Jewish Health

Marcel - Interview 33


Brief outline: Marcel was diagnosed with Crohn's disease aged 20. Several years later he had surgery to remove part of his lower bowel.

Background: Marcel is married with two children. He was born to two Holocaust survivor parents and runs Jewish Heritage tours. Ethnic background/nationality: Jewish.

Audio & video

Marcel was born to two Holocaust survivor parents and feels this has greatly affected his life. He began to have severe stomach aches during his late teens and was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He was put on medication and told he would probably need an operation at some point in the future. Nearly ten years later, the effect of the medication had worn off and Marcel began to experience terrible pain. This continued for around five years and Marcel described how he couldn’t enjoy food during this time and lost a lot of weight. This was very difficult for his parents to deal with as food was very important to them.
Marcel underwent surgery and had half of his small bowel removed. While the effects of the surgery were painful, Marcel’s stomach ache had gone for the first time in ten years. He began to eat again and now, nearly thirty years later, he takes no medication other than occasional supplements.
Soon after the operation, Marcel became compulsive about running and ran in many big city marathons, including London, New York, Berlin, Paris, raising money for Crohn’s disease research. The constant running led to problems with his hips and a hip replacement operation which has meant Marcel has had to give up sports which he has found very disappointing. 
Marcel has become very interested in Poland and has set up a company organising Jewish heritage tours. He is very proud to talk about his parents’ past and how it has affected him. While his family call it an obsession, Marcel describes how he is still trying to come to terms with the Holocaust and understand how it could have happened. 



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