Letters from Gelvan - A New Development
Many of you may remember "Letters from Gelvan" which I shared with you a few years back about twenty-two Yiddish letters written between 1909 and 1925 from my Grandfather, David Peretz, in Gelvonai, Lithuania, to my father, his son, Morris Adelman, in Cleveland, Ohio. My father who could not or would not ever share the contents had asked to be buried with those letters. Instead of burying the letters with him, these letters were rescued and translated in 1973, and as a result our family learned of an amazing history and discovered that our grandfather, David Peretz, was murdered in Gelvan in 1925.
Then, in a fast forward, an unexpected new development came about in September 2005, when I made the acquaintance of a young non-Jewish woman named Valeria. Providence brought her into my life when my son hired her to be a household helper. I soon learned that she was born in Lithuania, her mother still lives in Kaunas and her Aunt lives in Gelvan! When she told me she was going to visit her mother and aunt, she offered to bring me back some pictures of Gelvan. She was gone for two weeks and on her return had several pictures for me.
A few were of a Jewish cemetery in Gelvan, including a memorial to victims of the Holocaust.
Jewish Cemetery in Gelvan
Gelvan Holocaust Memorial
There were also three shots of headstones. I looked at the latter briefly before placing all the pictures in my desk drawer. A month later while packing for a trip to Phoenix to visit my two cousins whose mother, my father’s sister, was also from Gelvan, I remembered the pictures and took them out of the drawer and perused them once again.
This time I noticed that the picture on one of the tombstones was slightly legible. As I stared at the picture three letters jumped into my eyes: Daled, Vav, Daled - David!
I labored over the next word and finally my primitive Hebrew made out the word "Peretz" - and the largest letters indicated the last name ANDIMAN. I was in total shock. Although we were known in the United States as Adelman my grandfather used Adiman - Andiman - Eidiman so we were never sure of the actual surname. For 80 years no one in our family had ever known about the existence of this cemetery or our grandfathers final resting place. We all assumed it could not have survived. This astounding development I call DIVINE INTERVENTION.
David Peretz Tombstone
After much consultation we believe the stone reads:
Pay Nun - Here lies
Our beloved rabbi
Son of Yosef Moshe
Tishrei ?? 568? [October 22, 1925]
May his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life
This was revealed to me on October 24, 2005, eighty years later!
This amazing discovery of the intact resting place of David Peretz brings final diginity to the remembrance he deserves.