For decades, a piece of history was tucked away inside a satchel at a Denver condo. They're papers that documented a Colorado man's survival of the Holocaust.
Jerry Lista passed away last year after a year-and-a-half battle with Alzheimer's. His family shared the newly discovered documents - recounting Jerry Lista's journey as well as other topics - with 9NEWS in March.
We stayed in touch with the family since then and went with them to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. When explaining the reasoning for donating them, his family said that the Holocaust is "the most important to know and not ignore."
The papers' journey has now stretched more than 1,600 miles from Denver and spans more than seven decades. They led Jerry Lista's family to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. to donate documents found just weeks before he passed away.
“It's been around since the 1940s,” said David Torres, showing the satchel the documents were found in. Torres is engaged to Jerry Lista’s daughter, who found the documents.
Since the satchel was made, Jerry Lista celebrated nearly 59 years of marriage, settled in a new country, became a father and then a grandfather. All the while, these papers were tucked away at home, detailing his time in Dachau.
Included in these papers are Jerry Lista's written account of being shot by the SS.
“He had a wooden leg from the day given to him to the day he died,” said Torres.
“He was a wonderful dancer, even with his amputee,” said Judy Lista, his wife.
There are also documents that marked the day he was liberated. While his family knew right away these papers and photos had to be preserved, coming to D.C. also became a chance to honor his wife, Judy. She and her immediate family escaped before much of her family was taken.
"I lost my aunts and uncles, my grandma," Judy Lista said.
A loss she shared with her husband.
"All the memories came back to him and he used to cry about it," she said.
“He saw his brother-in-law pass away from starvation,” said Sharon Lista and Torres.
Their family wasn’t able to properly honor many of their loved ones until now. The museum said they're committed to scanning photos of loved ones and putting it up on their website so there is a physical memory.
While Jerry Lista's family came to D.C. to honor him, his daughter told 9NEWS that it feels likes such an honor to cherish his memory in this way. They believe he would appreciate this journey became bigger than him.
“God forbid it can happen again and we have to be prepared better than we were at that time,” said Judy Lista.
A big a part of this journey was Jerry Lista’s family piecing together their family history.
Sharon Lista has been trying to track down more information about Jerry Lista's sister and her husband who was imprisoned with her father. They had no idea when they went upstairs to the museum and entered into a world of records they didn't know existed they would start finding answers.
The final installment of their journey will air Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Channel 20 and at 10 p.m. on Channel 9.