Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in 1950.
I tell you what I looked like. I weighed at liberation 69 pounds. I'm not a very short lady. I don't know how tall I was at that time, how much I grew during the war, when, uh...I am five four and a half now. Can you imagine 69 pounds? My face was swollen because I was beaten up severely on the death march. My hands had frostbite. My toes were black from frost. I had one dress, a blanket that was wrapped around my body. Between the blanket and the dress, my body was wrapped around with straw. Somehow we found straw on the ground and we tried to insulate ourselves with it.