My mom took over the estate to manage the finances and take care of my grandma. The process was bumpy, to say the least, but among the grief and piles of paper were years and years of kindness.

While getting his affairs in order, we learned a lot about what my grandfather did with his free time and spare funds. First, there were the donations: tens of thousands of dollars in monthly contributions donated to his church and other organizations. 

Then came the stories. After the funeral, my mother reached out to one of his lifelong friends. Naturally, he had some tales to share. A lifetime, it turns out, of stories about my grandfather’s generosity. Among other things, he talked about how my grandpa always, without fail, stopped and gave change to homeless folks when their paths crossed. A small, consistent gesture that speaks volumes about his character. 

Among the grief and piles of paper were years and years of kindness.

His Journal Told a Larger Story

Concentration Camp

It was the journal, though, that really cemented his memory for me. Among his possessions was a collection of stories detailing his extended family, his parents and his childhood. A childhood in Warsaw. In the ‘30s and ‘40s. 

The whole of the collection is a reflection of his unfailing kindness and positivity, but there are a few excerpts that stand out.

On working as a messenger for the Jewish Community Council:

“I obtained a job as a messenger boy for the Jewish Community Council delivering notices that peoples’ requests for clothing and shoes were denied. Of course, nobody ever expected to get anything from the Germans but the notices had to be delivered—German efficiency above all. Only much later I found I was the only one who bothered to climb all the stairs. All the other messengers simply dumped the notices in the garbage.”

On parlaying his messenger job into something much more important:

“Taking advantage of my job with the Jewish Community Council, I found a job in a factory manufacturing flight vests for the Luftwaffe. This made me, and to some extent the rest of my family free from deportation.” (That’s deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp, by the way.)

On living in hiding after leaving the ghetto:

“The living conditions were very difficult for me…But even in this hardship, sleeping in [a shared bed] with the ever-present bed bugs my will to survive did not die.”

I could go on. There are pages and pages dedicated to his family, celebrating their accomplishments, their talents and their determination to survive. 

Family Isn’t Always Perfect

Seeking Human Kindness

You learn a lot about your family as an adult. Parents lose their filters (or at least mine did) when talking about relatives, and many of those pleasant childhood memories lose their shine. But those of my grandfather remain untarnished. 

He’s been gone for many years now, but we’ve never lost his spirit. I’m reminded of his kindness and his positivity daily. I only hope to do his memory justice.

Mr.B Copywriter Moderate Millennial

Discover Themes

Going Places

It's about time we all got out of the house, wouldn't you say?



This should be fun. We’re talking NSFW fun, okay?


Head Space

Chances are you’ve been on your own rollercoaster ride with mental health recently. The Doe is here for you. 

Mental Health

Common Ground

The environment is a constant in the news, but even more so of late. Climate change, the Australian wildfires and, of course, the spread of a global, animal-borne disease have most of us thinking about our planet in unfamiliar ways.


Game On

While the sporting world has been rocked by the pandemic, it looks for a major rebound this spring: March madness, indeed.



Some folks have family trees that go back generations, others don’t know who their birth mothers are. No matter what, the human desire to know where one came from runs deep.


Hi, Society

Okay, so how many movies did you see in the theater last year? And live concerts? Yeah, that’s what we figured. And yet!

Pop Culture

And Beyond

The year is 2020. Science and technology influence everything from day-to-day tasks to our health and longevity. And yet an ocean of advancement still awaits. The question is, how do we dive in?

Science and Tech

What's Good

To say this year has sucked would be an understatement. But amidst the hot dumpster fire that is 2020, we're looking for a silver lining.

Acts of Kindness

State of the Union

It’s perhaps the most contentious and consequential election in modern American history: As Biden and Trump square off, The Doe jumps into the debate.


The System

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Portland. Chicago. Lafayette Square. As cities across the United States grapple with protests, unrest and rebellion, The Doe takes a deep dive into justice and the system.


Subject Matters

Reading, writing and arithmetic ain’t what it used to be a decade ago—or even a few months ago.


What She Said

It’s difficult to articulate what it's like being a woman. Hell, even the spelling of the word is cause for discussion (we see you, womxn).


Four Letter Word

Love: A lot of songs, poems and multi-volume treatises have been devoted to the subject. So, in these strange days when we could use it the most, what’s left to say about the strongest of human emotions?  Plenty.


On the Record

We’re very proud of our particular and deliberate themes at The Doe. They cover a broad range of topics, ones that we feel are crucial to discourse in the world today. But still!