Boatlift – An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience

“He who saves just one life, saves the world entire.” (From the Talmud)

Students,
Using the documentary as a starting point, please respond to the following prompts:

What makes a hero? Simply put, how would you define the word hero?
Are heroes born or made?
What are some common attributes that you associate with heroes?
Can anyone be a hero?
Please tell about a point in the story that moved you in some way. Be specific.

Do you believe that one person can make an impact on the world?
Do you believe that a single person can change the course of history?

Taking all of these questions into account, please tell us who is a hero to you. (No family member or friend)

Two well-crafted paragraphs

“I am not a hero.”
Miep Gies died in 2010 at the age of 100. She and her husband hid Anne Frank and her family in the secret annex in Amsterdam to avoid German persecution during the Holocaust. This is an excerpt from an interview Miep Gies did.

TERI SCHULTZ: Miep Gies said she did not like being called a hero. Yet, she risked her life many times over to help the Frank family during the two years they hid from the Nazis in a secret annex built into the Trading Company office in Amsterdam where she’d worked for Otto Frank almost a decade.

Providing refuge to Jews, she noted later, carried a punishment of at least six months in a concentration camp. Still, the Austrian-born Dutch woman, knighted by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands, recipient of a medal from Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, always insisted she had done nothing extraordinary.

Ms. MIEP GIES: I, myself, I’m just a very common person. I simply had no choice. I could foresee many, many sleepless nights and a life filled with regret if I would have refused to help the Franks. And this was not the kind of life I was looking for at all.

SCHULTZ: Gies explained another motivation for emphasizing her modesty. She said if people are allowed to think it takes remarkable qualities to act boldly on behalf of others, few will attempt it.

Ms. GIES: People should never think that you have to be a very special person to help those who need you.