Nesse Galperin Godin
Born: 1928, Siauliai, Lithuania
Describes seeing her reflection in a mirror upon liberation [Interview: 1995]
Uh, let me tell you how I saw myself a few days after liberation. I have not seen myself in a mirror for almost two years. A few days after we were free, the Russians carried us, bodily actually, to the village, put us in little houses, until the makeshift hospital was made. And as I was laying in one of those houses on a straw sack, I saw a door with a windowpane. And I thought, I'm free, let me look outside how the free world looks." But as I looked through that little window pane, I saw a reflection. A reflection of the most horrible thing that anyone can imagine. A skeleton covered with skin, with big blue eyes. And as I turned around to look whose reflection I saw, I realized that was my reflection. This is how I looked.
Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in 1950.