Last week, Nancy Sasson, an American looking for her roots, arrived to Lithuania. According to her, her grandfather or even great-grandfather lived in Panevėžys, so Nancy, with her local friend Vaida Zlatkute, whom she had not seen for eighteen years, and a guide Edvardas, who came from Israel, started their journey in this region. They were warmly welcomed by Genadijus Kofmanas, a chairman of the Jewish Community of Panevėžys. “A sincere, warm person, who has done so much for the benefit of the Lithuanian Jewish community”, – said V. Zlatkutė.
Edvardas and Genadijus invited the guests to a tour – they showed the places important to the Jews, told in detail the history of the Jews of Lithuania, their contribution to the country’s culture and the painful loss. Nancy listened excitedly to the stories while walking the streets where her ancestors may have walked. “We were impressed by Genadijus’ dedication to the Jewish community, the archives he collected, the initiative to bring people together, the monuments built to mark important places, cemeteries, his love for Lithuania and his passion for life,” V. Zlatkutė shared her impressions. – I was happy to hear how Genadijus values the friendship between Lithuanians and Jews. And how much unfinished business and future plans this community and its chairman have!”
The women tell that they have learned a lot about the Jewish community and this part of Lithuanian history. They were presented with a symbol of friendship – a special bread matzah, which was baked for the upcoming Pesach holidays. Nancy hopes to return to Lithuania and find information about her ancestors.