Eighth-grade students at Edmund W. Miles Middle School received a first-hand lesson about the Holocaust from survivor Stephen Berger.
Born and raised in Debrecen, Hungary, Mr. Berger was 16 years old living with his parents and younger sister when Adolf Hitler and his army invaded Hungary and set up a temporary ghetto for Jewish Hungarians. Mr. Berger, along with his parents and sister, were forced from their home into the ghetto and then sent to the Strasshof concentration camp. Separated from his father, Mr. Berger, his mother and sister were sent to a slave labor camp in Vienna, Austria.
Suffering from a lack of food, medical care and numerous beatings from his Nazi captors and collaborators, Mr. Berger and his family survived these brutal conditions until liberated by the Russian Army in April 1945.
Upon his return to Hungary, Stephen sadly learned that 26 members of his family had perished at Auschwitz. In December 1945, Mr. Berger and his family immigrated to the United States.
While sharing his inspirational story and experiences, he cautioned the students about the harmful effects of discrimination. Following his presentation, Mr. Berger answered questions from students and took time to meet with them individually.