Nesse Godin was born on March 28, 1928 in Siauliai, Lithuania. There, she spent her childhood with her parents and two brothers until the Nazi invasion. When she was 13, the Nazis invaded Lithuania, leading to Godin becoming separated from her family. She is a survivor of the Siauliai Ghetto, Stutthof Concentration Camp, four labor camps and a death march. She has dedicated her adult life to teaching and sharing memories of the Holocaust. Nesse has the ability to translate the Holocaust into a personal glimpse of this enormous and horrifying drama
In 1950, she and her late husband, Jack, also a survivor, came to the U.S. and settled in Washington, D.C. Nesse is the proud parent of a son and two daughters, and seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
She has appeared before a variety of audiences including the Naval Academy, West Point Military Academy, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy, as well as numerous schools, universities, churches, synagogues, civic groups, and teacher conferences. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is fortunate to have Nesse Godin as a member of the Speaker’s Bureau.
Nesse is president of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington. She is also on the Board of Directors and a founding member of several Holocaust survivor groups. Nesse served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and is on the board of the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Community Council, and many other worthy organizations. She participated as a speaker for the Capital Children’s Museum of Washington, D.C.
Numerous awards and honors have been given to Nesse including the Myrtle Wreath by the Hadassah Council and the Chaim Solomon Freedom Medal by B’nai B’rith Argo Lodge. She has also received the Woman of Valor Award by three different organizations: B’nai B’rith Women, Na'amat USA, and Amit Women Birah Chapter.
In 1990, the Maryland Commission on Women chose Nesse as one of the Unsung Heroines of the State of Maryland. In 1991, 1993, and 1999, Nesse was honored with an award from the Department of Defense and National Security Agency for her work on the Holocaust Days of Remembrance.
Special recognitions were awarded to Nesse in 1993 by the Commission on Children and Youth. In 1994, she was Honored by the Girl’s Probation House of Fairfax, Virginia.
In 1995, Nesse was recognized by the Fort Myer Military Community.
In 1996, she was honored by Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Richie, and Fort Meade for her dedication to teach the Holocaust.
In 1997, 1998, and 1999, Nesse was honored with awards by the Quantico Marine University.
In June of 1997, Nesse received the Distinguished Service Award by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington.
In gratitude for sharing memories with the students of James Madison High School in Virginia, an Honorary Degree was bestowed upon Nesse on June 17, 1997.
In 1998 and 1999, Nesse received awards from the Department of Energy and Uniformed Services University of Health and Sciences.
On November 15, 1998, Nesse Godin was presented the Elie Wiesel Holocaust Remembrance Medal in recognition of her dedication to remember the victims of the Holocaust and for teaching the consequences of hatred to both children and adults.
In 1999, Nesse was presented the L’Chaim/Celebration of Life Award by the State of Israel Bonds in recognition of her dedication to teach the Holocaust.
In 1999, she was honored by the U.S. Army Concepts and Analysis Agency, Montgomery County Police 2nd District, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Devonshire Alternative School, Marine Corps University, and others.
In 2000, Nesse received awards from the United States Department of Energy, National Naval Medical Center, Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, United States Coast Guard, and Andrews Air Force Base.
In December of 2000, Nesse was presented with the Rodef Tzedek award (Seeker of Justice) by the United Synagogue Youth Organization
In 2001 Nesse was recognized by the Fort Belvoir Equal Opportunity Program for her participation in the Days of Remembrance observance.
On April 12, 2001, the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College presented Nesse Godin with an honorary degree for her dedication to the teaching and sharing of memories of the Holocaust. That same day, the State of Maryland proclaimed a Nesse Godin Day every April 12th for her dedication to teaching and sharing memories of the Holocaust in Maryland.
In 2002, Nesse was the keynote speaker for many Days of Remembrance programs such as the Naval Academy Class of 2002, American Legion Boys Nation, National Center for Cold and Coldwater Aquaculture of the Agriculture Department, Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and many more.
In 2003, West Point Military Academy presented Nesse with a saber in recognition of her dedication to teach what hatred can do. She also was recognized by Fort Campbell and other worthy organizations.
In July of 2003, Nesse was made an honorary Citizen of the Boys Nation for her dedication to teach what hatred and prejudice can do.
In 2004, Nesse spoke to many agencies and groups for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In January of 2005, Nesse was guest speaker for the United Nations. Nesse received a certificate of appreciation from the Goddard Space Center where she gave a presentation.
In 2006, Nesse was honored by Fort Belvoir for her dedication to humanity. She was one of the speakers at the rally on behalf of the people of Darfur.
In 2007 Nesse was honored by several Catholic schools, the American Legion’s Boys Nation and Girls Nation, many universities, and military academies such as Fort Gordon and Bolling Air Force Base.
Nesse has received many awards this year she was guest speaker for the United Nation Assembly
March 23rd 2011 Nesse was honored by the American National Legion for her dedication to teach Humanity what Hatred and prejudice can do.
In 2012, the National USA Vocational Training Scholarship by Nesse Godin on December 2012
In 2014, Fort Meade Honored Nesse Godin on April 12, 2014 with Appreciation for the work she has done with Holocaust.
In 2015, Nesse was the recipient of The American Legion National Commander's Public Relations Award. In a letter to Godin, National Commander Jimmie L. Foster wrote, "You were selected to receive this honor because of your outstanding work in ensuring that Americans never forget the Holocaust and the sacrifices made by so many during the darkest days of the 20th century. Your outreach in print, broadcast and personal appearances continues to remind all of us - particularly young people - that freedom is a precious gift that must be guarded with vigilance and resolve. Additionally, you have inspired countless young people with your personal accounts during American Legion Boys Nation and American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation."
In 2015, Nesse was named the 2015 American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year for her tireless efforts in educating our youth of the lessons learned through the Holocaust, why we should be proud Americans, and to always love and care for one another.
On September of 2015 Nesse Godin an award from the US Holocaust Museum for her 25 years of dedication of doing volunteer work.
On October 26, 2016 U.S. Navy officials from the US Naval Academy awarded a special tribute to Nesse Godin, in a beautiful ceremony for an amazing and angelic woman who has helped so many people.
Nesse’s life story has appeared in numerous publications such as the Washingtonian Magazine, Scholastic News, Gazette, Pentagram, and Washington Post. Nesse has appeared on many television and radio programs, such as “In Memory of Millions” by Walter Cronkite, “Beyond Hate” by Bill Moyers, and “Tolerance in America” on A&E. Nesse’s testimony appeared in the “Liberation Exhibit” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She appeared on the History Channel in “Holocaust: The Untold Story.”