With the amount of people we meet on our tours, it’s no wonder we encounter many coincidences and surprises along the way — even, as I’ll reveal here, on a little heritage tour to Seduva.
It’s always interesting to meet new people and hear different family stories. Our guests often share how, over the past 100 years, their family members became dispersed all over the world. A recent client, Prof. Friedlender, recalled how his father was born in Šeduva, a small Lithuanian town, which today is not visited by many tourists. In the early 20’s, the whole family uprooted from Šeduva to USA–all but Prof. Fridlender’s father, who ended up in Argentina due to changing migration laws. My client the Professor himself was born in Chile and later moved to Israel.
Three generations of the Friedlender family were born across three different countries, in three different continents and have different mother tongues. This year, they met up for a grand family reunion. Out of their nine days’ trip to Lithuania, one was dedicated to Prof. Fridlender father’s hometown – Šeduva.
As part of our heritage tour in Seduva, we visited a memorial on the town square, the renovated Jewish cemetery and Holocaust memorials.
The day we visited, it so happened to be Prof. Fiedlender’s birthday. A crazy coincidence that’s just impossible to plan. Visiting the town where your father was born, on such a momentous day, you can just imagine how meaningful it is. But the incredible story continues…
A Chance Encounter
While our group is walking in the main square of Šeduva, we hear the police siren. A procession of government cars arrived in this small town and stopped just opposite to us. We were standing in front of the town hall building and look to see who it was. It was none other than the Chairman of Lithuanian Parliament, Mr. Viktoras Pranckietis. He greeted the staff of the municipality and the rest of the people waiting for him. Suddenly, he noticed us on the other side of the street and without thinking twice, walked across the street and start talking to us: “What language do you speak and where you are from ?” Asked Mr. Pranskietis.
The Professor answered: “We are from Israel, but we also speak English.”
“What are you doing in this town?” Mr. Pranskietis continued. Prof. Friedlender explained that his father was born in Šeduva, and that he wanted to visit and feel the place.
Mr. Pranskietis replied: “Then we have something in common, my father was also born in Šeduva and that is the reason of my visit today.”
After a short and nice conversation, Mr. Pranskietis wished us a nice trip and good luck.
What a nice surprise for anybody’s birthday, isn’t it? Tours continue to inspire me with these little miracles and experiences that jump out when you do not wait for them.
by William Zhitkauskas