Beth Ann Hull's Winning Essay

The Love for Humanity: Irena Sendler

“Motivated by a love for humanity.” This simple, yet powerful phrase was used by Tony Harris, a composer, to describe Irena Sendler. Sendler secretly risked her life during World War II to save innocent Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. By smuggling children out of the ghetto, Sendler saved 2,500 lives. Even after being sentenced to death, but graciously saved, Sendler returned to saving lives without a concern for her own life. Irena Sendler’s good deeds were not exposed by her own doing, but discovered by students in America just a few years ago. Sendler demonstrated throughout her life the importance of doing good even when evil surrounds you. She did good without desiring for others to praise her; she did it for her love to help, save, and do what was right.

Though Sendler was a silent leader whom very few knew about, she was an overwhelmingly large influence towards those around her who did know the truth. In life, one’s courage is measured by their life choices and what they do for those around them. Sendler inspires me to never be afraid to do what I feel is right, even if it risks my life. Our lives are short and by helping those around us who are in need, one will know what they are doing is truly good.

In 2005, I was furthering my education in Holocaust history when I heard Sendler’s story. I was struck by my own lack of volunteering, and I knew I could do more for my community. Though the organizations I became involved with were not nearly as risky as Sendler’s, they still touched many lives. From tutoring in elementary schools four days a week to teaching for free at my dance studio, I desired to touch lives at just thirteen years old. I learned from Sendler that even though people disagreed with my devotion to tutoring underprivileged elementary students and teaching at a nonprofit dance school, the knowledge and skills those children gained were more than enough to keep me dedicated.

In a much deeper way, Sendler has inspired me to teach societies how they can have a positive impact on genocide prevention. Over the last year I have developed an organization called Realcaust. Realcaust teaches about the Holocaust, and other genocides, and how they started with a small dislike towards a group and grew to a massive issue. Realcaust also stresses the importance of continuing to teach about genocides in school, since many schools are beginning to leave this issue out of curriculums.

My devotion to make sure no one forgets about the genocides that have occurred is strengthened by Irena Sendler’s awe-inspiring story of dedication to the saving of human lives. Human life is precious. Teaching about the past and educating about what one can do to reach out towards those in need will save lives now and in the future. Irena Sendler, a true lover of humanity and doing what is right, has inspired my love for humanity.