Holocaust Survivor Shares Horrors of War with Tri-City

By Hannah Kendall

On Wednesday, March 5, Stephen “Pista” Nasser, Holocaust survivor and author of My Brother’s Voice, came to Tri-City to talk about his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. In 1948, when Nasser was thirteen, he and his family were taken from their homes and put into the Auschwitz camp. Now, at 83 years old, Nasser travels the world, talking to all who are willing to hear his message of hope.

The audience was silently captivated as Nasser described his childhood, family, and the Nazi’s brutality towards the Jews. Out of his entire family, Nasser was the only survivor, and he witnessed the deaths of many, including his aunt, cousin, and brother. There was a respectful reverence in the room as Nasser recounted his time in Auschwitz, and depicted nightmarish scenes of brutality.

While in the concentration camp, Nasser kept a diary made from the cement bags of the construction sites he had to work at. He wrote in it faithfully, however, the diary was lost during the Jews’ liberation. When Nasser was in a hospital he recreated the diary, and during his speech, Nasser showed a replica of the journal that a school made for him.

Halfway through his lecture, Nasser stood and showed the audience his shirt. On the front, the shirt said “Never Again” and on the back it had the number 11 million. He reminded the audience that standing together as a nation can prevent something like the Holocaust from happening again. That as a people, we need to stand against prejudice, bullies, and injustice.

At the end of his presentation, Nasser showed a picture of America with the words “Remember Freedom is Not Free.” The audience joined hands, and, with Nasser, recited those powerful words. Reminding the audience to never repeat history, Nasser then opened up the time for questions.

Nasser’s emotional and passionate message resonated deeply with all who attended the assembly. As a student, I am grateful that Nasser is willing to share his intimate and personal experience with Tri-City. The Holocaust has always seemed distant and unreal when learning about it in class. Yet in speaking with Tri-City students, Nasser made the horrors of World War II a reality.

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