1. Nessy with father and brothers before the war
2. The family of Nessy before the war
3. Nessy and her brothers
4. Nessys' false papers
Born: 1924 Pöszeiten, Lithuania
Survivor: Kovno ghetto
"My five friends and I made a commitment to each other in the ghetto,"
says Nessy Marks: "Whoever survives must teach and tell the others. I
am the only survivor, and I have kept my promise."
Lithuanian survivor Nessy Marks, her parents, and her four brothers
were relocated to the Kovno ghetto in October of 1941 after Nazis
occupied their town. What she remembers the most is betrayal by
others: "Lithuanian Jews may have had a chance, but the locals-police,
neighbors, it didn't matter- if you were Jewish, you were reported."
"It was also a loss of all humanity," recalls Nessy. "We walked in
fear, wore stars on our clothes to identify us as though we were
criminals...our heads were so confused. You knew you were not dead but
you were literally not really alive." She thinks about the children in
the ghetto: "They would come in and murder the children for one
stupid, made-up reason or another. Every day you lived in fear."
Nessy's parents decided the only way to make sure she would survive
was to place her in hiding. "I was slipped away and was hidden with a
Catholic family for a few months. Rumors came to me that my parents
were murdered and I wanted to return to the ghetto but my foster
family wouldn't let me."
Nessy answered an employment ad seeking domestic help. Fluent in
German, she took the position, but was warned by someone who guessed
she was Jewish that bounty hunters were after her and would turn her
in to the Nazis. Within days, she was offered safe transport to a farm
in northern Germany, where she remained until liberation in 1945.
Volunteers from the Jewish community travel to school and civic
organizations to share the video, "What I Remember," the personal
stories of Nessy Marks and Bluma Shapiro, two Holocaust survivors who
have local ties to York. Following the video presentation, discussion
and a question and answer session help audiences understand the
content and the importance of the message of remembrance.