At this time of sorrow, hope, and resolve for our nation, we look back at powerful messages and stories of those who used their agency—sometimes at great personal risk—to make a difference in the moment and for the future. From a young diarist during the Holocaust to an American civil rights leader, the efforts of these individuals provide historical context and lessons about the dangers of indifference.
Photos: All images US Holocaust Memorial Museum unless otherwise indicated. Anne Frank, circa 1939. Anne Frank House; Museum founder Elie Wiesel; US Representative John Lewis, the recipient of the Museum’s Elie Wiesel Award in 2016; Sophie Scholl, a member of the White Rose resistance movement, 1942. George (Jürgen) Wittenstein/akg-images; Julien Bryan films during the siege of Warsaw in 1939. Gift of Julien Bryan Archive