On March 11, 1925, Heinz Stephan Lewy is born after a miraculous pregnancy and an arduous labor to a German mother and Jewish father. As Stephan grows up within a strict home environment, everything changes the day his mother suddenly dies, leaving Stephan and his socialist father in dire circumstances. Soon, Stephan’s father has no choice but to send the six-year-old to an orphanage where he knows he will be safe.
Stephan, who feels his identity has been ripped away, bravely attempts to accept his new home. With help from new friends, Stephan eventually adjusts to life in a dormitory where he must share a bathtub with other boys, eat awful food, and assume daily chores. As he immerses himself in Judaism and matures into a young man, Stephan embarks down a remarkable path where he must overcome a multitude of challenges that include escaping Nazi Germany to America, facing the horrors of World War II as a member of the United States Army, and reconciling his painful past in order to make a difference in today’s world.
The Past Is Always Present is the true story of Stephan Lewy’s life, his coming-of-age journey through war and peace, and how he continues to use his experiences to enlighten modern youth.