Eric Pratt had the opportunity to meet Stephen Nasser at Northern Arizona University and buy My Brother’s Voice. He was so moved by the story that he has written a review and asked us to share it with all of you.
I was recently blessed to read My Brother’s Voice, a memoir by the Holocaust survivor Stephen Nasser. This is a difficult time period to read about, let alone write about, so I was impressed with Stephen Nasser, also known as Pista, to share an experience from his life in which he was like any other person thrown into the worst of circumstances. The unique experience that Stephen Nasser shares with the world from his time in the Jewish concentration camps differs from all other memoirs, in that Nasser tells his story of not only survival, but also of hope and humanity.
At the beginning, he shares the anxiety of a thirteen year old boy as the state of Hungary is transforming under the rule of the Nazis. The Nasser family sustained him and each other through these hard times and particularly his brother Andris supported the young Pista. The friendship and brotherhood that he forged with Andris was so well illustrated that I understood what it was that allowed him to survive through the worst horrors that Hitler’s henchmen could bring about among the Jews.
I was particularly impressed with Nasser ’s ability to find humanity in even the most difficult memories. It seemed that Nasser recognized the existence of humanity even as he recounted the evil SS beating his malnourished and younger self. Nasser bears no grudge against the German people. Yet he understandably shudders in disgust against those that he refers to as “bullies”, the Nazi SS and Gestapo. I am grateful for men that showed mercy and love to this fourteen year old boy when he expected not to live through the worst of the ordeals that occurred during his experience.
As Nasser finishes his story, I was touched with his miraculous recovery, his return to Hungary after the war, and his story of first love. Nasser learns the lesson of freedom, as he shares of his emigration to Canada as the Cold War escalates.
My Brother’s Voice is a reminder that even in the worst of times there exists humanity, wit, humor, hope, and the hand of Providence . I think that there are many Nassers looking down upon Pista with pride. He defied the Nazi’s with his determination to survive, to live a normal life, and in doing his part to make sure that these events happen never again.
Thank you Mr. Nasser, for writing this memoir, and visiting so many to share your sentiments on this important part of your life.
Eric T. Pratt