15th Annual Eva Lassman Memorial Writing Contest

"When Character Matters: Preventing Genocide"

By Mercedes Sarah, middle school winner of the Seattle Holocaust Center for Humanity 2017 Art Contest



Describe the character traits of the "Righteous Among the Nations" which stood out to you and explain why. What character traits do you personally have that would enable you to intervene when you witness injustice in your own life?


(1) Using the references provided, learn about the Holocaust and about several of the Righteous Among the Nations.

(2) Submit a written entry of up to 1000 words by Sunday, May 2nd.



The Holocaust was the most extensive planned and executed genocide in recorded history. In 1933 Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. They cultivated long-standing fear and hatred for non-Aryans to rally the people of Germany to go to war with the rest of Europe. A central objective of the Nazis was to rid the world of people they deemed inferior -- Roma, Jehova's Witnesses, homosexuals, people with disabilities, and particularly Jews. When WWII ended in 1945 the Nazis and their collaborators had exterminated 11 million people, of whom 6 million were Jews. Two-thirds of the entire Jewish population of Europe perished. 

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere"

Elie Wiesel (renowned Holocaust survivor and educator)

Elie Wiesel warns us about the danger of standing by while witnessing injustice. During the Holocaust, some non-Jews refused to be bystanders. Known as the "Righteous Among the Nations," they risked their lives to intervene and rescue their Jewish neighbors.



A brief overview of the Holocaust:


Video documentaries of survivors and their rescuers:


Stories about the Righteous Among the Nations:


"Women of Valor": Stories of women who rescued Jews:




(1) All winners of the high school and middle school divisions will be announced to their schools and the 1st place submissions will be placed in the Spokesman-Review

(2) The winners will receive the following scholarship rewards:

Middle School

1st Place Middle School Division: $250

2nd Place Middle School Division: $100

3rd Place Middle School Division: $75

High School

1st Place High School Division: $400

2nd Place High School Division: $250

3rd Place High School Division: $100



(1) The contest is open to all high school and middle school students in the Inland Northwest.

(2) Your essay or poem can be up to about 1000 words, double-spaced, in either Microsoft Word, Google Docs (include permission to view!), or body of an email.

(3) Sources must be cited, preferably at the end of the essay. They will not be included in the word count.

(4) On a separate cover page, type your name, phone number, email address, school name, grade, and teacher's name.

(5) Email your entry to: neveragain-spokane@comcast.net before midnight Sunday, May 2, 2021.

(6) Submissions will be judged by the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust Planning Committee based on responsiveness to the prompt, originality, content, evidence that you have used the sources, spelling, and grammar, and accuracy of information.

(7) the Committee reserves the right to disqualify any submission that has inappropriate or plagiarized content. 

(8) The winners will be announced by Monday, June 7, 2021.



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