Mr. Steres, a real life hero.

My middle school teacher Mr. Steres used to have a week during the school year where he would rearrange our seats, and have us sit in a different arrangement.


I remember because we all walked into the classroom, and instead of the parallel lines of desks, he had made about eight or nine islands made up of four desks each.


On the wall there were what must have been 50 or so names. 


Each name had a number on the side of it. The highest one probably being around 60 or 70 at most.


“Everyone please take a seat, where ever you like.” He instructed us, “don’t over think it.”


Once seated he took a moment to gather himself and get us to calm our “excitement.”


Mr. Steres was “famous” for doing this every year.


It was no secret what we were about to experience.


You see Mr. Steres was born an American Jewish Man in a post WWII world.


“Every year, as many of you know,” He began, “I change things up from the routine to share with you all a story that is very important to me.”


“I’m Jewish, as many of you may or may not know…” he joked, we laughed, and the mood was lightened. He was good with his words like that.


The tone from there on out was of course more serious.


He would stand alongside that chalk board every year, and tell us the story about how every name on that board was a member of his family which was murdered by the Nazi Party in Germany during the years that encompassed Hitler invading Poland and what the entire world would come to know as World War II and The Holocaust.


One of the younger victims, was a baby, having the word “months” written alongside the number meant to represent age at time of death.


He choked up when he got to the story of this child. 


I don’t know how many times He had told this story before having told us, yet we could all tell that the weight of the words which told this story were heavy on Him.


He would stop, and then explain to us all how in his journey towards learning the truth of his family history, he’d found the published journals of an SS Guard; this man who was in charge of loading Jews into cattle carts at one of the ghettos wrote the accounts that occurred on one particular day.


Mr. Steres, would then read to us, about how a woman was instructed to silence her crying baby of no more than a few months. Mr. Steres would stop mid sentence, having to compose himself.


The woman was instructed by an officer in charge to: “silence the baby.”


When the mother was unable to get the baby to be silent, the SS officer tells us, how is fellow officer pulled the child from their mother’s arms, and began to bash the baby against the floor of the “station” in which they were, while the mother and surrounding people stood and watched, helplessly wailing in horror.


“…Bashing the child, until the crying stopped.”


Mr. Steres told us that while he was never able to verify for certain that this child whose name was on the board was in fact this child from the SS officer’s journals, he had been able to confirm that his family had been in that ghetto during the time the accounts took place.




He took us on a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance , a Jewish Museum founded by Thee Great Eli Weisel, a Holocaust survivor himself, where we got to experience first hand recorded footage and artifacts donated to the museum, that told the stories of the 6 millions Jews, plus the many other victims of the Nazi’s rule over Germany during their attempt to make Germany the Greatest County of the face of the Earth.




Pain is perhaps the word I can use to describe the spirit that was introduced to me during that week, a pain I had never known before, and one that would continue to be the measure I’d use to measure the horrors that I saw in my present world.


Books like Maus I & II, Night, a particular book who’s title I’ve forgotten, about a US born Jewish boy who was caught in the middle of the Nazi’s hate towards Jewish people living in Germany and what he endured to survive, The Boy in the Striped Pijamas, and of course the story of Anne Frank became Lore which fascinated me!


How could people and the world watch as people were killed en masse and in such an organized and meticulous manner? Clearly the world had learned I thought, clearly we’d learned…




It’s been 28,634 days days since the end of Second World War. Yet, we haven’t learned yet. We haven’t learned to call out and identify the early stages of Fascism. We haven’t learned to stand up against organized hate and hate groups, both within and outside of our political systems, after all, remember that Hitler was elected into power.


75 years and counting since Fascism was officially defeated by Allied Forces composed of men and women from the USSR, Great Britain, AND the United States.


Many of the Holocaust survivors that are alive today were children when the Nazi’s began their campaign of hate and xenophobia towards Jewish citizens and anyone they deemed non-desirable. Gipsies, ernste Bibleforsher (Jehovah’s Witnesses) for being politically neutral, pacifists, and refusing to enlist in mandatory military service as well as for refusing to “Heil Hitler”, Political “Enemies”, as well as Homosexuals and Queer German citizens and those who the Nazi party deemed “unfit” or “handicapped” from their vision of the “Master Race”.




The last time Mr. Steres and I spoke was a few years ago, I was able to track him and get his phone number after calling the school and doing some investigating.


Mr. Steres was and continues to be one of my heroes, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. I can’t say I know if he had any enemies or people who opposed this man’s going against state school board’s instructions, to take a week from regular scheduled programming in order to teach his class about the horrors of The Holocaust, but what I will tell you is that I’ve learned in my short 28 years of being here is that America is Historically Anti-Semitic. 


When we finally connected He said he was happy to hear from me, and that his lessons had had such a positive impact on me.


He sighed heavily when we briefly spoke in regards to the parallels between Germany during the years that led to WWII and the world we live in today, both in the United States and other countries.


Fascism doesn’t seem to be as dead we had hoped it was. The worst part is the immeasurable levels of irony within the issue.


America, through Propaganda and Fear was Lead to Believe and Justify a war in Iraq. Wars in the surrounding neighbor-states, and eventually lead to elect Populist Candidates, who only fueled and gave way for far right leaning “leaders” and groups Internationally.


It’s as if Donald Trump and his “Proud Boys” and their Elitist Bullshit Narratives of “Manifest Destiny” and Heavenly Sovereignty lighted a carpet burn of hate down America’s Bible Belt as well as more “Conservative” States.


And don’t let that fool you into thinking that all of your state representatives are being honest with you either!


Blue States like California and New York, and Red States like Florida and Texas are riddled with Political Leaders who are even too greasy handed for old school gangsters and mafia bosses.


That’s when you know it’s bad! When even those guys are like, “Ah nah, yeah we don’t get involved with Those Guys!“


I'll get behind any leader such as the kid who couldn't be pigeon holed. 

The kid from Vermont who showed up for what he believed in.

Any kid from Chi-town who never gave up on his dream

And from California, I can only get behind the kid from Compton who speaks the truth. 


Everyone else is just banta fodder.