BALTIMORE – Holocaust survivor and educator Nesse Godin 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.
Godin was born in 1928 in Siauliai, Lithuania, to a Jewish family in a supportive Jewish community. Her parents often spoke to Nesse and her two brothers about the importance of community and caring for others.
In 1941, at the age of 13, Nesse’s childhood ended when her hometown was occupied by Nazis. Through the many trials and tribulations that followed, Nesse persevered and lived to tell the tales she promised to tell. In honor of the Jewish women who saved her life, Nesse is a passionate advocate for Holocaust education and awareness and has been a volunteer with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum since prior to its opening 20 years ago. She has also been sharing her message of hope with young women at American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation for many years.
“Nesse is a dear friend of the American Legion Auxiliary and one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met,” said ALA National President Janet Jefford. “Her stories are not easy to hear, but it is necessary that we remember the past, in order to protect our future. Nesse is living proof that hope and love prevail, and it is an honor to recognize her as the American Legion Auxiliary 2015 Woman of the Year.”
Established in 1984, the ALA Woman of the Year Award recognizes outstanding women who exemplify the values and ideals of the American Legion Auxiliary, particularly those whose contributions advance the quality of life for America’s military, veterans, and their families. Past Woman of the Year honorees include former Asst. Sec. of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs Tammy L. Duckworth, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Army Wife Talk Radio Host Tara Crooks, Patriot PAWS Founder Lori Stevens and USAF Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson.