A most difficult anniversary approaches: the day, 73 years ago, when today's #HistoryHero was discovered, along with her family, and condemned to death in a Nazi concentration camp for the crime of being born Jewish.
Our hero is remembered thanks to the stories and precocious wisdom she left behind. She is beloved by generations the world over.
May we all continue to learn from her hardship and sacrifice.
Do you believe that goodness can endure and conquer evil?
To say that Seyran Ateş defies stereotypes is an understatement. For starters, she is a female Imam-in-training, a rarity in the Muslim world. In addition, she founded the world’s first “liberal mosque,” which opened its doors in Berlin’s Moabit district on June 17, 2017. It welcomes followers from all interpretations of Islam, including long-time Sunni-Shia antagonists. It allows men and women to worship together, not separated as in traditional practice. It encourages the participation of members of LBGTQ communities, who are banned from prayer gatherings under conservative Islam. Moreover, Ateş insists that women remove their burqas and niqabs inside her mosque for she believes that "full-face veils have nothing to do with religion, but rather are a political statement.”
Named after a Muslim philosopher who defended Greek philosophy and a German writer fascinated by the poetry of the Middle East, the mission of the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque is to be a bridge-builder and peace-maker. Yet, it is under attack. So is Seyran Ateş.
The study of History most often focuses on the rise and fall of demagogues and dictators. But you can be sure that behind each one there are stories – some little known, others perhaps never told – of the brave individuals who made it their life's work to stop them. Even at their own peril.
This is one such story.
In the early 1930s in Germany, there arose to national prominence a man with very peculiar views. His name was Adolf Hitler and he blamed Germany’s post-WWI humiliation and economic failure on the Jews and the communists.
The country's economic distress was more realistically due to the harsh punishment Germany received for being on the losing side of “the war to end all wars” – a nickname for WWI. But paybacks imposed by the victors were so excessive they bankrupted the country and plunged its people into abject, crushing poverty. This created a witch’s brew of bitterness and pain: the perfect environment for a demagogue – a leader who seeks support through prejudice rather than rational argument – to exploit.
Have you ever experienced an act of kindness that changed the course of history?
“Fulfillment in life comes from service,” Gail Halvorsen told an interviewer in 2013. And he would know, for almost 70 years ago, in 1948, as the Cold War was just heating up, he performed a simple act of service that was felt around the world.
Are you insatiably curious about the mysteries of the universe?
So was Albert Einstein.
In 1915, the then unknown German-born theoretical physicist introduced a groundbreaking idea to the world: he suggested that space is not “inert,” but that the momentum of objects, or energy, in combination with gravity fields cause it to bend and shift. He called it the Theory of General Relativity.
The scientific community was naturally skeptical. The reigning theory had been put forward 228 years before, in 1687, by none other than Sir Isaac Newton. But young Einstein felt that the legendary Englishman had missed an important factor in the essential equation: time.