Threatened by their Nazi occupiers, in 1943 the Danish people organized a national effort to send 7,200 Jews by fishing boats to neutral Sweden. This effort by the citizens of Denmark resulted in the highest Jewish survival rate of any European country during World War II. The Danish citizens provide a unique example of courage and concern; jeopardizing their own lives to spare those of their fellow countrymen.
Our objective is for students to understand the importance of moral courage in connection to the Holocaust and how they can apply this to their own lives, communities, and even conflicts a world away. Each student can work to make a positive change in the world.
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The contest is open to high school students in Nebraska and parts of Iowa. Top essayists can earn cash prizes. Students are asked to write about an individual or group that demonstrates moral courage:
Moral courage is…
Essays must incorporate three concepts:
1. Include a clear definition of moral courage.
2. Choose two examples of moral courage: one from the Holocaust, the other from a different time and place.
3. Explain why this matters. What should we do now with this information.
The essay, when used as a classroom assignment, can address multiple Nebraska State Standards in reading, writing and social studies.
If you are using the Essay Contest as a class assignment, the Essay Prep & Research section can be completed as a class, or assigned to students to complete on their own.
Essay contest objectives include:
1. Analyze moral behavior and become better educated about contemporary moral issues
2. Understand prejudice and discrimination, and the harm they inflict on society
3. Better understand their connection to the Holocaust
4. Learn how to work proactively to ensure that history will not be repeated
5. Develop useful research skills