"We were very fortunate: in one village (…) the oldest inhabitant recalled my family members"

I spent a remarkable day with Jakub, exploring two small villages near Ilza ( Radom province ) in the hopes of finding information about my ancestors and their lives.

Jakub is a consummate professional with excellent English who is knowledgeable about the villages and their history. Throughout the day he shared his knowledge of the region’s past and provided the essential context for help me understand his answers to my questions much more deeply. His company had done meticulous research preparing the groundwork so that we knew where to go and what we were looking for.

We approached a great many strangers, hoping that they might have information or memories to share. Jakub’s combination of respectfulness, seriousness, humility and sensitivity allowed him to gain their trust and draw them into conversation. We were very fortunate: in one village where my ancestors were the only Jews, the oldest inhabitant recalled my family members, invited us in for tea and cookies, and took us to the exact piece of land my relatives had lived on.

It was a rich and rewarding day—my only regret was that Jakub was not available for an additional day or two.

Shelley Tepperman, writer, director - Montreal, Canada