After meeting Miep Gies, this student concludes that she is her/his new hero. Miep told the students about hiding Anne Frank and her family and, later, trying to bribe the officers into letting them go after they were arrested—a bold move for which she was almost killed. This student’s friend cried during the entire session, as these discussions about the Holocaust have reminded him of all the people he has lost to gang violence. Her/his friend then stood up and told Miep that she was his hero, to which she retorted that this group of students are the real heroes. This student feels joy and pride in knowing that they are indeed the generation responsible for transmitting Anne Frank’s legacy and messages of peace. S/he concludes that, after this meeting, her/his hero is not a fictional character, but a real person.
Meeting Holocaust survivors does not only teach students about history and the importance of respecting all cultures, but also inspires these young people to live courageous lives in which they are engaged with important social issues. Instead of reading about Anne Frank in a textbook, these students feel personally involved in her story and commit to spreading her positive message. These meetings also provide the students with adult role models on whom they can rely for inspiration and guidance. This allows them to trust, in a very concrete way, that individuals can indeed bring about change.