"I was speechless"
David Greenberg, New York
David Greenberg radiates warmth and humor. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, he is a proud husband, father and grandfather. His story is one of tragedy and triumph and, ultimately, how one man’s quest to uncover the past reunited a family divided by fate and history.
During World War II, David’s grandfather left most of his family in Kovno (today Kaunas), Lithuania. He began a new life as a milliner in Brooklyn. With the Holocaust and the Iron Curtain, family ties were cut and relatives left behind were believed to have perished. jHis search for answers about his family’s past began 40 years ago, before the advent of the personal computer.
In 2009, David began putting all of his notes online. He began by creating his family tree on MyHeritage. Almost instantly, he received a notification through MyHeritage of a family tree match with another user, indicating they were related.
After 70 years of believing his family left behind in Europe had died, David discovered they had, in fact, survived. David was able to connect with Gregori, a second cousin in Lithuania, who sent a photo of David’s grandmother confirming the connection. Tears of joy were shed on both sides.
“The great thing about a family tree is that it brings people together – it’s not just about filling in boxes about the past. It’s for the sake of the present and our posterity.”
His continued journey to the past has revealed the lives, personalities and achievements of his ancestors. One such discovery was that his great aunt was a pioneering engineer in Lithuania – responsible for building some major bridges that stand today on the Niemen River in Lithuania. But the greatest value to David of building his family tree and searching the past is the bridges that it helps build in the present.
“Now we’re sharing this close, intimate history and will be able to pass it down from generation to generation”.