Culture and Trends ›

Germany Honors Heroic Young Woman / Nick Ehrhardt

Germany Honors Heroic Young Woman

Germany is mourning the death of an unlikely hero this month. Less than two weeks before her 23rd birthday, student teacher Tugce Albayrak came to the aid of two girls at a McDonald's near Frankfurt. They were locked in a bathroom, calling for help after being harassed by two men. Albayrak intervened, breaking up the situation, but one of the men returned and attacked Albayrak outside the restaurant, putting her into a coma.

Her attacker was quickly caught and confessed, according to Deutsche Welle Radio. Albayrak's story spread quickly through Germany even as hope for her survival waned. On Nov. 28, Albayrak's parents removed her from life support after doctors determined she was brain-dead and would never recover. It was Albayrak's 23rd birthday.

Since her death, her life and death have become "synonymous with civil courage," according to The Guardian, and the BBC reports that a petition to honor her with the National Order for Merit has gathered over 100,000 signatures. Hundreds turned out for her funeral this week, and her name is at the heart of a new debate in Germany over the importance of courage in daily life.

Share her story with your friends and family, and start your own conversation about how to be a hero in your everyday life.