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A Documentary in Progress

For the dead and the living we must bear witness. For not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories—                                                                                            Elie Wiesel

Why We Went?

This is the story of a woman, Ilana, whose passion was to find out what happened to her Grandfather after WWII. His name was Gustav Gedaly. He and his wife and daughter (Ilana’s mother) were rescued from the Holocaust thanks to the actions of a righteous gentile. However, after the War, Gustav was deported to Siberia by Stalin, never to be seen by his family again. Ilana promised her mother that she would find out why.

Ilana and her family traveled to the Ukraine on 2009 to attend a plaque unveiling in honor of the righteous gentile Dr. Traian Popovici, who rescued her mother and grandparents and 19,600 Jews from probable death in a fascist killing field known as Transnistria.

She also searched the Soviet era archives and found evidence that her grandfather was wrongly accused of being an enemy of the Soviet State, and was exiled to Siberia, never to be seen by his family again.    

Stones to Czernowitz (Finding Gustav)

Synopsis of our Documentary Film

In addition to attending the plaque unveiling for Traian Popovici, Ilana and her family exposed the evidence in a Soviet era archives in Czernowitz, that proved her grandfather had been wrongly accused of being an enemy of the Soviet State.

They also found the graves of their ancestors in an overgrown but intact cemetery, and placed stones on the graves of their ancestors.

Coincidentally, Ilana’s husband who traveled with them, found the grave of his great -great grandfather who was also from the same town! 

This coincidence is helping to tell the story of Gustav Gedaly and Traian Popovici. Ilana and Scott and their family have teamed up to create a documentary that tells the story of these two important figures in their life stories.    



Dr. Traian Popovici was the Mayor of the Town of Czernowitz which was part of Romania at the beginning of World War II. Through shear intellectual acumen and courage, he rescued 19,600 Jews from deportation to a fascist killing field known as Transnistria. In 1969 he was honored by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel, as being among the Righteous Among Nations for his heroic actions.  Yet inexplicably, very few people have ever heard the name of Traian Popovici.