On a Mission: Veterans post commander seeks family of man who penned WWII letter
A Clifton Veterans Post commander is on a mission to find the family of a veteran who sent a letter to his family around Christmastime nearly 80 years ago.
Pfc. Walter Berezansky sent a letter to 75 Sargeant Ave. on Dec. 21, 1944. It never made it to its destination and that address is now a lot behind Public School 13.
“Hopefully, we can find a family member to this letter,” says Kevin Gorman, commander of Athenia Veterans Post.
The letter was addressed to Berezansky's mother, Mary Berezansky, but was never delivered. It sits unopened 74 years later.
"During Normandy, it was one of the worst parts of World War II, and you get a letter around Christmastime. So hopefully it's a good letter saying Merry Christmas to the family and hopefully it's good news. I got the chills right now,” says Gorman.
Gorman received the letter from someone who got it from an antique dealer in Somerville and was told that Berezansky died in 2016.
In searching for someone from the Berzansky family, Gorman reached out to Clifton Councilman Ray Grabowski for help. The councilman lives a block away from the Sargeant Avenue address.
Grabowski spoke with neighbors who still remember the Berezansky family.
"Well according to the Ciroca family, they were a nice family. They were a big family. Back in those days, neighborhood was everything. They said they were friendly with all the neighbors, everyone got along in the town. Apparently a very nice family, so hopefully the letter said something really nice to them,” the councilman says.
Opening up mail addressed to someone else is a felony in the United States. But even if it wasn’t, Gorman – who keeps the letter in a safe in his home – says he will keep the envelope unopened.
Gorman says that he has some leads and that he has traced some possible family members to Garfield and Sparta, but hasn’t been able to reach out to them yet. He may use town directories to track them as well.