Holocaust Survivor, Author, and Playwright Visits Sierra Vista Middle School
Posted on 02/02/2015

Voices of excited anticipation filled the room as 8th graders of Sierra Vista Middle School selected their seats for a special presentation last week. After he quietly went about setting up his computer and projector, the very unassuming Mr. Stephen “Pista” Nasser spoke to students for nearly an hour sharing stories from his childhood when he was a young boy held in a concentration camp by whom he called “bullies.”  Not a stranger to public speaking, his presentation at Sierra Vista marked his 910th lecture on his childhood experience.

Mr. Nassar was only 13 years old when he and 21 members of his family were ejected from their family home in Hungary with only a small suitcase each. They were herded into a boxcar bound for Auschwitz; four days later they arrived.students watching He recounted the stench of the boxcar after the long journey but said the air on the train smelled better than the air at Auchwitz which was dense and gray with the soot from the creamatorium, which ran 20 hours a day, seven days a week.  Shortly after their arrival, Mr. Nasser and his brother Andris were separated from their mother and never saw her again.  Stephen and Andris were loaded onto another train and forced into hard labor at a work camp at Muhldorf in Bavaria. 

Mr. Nassar was the only one who survived the ordeal and was liberated by the Americans in 1945. He kept his story quiet for 50 years until after the death of his uncle in 1997.  As a captive, young Nasser witnessed the brutal death of his aunt and her infant son, he kept this information from his uncle who was able to escape to ordeal as he was serving as a Hungarian soldier.   

never againStudents sat in rapt attention as Mr. Nassar shared photos and stories from the ordeal.  He spoke of his brother who shared a bunk with him at the concentration camp and how one day he was unable to work as his body essentially shut down, Nassar held his brother in his arms as he died. 

After his presentation, Mr. Nassar stood with students and held hands as they repeated the words “Never Again.”  Many of the students in the audience had been studying the holocaust and read Mr. Nasser’s book, “My Brother’s Voice,” prior to his visit.