A story of liberationby Jim Bickal, Minnesota Public Radio
Tomorrow, Minnesotan Patrick Dewane will present a one-man play at the Minnesota History Center called "The Mushroom Picker: A Family Story about World War II."
It's part of the History Center's ongoing exploration of Minnesota's Greatest Generation.
The play is based on a memoir written by Dewane's grandfather, Matt Konop, and discovered after his death.
It tells the story of one man's remarkable experiences during World War II, which Konop never talked about while he was alive.
Patrick Dewane says his grandfather Matt Konop was born near Green Bay, Wis., in 1906, in tight-knit community of Czechoslovakian immigrants and their descendants.
"Those people, my people spoke Czech for 50 years in this country before they learned English," said Dewane.
As a result of his upbringing in that insular community, Konop was fluent in both English and Czech when he joined the Army shortly before the U.S. entered World War II.
As a lieutenant colonel, Konop saw quite a bit of combat duty in Europe. Near the end of the war, his division led the liberation of Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation.
Konop played an integral role because of his Czech background and fluency in the language. The play, "The Mushroom Picker," recounts Konop's experiences during that time.
MPR's Jim Bickal spoke with Patrick Dewane about his grandfather's story.
- Morning Edition, 04/25/2008, 6:50 a.m.