Essays on the Theme of Heroism

St. Maxamilian Kolbe

by Andrew Appleton from Fredericksburg, VA

A Hero to me is someone who fears nothing and always puts others before themselves. A hero also protects the dignity of a person no matter the cost. St. Maximilian Kolbe is a perfect example of a hero because of his fearlessness and selflessness. His Bravery saved the lives of many Jews and Catholic friars. He laid his own life down so that others could go on living theirs. Kolbe is known all over the world for his self sacrifice. Because of his bravery and strength many people have a hero to look up to and strive to be like everyday.

147602St. Kolbe smiling into the camera Image Credit goes to Catholic Saint Medals St. Kolbe was a hero as he opposed the Nazis when they invaded Poland. When Poland was invaded St. Kolbe’s monastery was shut down by the Nazis. Before the Nazis got there St. Kolbe had warned many people to flee before they would be captured and killed. While the  Nazis were in control St. Kolbe used his abandoned monastery as a shelter for as many Jews and other people in danger as he could fit. He would keep them there until he could make sure that they would have a safe passage to freedom. This makes him great because not only did he save people’s lives he didn’t care that they were Jewish and he was Catholic. He didn’t see race or religion but he saw a human in everyone, and that is how everyone should strive to be. Even though that is not what makes him a hero it is a quality of a true person. He knew that he faced death if he got caught but that didn’t bug him because the dignity of life was worth it. This is what I want to be like someday, not fearing danger to do the right thing. When he was caught he was sent to Auschwitz where he did eventually die. 

147601St. Kolbe as a brother Image Credit goes to Catholic Saint Medals A hero is someone who is brave enough to speak up for the right cause no matter the cost. St. Kolbe spoke up for someone else and paid the ultimate price in the end. When he was at Auschwitz he was forced to work on building the crematoriums. He was elderly and he was forced to move stones and bricks all the time everyday. The rules were strict and people were always getting killed. A rule that was in place at Auschwitz was when an inmate escapes then ten people would be executed. One day a person escaped and the Nazis decided to put ten people to death. One of the ten was panicking because he was a young man with a family who was not ready to die. St. Kolbe knew this and he asked the guards if he could take his place. They didn’t care who died but they needed to kill 10 people so they allowed it, this show the total disregaurd of life that was shown by the Nazis. St. Kolbe knew what he had to do and he went through with it. That is a deciding factor of a hero, because if someone doesn’t have the strength to do the right thing then they aren’t a hero. St. Kolbe went through with it so that a young man could be with his family. 

The ten inmates had been put into a cell where they would starve to death. Most people who got this treatment would go crazy and kill each other, this is what the Nazis wanted and St. Kolbe knew this. He didn’t want the Nazis to win so he led everyone in group prayers and songs. Everyone died in peace except St. Kolbe who wouldn’t die. He was alive well after everyone else had passed. They ended up giving him a lethal injection to finally kill him. This is impressive because he thought of a way to not give the Nazis what they wanted and thought of a way to beat them even in death. This is a quality of a hero because he stood up to the evilest group of people in history and never feared them.

St. Kolbe is an excellent role model for many people from all religions and types of people because he died and saved people who were both Jews and Catholics. It is a very unifying story about one man and that is what heros are supposed to do. I look up to Kolbe for his bravery and selflessness and I hope that I can do something as brave as him one day. 


Page created on 4/1/2022 1:14:19 AM

Last edited 4/2/2022 9:33:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Extra Info

Annotated Bibliography 


Grimm, Richard. "Maximilian Kolbe." My Hero, 28 Apr. 2005,

     Accessed 4 Nov. 2021.  

          This source includes a lot of evidence that supports my claims. It

          talks about how he stood up to the Nazis and saved people. He didn't

          fear the Nazis even before death, that is what a hero is supposed to

          be. The source does however not include crucial information on how St.

          Kolbe died. I think that how he died was crucial because it is a very

          heroic story. The source could have gone more in depth.


Pettinger, Tejvan. "Biography of Saint Maximilian Kolbe." Saint Maximilian Kolbe

     Church, 3 Aug. 2014,

     biography-of-saint-maximilian. Accessed 4 Nov. 2021.  

          This source has a lot more information and it includes more

          information about religion and World War 2. It also has a lot more

          on how his death impacted the people of the camp and how he died. This

          is a very valuable source that I will use. This also has a lot of

          information that the other source ever even mentioned.


Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "St. Maksymilian Maria Kolbe". Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Aug. 2021, Accessed 4 November 2021.

This source is a good source but not as good as the second one.

 It provides a lot of information about his early life. This is important

 because no another source I have has this much detail about how he

 grew up. I will definitely use this source when I have to talk about his life story

Or something like that.


Photo of Maximilian Kolbe as a Young religious brother. Catholic Saint Medals, Accessed 31 Mar. 2022.



A Photo of St. Kolbe with long hair and glasses. Catholic Saint Medals, Accessed 31 Mar. 2022.