We'd like to tell you the story of Irena Sendlerowa, a brave woman who risked her life to save 2,500 Jewish children during WWII. Let's get to know a little bit more about this noble and inspiring heroine...
Irena Sendler was born on 15th February 1910 in Warsaw. Already as a child, she was sensitive to other people's harm. She observed her father treating people whom no one else wanted to take care of. Many of them were Jews...
Being a young woman, Sendlerowa worked as a social worker for urban Social Welfare. Later this job allowed her to enter the ghetto under pretex of searching for signs of illnesses such as typhus. She cooperated with Zegota (the Council to Aid Jews ) and the Children's Section of the Municipal Administration. With the help of her co-workers, she managed to create over 3000 false documents in order to help Jewish children survive outside the ghetto.
You may ask: what were her methods of saving the Jewish children? There were many ways: smuggling them hidden in a postal package, in a suitcase, in an ambulance, guiding them through the sewer pipes or leading them out through the back entrance in the Court House on Leszno Street. The idea was to return the children to their Jewish families after the war. To make this possible at all, Sendlerowa kept record of all the children's original and false names. The records, hid in glass jars were later buried in her friend's garden. Regrettably, the majority of the smuggled kids' relatives have died in the concentration camps.
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We need to note that helping Jews in Poland was much riskier than in any other occupied country. All people of good will risked the lives of all their household members, not just theirs.
What happened then to Sendlerowa? Gestapo arrested and imprisoned her in October 1943. Sentenced to death, she was on her way to the gallows when members of Zegota group managed to bribe her guards and set her free.
After that, she continued her work living in hiding.
Sendlerowa died in 2008. Despite the fact that her efforts have not been left undervalued (Yad Vashem has recognized her as one of the Righteous among the Nations, she has also received a personal letter from Pope John Paul II and was granted many significant rewards.), let's not forget about her courage, struggle and commitment. Although that terrible time is behind us, some values will always remain universal.