by Stephen Nasser, Holocaust survivor
In 1944, the Nazis took 13-year-old Nasser and 21 members of his family to the Auschwitz and Muhldorf Concentration Camps. Pista, as he was known, was the only member of his family to survive. (He witnessed the horrific murder of his aunt and baby cousin.) His remembrance of his brother, Andris, telling him to live helps him through his ordeal. His memoir My Brother’s Voice is a moving account of his experience. From page one, we read of horrific treatment, first by average Germans, including schoolmates, and later by Nazi soldiers. Something that I’ve never read in a book by Holocaust survivor is about the difference between common German soldiers—who are trying to give the victims a chance to survive—and the sadistic SS soldiers who are working hard to insure their deaths. Chapters about the struggle for survival are intertwined with chapters about Nasser’s life and family before the death camps.
Pista had a small Boy Scout knife, and he used it to carve little figures which he then traded for food and pencils with the German Wermacht. He used cement bags as paper and bound pieces together with wire. Thus he had a diary. Though this diary was lost when Pista, unconscious and seemingly dead, was pulled from a pile of bodies in a boxcar, he rewrote his memories, and from these, he tells his story in this book.
Nasser will be speaking to history classes here at COHS on Tuesday, Feb. 22. If you would like to buy his book and have him sign it, you may. He will have copies (hard cover $21, soft cover $15) to sell. (If you pay by check, make it out to Stephen Nasser.) The book is also available on Amazon. Ms. Waddle has also purchased several copies for our library which can be checked out by anyone with an Ontario City Library card, including students.
For more information on the Holocaust, check The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.