LARAMIE, Wyo. (April 15, 2021) – This morning, Steven Hess, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to students at Laramie High School via Zoom in an event that was set up by social studies teacher Mr. Stucky.

Stucky has been in contact with Hess ever since he watched one of Hess’s speeches while working late one night at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Stucky found Hess’s email at the beginning of the presentation, and he started a dialogue. The two have been in contact for a while before setting up this event.

“I told him about our Holocaust class, this is the first year we’ve offered it,” Stucky said. “I made a proposal to the board last year, and it was accepted. So, I was telling him about my class, and he said he’d be happy to give a presentation. It’s very fortunate to have such an unbelievable person and witness to share with the kids.”

Hess was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and has a twin sister, Marion Ein Lewin. His parents were German-Jewish refugees who fled from the Nazis. During his talk, Hess gave background on what happened to him and his family during the Holocaust, what it was like as a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen, and answered questions from students.

During the question and answer session, Hess said he hopes that the most important thing students take away from his talk is that when you see evil, you have to rise up against it. He also mentioned the value of human life, and that kindness is something he encourages among the important themes of his talk.

“In my class, survivor testimony is a big part of what we do within our curriculum,” Stucky said. “There’s just so much more validity in hearing it from those that experienced it as opposed to me as a teacher who studied it. My hope is they’re getting the messages that Mr. Hess shared with us at the end: you have to stand up against evil when it’s present, be a good person, be kind, and have tolerance.”

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