Harry Novak Burial Site

This cemetery is located on the NE corner of the intersection of Highway 73/75 & 'K' Road, and is surrounded by a white wood rail fence.
"A great love affair with America began on July 4, 1927, when Harry came to Nebraska City by train. He wore a tag around his neck saying, 'Nebraska City', put there by the Cunard Ship Company in New York, as the young immigrant from Varaklani, Latvia, could speak no English. 'I would rather dig ditches in America than be a prince in Europe' would be his slogan from then on.
He lived first with his brother, Ben, and his wife, Dora, and their children at 1523 First Avenue. He went to the old Second Avenue School, although he was seventeen. He completed five grades in one year, helped by teachers; Misses Reynolds, Homeyer, and Stroble. In Europe he had attended a Russian Orthodox School until he was 13. He also attended Hebrew School there for seven years. In 1921, after the death of his father, Abraham, he started a small grocery store in Varaklani.
After leaving Second Avenue School, he went to Humboldt, Nebraska, where he dealt in scrap iron, used cars, and parts. He bought an old bed for five dollars and slept above the garage. Everyone else talked about the Depression, but to Harry, after Europe, and with few expenses, things looked rosy. He also bought and sold furs and hides.
In 1933, he sold the Humboldt place and returned to Nebraska City, where he joined brother Ben in the Chrysler and Plymouth dealership. That was the year before he went back to Europe to see his family. He could see the 'lights going out' there, and was able to get brothers Herman and Abe to America. In 1935, after Ben left for Omaha, Harry acquired the Buick, Pontiac, and GMC franchise, before the Holocaust in Europe. Eleven relatives perished in the Holocaust, including Harry's mother, Esther Diamond Novomisle, his brother, Henoch, and wife, sister, Lessa and spouse and six children.
In 1953, March 8, Harry and Norma Levin were married at Temple Bnai Jeshurun in Leavenworth, Kansas. Harry's love affair with America includes one with Nebraska City (he gave her city parking lot), the land, animals, his wife of thirty years, Norma (Nana), his dear daughter, Dr. Esther Novak, and his dear granddaughter, Rachel Michal Goldberger." (1)
Burials Listings: The following Novak family members are buried at this cemetery:
1.  Harry Novak: April 1909 - May 6, 1986
a. Hebrew translation:
Harry Novak
Channah Son of Abraham & Esther
Passed away 28th of Nisan 5746
*(Jewish calendar year)
Rest In Peace
2.  Nathan A. Novak: March 12, 1932 - June 8, 1988
a. Hebrew translation:
Nathan Novak
Nathan Aaron Son of Benjamin the Levite
*(Levites are the servants to the priests)
Passed away 23rd of Sivan 5748
*(Jewish calendar year)
Rest In Peace
Gravestone Photographs:  http://www.findagrave.com
Point of Contact:  If you desire more information about this cemetery, please contact the Otoe County Genealogical Society and we will provide you with as much information about the cemetery as possible.
Cemetery Photographs:
Works Cited:

(1) Novak, Nana. Otoe County, Nebraska, 1983: Otoe County History. [Nebraska City, Neb.]: Otoe County Historical Society and Otoe County Museum Society, 1983. 209. Print.

View Larger Map

Follow Us on Facebook

Genealogy Events

DO YOU WANT A DNA workshop ?- Let us know!!! We'll assist finding your connections using DNA!  Details coming soon - be sure to sign up at the Resource Room or Email us!


Don't forget to pay your 2020 DUES? 2021 is just around the corner!

Thank you for your continued support - we need your membership to maintain our special projects & research.  If you haven't - please go to the Membership page for membership form/address. Be sure to check out the Syracuse, Elmwood, Seward and many other area newspapers ONLINE !!  Links are provided to the left of this side bar.


 Meetings are the 3rd Saturday of the Month - watch our FB page and our website for details each month.

Hey, Members!!!  check out the Local Research TAB for Cemetery Databases updates!!!!


Resource room is always available by appointment - Contact Barb Wilhelm.  


 New Online information & research tips - see sidebar and local resource tab.

 Otoe County Newspapers - Syracuse & Nebraska City


This is a link to other states newspapers:


Various NEBRASKA Newspapers:




Seward Public Library also has Seward papers online:




Syracuse Museum of Memories - Looking for Volunteers.  They meet every Wednesday, 9AM.  Open every Sunday afternoon - May-October, else by Appointment.  See their page on our site for further details.