Most Holocaust survivors who arrived in Nebraska had suffered unspeakable traumas under state-sponsored Nazi ideology and the Final Solution plan to purge Europe of Jews. As a result of this unprecedented systematic persecution, families were torn apart; homes and property were stripped from Jewish owners throughout Europe; and millions were murdered. Survivors who attempted to return home often met further antisemitic violence. Some found refuge in Red Cross Displaced Person Camps, sometimes reuniting with distant family members, or choosing life partners who had experienced a similar fate to their own.
Application processes to leave Europe took months or years and were often dependent on connecting with a distant relative in Israel or the United States for sponsorship. Bureaucracy impeded expediency which often included immigration restrictions. Despite these challenges, many Holocaust survivors came to Nebraska. Additionally, numerous Nebraskans who served as US troops became liberators of Nazi camps. They returned to the States to reacclimate following their harrowing service. These were individuals whose lives of tragedy turned productive within Nebraska communities. Hear their testimonies in their own words.