Nesse Godin

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Nesse Godin (Galperin) (born March 28, 1928 in Šiauliai, Lithuania) is a Lithuanian American Holocaust survivor.[1] She has dedicated her adult life to teaching and sharing memories of the Holocaust. Nesse is known for the ability to translate the Holocaust into a personal glimpse of this enormous and horrifying history.

Early years[edit]

1933-1939[edit]

"My family was very religious and observed all the Jewish laws. I attended Hebrew school and was raised in a loving household, where the values of community and caring always were stressed. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, we heard from relatives in Łódź that Jews there were being treated horribly. We could not believe it; how could your neighbors denounce you and not stand up to help you?"

1940-1944[edit]

These were the years of German occupation in Lithuania, as well as numerous other places and regions throughout Europe.

"On June 26, 1941, the Germans occupied our city, just four days after the invasion of the USSR. In the weeks that followed, SS killing units and Lithuanian collaborators shot about 1,000 Jews in the nearby Kuziai forest. In August, we were forced to move into a ghetto, where we lived in constant hunger and fear. There I witnessed many “selections,” during which men, women, and children were taken to their deaths. My father was among them. In 1944 as the Soviet army approached, the remaining Jews were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp. There I was given the number 54015."

1945-1950[edit]

From Stutthof, Nesse was transported to several camps, and was sent on a death march in January 1945. In the cold winter weather and with little food, many of the prisoners died, freezing to death. On March 10, 1945, she was liberated by Soviet troops. As she was still a young child then, she was given a random minder, but soon afterwards she got re-united with her mother. In 1950, after spending five years in the displaced persons camp in Feldafing, Germany, she and her husband Jack (also a survivor), along with their two children, Pnina and Edward, moved to the United States and settled down in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Later years[edit]

In 1954, Nesse and Jack saw the birth of their third and final child, Rochelle. Holding blue-collar jobs, Nesse and Jack worked hard and diligently to support their family, which included Nesse's mother, Sara. She has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Advocacy/Awareness speaking and volunteering[edit]

For the past 40-plus years, Nesse has been a busy individual, speaking about the Holocaust to domestic and international audiences. She has appeared before a variety of audiences including the United States Naval Academy, United States Military Academy, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the United Nations General Assembly, numerous schools, like Seneca Valley High School, Robinson Secondary School and Bluffton High School, universities, churches, synagogues, civic groups and teacher's conferences.

Nesse is on the Board of Directors and Founding Member of several Holocaust Survivor groups. She served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and is a board member of the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, and many other worthy organizations. Nesse is Co-President of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington and she's participated as a speaker for the Capitol Children's Museum of Washington, D.C. [1]

Nesse has earned numerous awards and honors for her speaking.

Present day[edit]

Nesse currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, Jack. She volunteers weekly at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and continues to speak out against the horrors of genocide, violence, and hatred.

"Why I Volunteer:"

As you know I was a prisoner from the age of 13 to 17. I lived through a ghetto, concentration camp, four labor camps and a death march. I was not strong, I was not smart, I was a little girl. I think that I survived the Holocaust by the grace of the Lord above and by the kindness of Jewish women that gave me a bite of bread, wrapped my body in straw to keep me warm, held me up when I was hurt by the guards, gave me hope, but also asked me to promise them that if I survived I would not let them be forgotten. Remember and tell the world what hatred can do. I feel that the USHMM is fulfilling my promise that I made to those women that did not survive. I am proud to be a devoted volunteer in our most wonderful institution of education as I call our USHMM.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zuckerman, Bruce (2009-05-24). The impact of the Holocaust in America. Purdue University Press. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-55753-534-4. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 

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