Stephen Nasser is among the few Holocaust survivors still alive to tell of the mass genocide carried out by the Nazis in a rash of crimes against humanity. The Budapest, Hungary-born Jewish man gave a presentation at Pine View High School on Thursday, sharing personal accounts of persecution and torture.
It is important for the rising generation to learn of the long-standing anti-Semitism that caused the death of an estimated 6 million Jews during World War II so they do not fall prey as victims to history repeating itself. Even now killings are carried out in Darfur, Sudan, and, some would purport, in Palestine and in the underground obliteration of Iraq's Assyrians - all in the name of ethnic cleansing.The youth of today need to realize that these atrocities began with hatred arising from basic discrimination and superficial judgments passed on person because of his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/nation of origin, financial status or physical or mental disability. The humiliation of a peer for wearing something "lame" or one person's exclusion of another from a particular entourage because that person is deemed uncool are examples of discrimination to which most teens can relate. That's where hatred begins, so it is clear that residence in America provides no immunity from more heinous forms of segregation, not even once these kids leave the hallways of their schools. Such discrimination continues on college campuses, in corporate offices and in some households of the American family.
According to Hate Crime Statistics, published by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 7,163 criminal incidents involving 8,380 offenses were reported in 2005 as a result of such blatant biases. Only tolerance can change the rising tide of hatred with an understanding of how deadly hatred can be. That's why it is significant to remember the Holocaust as a unique monstrosity, distinct from any other. It is the prime example of hate, amplified and unleashed without constraint or regard for human life.
Nasser did the youth a favor by enlightening their minds to the mistakes of the past. It's a lesson adults would do well to learn themselves.