Charger Time Travel: CHS Welcomes Holocaust Speaker Stephen Nasser


Lauren Martires

As the 8th period bell rings, a flood of students fills the Clark theater awaiting the introduction of a very special guest. Dr. Robbins, the primary organizer of this event, takes control over the room and hands the mic over to Stephen Nasser, one of the few Holocaust survivors who still tours and speaks at various schools.

Displaying a photograph of his family home in Hungary, Mr. Nasser begins his story by noting that he is the only living member of his family after being captured by the Nazis.

“I was age 13,” he said. “I was 13 and I wrote this diary in concentration camp.”

This diary contained all of his experiences in the concentration camps, similar to the accounts of the famous Anne Frank. Holding up a similar example of the original diary, which was lost in the liberation, he briefs the students of a particular conversation with his brother.

In this conversation, he was prompted by his brother to take in his surroundings – sons and daughters who’ve lost their parents, parents who’ve lost their children – and be thankful that he is in good health.

“I have no one to go home to and that shook me up,” he said.

Clark High School serves as a home to many who have no real home outside of school. Looking around the theater, many Chargers’ faces were covered with expressions of sympathy and compassion. Despite the age gap, the students and Mr. Nasser have one thing in common – they are able to achieve their dreams in the midst of adversity.

In the midst of the chaos, Mr. Nasser held close to one beacon of hope – his brother.

“I want you to promise, after liberation – if you have the chance – share this diary with people and share with the youngsters and let them know how important family life is,” his brother said.

Keeping the love of his family in his heart for decades since they passed, he was able to muster more courage than any survivor could ever imagine and channeled all his energy into impacting young people’s lives. Mr. Nasser has toured all over Europe and America, lecturing and inspiring students and teachers alike and ultimately keeping his promise to his brother.

The prominent message Nasser sends to his audiences is that the Nazis were bullies.

“Bullies are the crumb of society,” Nasser said. “Bullies are misinformed youngsters who don’t think for themselves and would like to have a little fun.”

After making this striking comparison, Nasser prompted the Chargers to reflect on the way they treat one another. Ultimately, surviving the bullying of the Nazis allowed Nasser to see how easy it truly is to take one another for granted and mistreat one another.

Nasser did not realize the gravity of his impact on students until one student told him that they would have committed suicide had they not listened to his lecture.

Lastly, Nasser challenges each Charger to express their love for their family and friends.

“Through my eyes you can see my soul. Everyone in my family got killed by bullies. If I could hug by mother, my brother, my father again… but I can’t because they were killed by bullies,” he said. “When you go home, listen to your heart and tell your grandfather you love him because that is the greatest present you could give them.”