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Personal Testimony

Nesse Godin is a survivor of the Siauliai ghetto in Lithuania, the Stuffhof concentration camp, four labor camps, and a death march.

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“My name is Nesse Godin. I’m not a speaker, I’m not a teacher, I’m not a lecturer. What I am, is a survivor of the Holocaust. I am here with you, you wonderful educators, for one reason only. It’s to share memories. I do so you would learn ... you would understand ... you would know the truth and you would never ever allow atrocities like the Holocaust in humanity again.”

Nesse Godin is a survivor of the Siauliai ghetto in Lithuania, the Stuffhof concentration camp, four labor camps, and a death march.

Dedicating her adult life to teaching and sharing memories of the Holocaust, Nesse has appeared before a variety of audiences including the U.S. Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy at West Point, many federal agencies and military communities, schools, churches, synagogues, and civic groups. It has been said that Nesse possesses the “unique ability to translate her Holocaust experiences into a personal glimpse of this enormous and horrifying drama.”

Nesse is co-President of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington and is on the board of directors and a founding member of several Holocaust survivor groups. She serves on the board of the Jewish Community Council, United Jewish Appeal Federation, and many other organizations. She participated as a speaker for the Capitol Children’s Museum of Washington, D.C. and is an active member of the Speakers Bureau of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

She has received numerous honors and awards. The Maryland State Commission on Women chose her as an “Unsung Heroine” of the state. Nesse is the recipient of the prestigious Elie Wiesel Holocaust Remembrance Medal, recognizing her for her dedication to remembrance of victims of the Holocaust and for teaching young people and adults what hatred can do.

Her life story has been featured in numerous publications and she has appeared on many television and radio programs, such as “In Memory of Millions” with Walter Cronkite. She was featured in “Beyond Hate” with Bill Moyers and “Tolerance in America” on the Achievement Channel.

Nesse has traveled to spots as remote as Monument Valley, Utah, where she shared her memories with the Navajo people, and to Hawaii for the Museum. Her audiences, ranging from prison inmates to police officers, from sitting federal judges to newly naturalized citizens, always hear a message of hope.

Born in Siauliai, Lithuania, Nesse lived there with her parents and two brothers until the Nazi invasion. In 1950, she and her husband Jack, also a survivor, came to the United States and settled in the Washington, D.C. area. They are the proud parents of two daughters and a son, and have seven grandchildren.