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Greenfield: The Polish Woman Who Saved 3000 Jews
Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog ^ | Friday, July 05, 2013 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 07/05/2013 11:08:39 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell

Friday, July 05, 2013

The Polish Woman Who Saved 3000 Jews

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog
The recent 70th commemoration of the Warsaw ghetto uprising focused renewed attention on the destruction of Polish Jewry during WWII and the people who lived through those days. As always, the question remains -- could more Poles have defied the Nazis and helped the Jews? This, and other questions, will forever remain within the realm of the unknown, but the examples of those non-Jewish Polish citizens who did take action provide history with some food for thought.

One such Polish woman was Irena Sendler whose incredible story of helping more than 3000 Jews escape the Nazis was almost buried until a group of amateur teenage historians publicized the narrative.

Irena Sendler was a young Polish social worker when the war broke out in 1939. She became active in the Zagota underground and helped forge documents that would allow Jews to go into hiding. All in all historians estimate that Sendler and other Zagota members assisted over 500 Jews during those early days of the war.

When the Warsaw ghetto was established in 1941 Sendler obtained false identity papers that allowed her to enter the ghetto as a nurse who specialized in infectious diseases. At first, her goal was to bring in food and medicines into the ghetto but as she sized up the situation, she realized that the Germans' ultimate goal was to kill all of the ghetto Jews. Sendler began to smuggle children out of the ghetto. At first she helped remove children who were living on the street, orphaned when their parents were killed or taken away. Slowly however she changed her efforts to try to help children whose parents were still alive.

In an interview conducted over 50 years after her wartime activities Sendler told her interviewers that the memories of her encounters with the parents still gave her nightmares. "I talked the mothers out of their children....Those scenes over whether to give a child away were heart-rending. Sometimes, they wouldn't give me the child. Their first question was, 'What guarantee is there that the child will live?' I said, 'None. I don't even know if I will get out of the ghetto alive today."

All in all it is estimated that Sendler was able to smuggle over 2500 children out of the ghetto. She often sedated the children, especially the small ones, and carried them out in bags, luggage or toolboxes. Sometimes she hid them under her tram seat while at other times she placed them in carts covered with garbage or snarling dogs to deter the Germans from investigating further. Many of the older children were guided out of the ghetto through the sewer pipes that ran underneath the city.

Once a child had been moved to the safe side of Warsaw Sendler organized a hiding place for the child. Some of the children needed forged documents that would allow them to be placed with sympathetic families while others were taken to orphanages and convents. Sendler meticulously documented all of the names and hiding places of the children on tissue paper which she placed in glass jars and buried in her garden. Sendler hoped that the children could be reunited with their families after the war or, if not, with the Jewish community.

In October of 1943 Sendler was arrested by the Germans and taken to the notorious Pawiak prison. The Nazis tortured her and broke both of her legs but she did not reveal any information about her activities, her comrades or the whereabouts of "her" children. Sendler was scheduled to be executed but Zagota was able to bribe a German guard who released her shortly before her scheduled execution.  Sendler went into hiding where she remained for the duration of the war.

In 1999 a group of students from Kansas City were studying the Holocaust. They heard about Sendler, who had been honored as a Righteous Gentile in 1965, and set about recording her story. They were able to meet with her in 2003 and interview her and from that research they established a project called "Life in a Jar" which, through Irena Sendler's story, explores the horrors of the Holocaust through the actions of one brave non-Jewish individual. After gaining funding from the Jewish run LMFF organization, they were able to create a video presentation and act out their performance about Irena Sendler in hundreds of locations.

TOPICS: Government; History; Politics; Religion
KEYWORDS: greenfield; holocaust; irenasendler; sultanknish; theholocaust; warsawghetto
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1 posted on 07/05/2013 11:08:39 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell
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To: arasina; daisy mae for the usa; AdvisorB; wizardoz; free-in-nyc; Vendome; Georgia Girl 2; ...

Praise God there have been heroes who suffered under tyranny but remained steadfast in their opposition to horror. We pray that we will be able to stand in the breach when it is demanded of us.

2 posted on 07/05/2013 11:11:22 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Good luck trying to study the Holocaust today in a Big Brother screwel!

3 posted on 07/05/2013 11:15:16 AM PDT by Darteaus94025
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To: Louis Foxwell

An inspiring story to be sure. Irena Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but was edged out by the equally brave and selfless Al Gore. Way to go Nobel Committee!

4 posted on 07/05/2013 11:16:47 AM PDT by D_Idaho ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood...")
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To: Louis Foxwell
Praise God there have been heroes who suffered under tyranny but remained steadfast in their opposition to horror. We pray that we will be able to stand in the breach when it is demanded of us.

A prayer many of us have... thanks Louis.

5 posted on 07/05/2013 11:49:54 AM PDT by GOPJ ((MSNBC?)... liberal anger - - the privileged wheeze of entitled brats ... Greenfield)
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To: D_Idaho
Yep. I remember that-- a major slap in the face. I believe Ms. Sendler passed away within a year of that fiasco. Hope the Nobel committee is really, really proud of themselves.

But libtards have no shame . . . not then, not now, not ever.

6 posted on 07/05/2013 11:58:37 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Louis Foxwell

One of the students mentioned in the article later did her student teaching in my class (I was her cooperating teacher). She had met Sendler and her response to why she did (she was caught, tortured, and sentenced to be executed), her response was that she only did what anyone else would have done.

Very humble.

7 posted on 07/05/2013 12:06:12 PM PDT by fungoking (Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks)
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To: Darteaus94025
At least in Minnesota that is incorrect, it seems that the ONLY things taught in Language Arts, Social Studies, History and associated clases are:
A) Slavery in America
B) The Holocaust.

Q: What do these have in common?
A: Both of these present white men as evil oppressors.

Yes, I know The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire will sometimes pop up but it also has the same "evil, white oppressor" factor.

8 posted on 07/05/2013 12:24:45 PM PDT by Aevery_Freeman (We say "low-information" but we mean "low-intelligence")
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.


9 posted on 07/05/2013 1:06:28 PM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: Louis Foxwell

I read she was up for the Nobel Peace Prize the same year the Obama won it.

10 posted on 07/05/2013 1:08:05 PM PDT by No One Special
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To: Vigilanteman

I’d suggest it’s more a reflection on those awarding the prize and it’s value rather than a slap in the face.

11 posted on 07/05/2013 1:08:19 PM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Great article! Thanks!

12 posted on 07/05/2013 1:21:17 PM PDT by Monkey Face (No guns, no freedom. Know guns, know freedom!)
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To: D_Idaho

The Nobel Committee has lost all moral sensibility. They give awards based on unicorns and skittle rainbows. They are drug addled neohippies awarding their heroes.

13 posted on 07/05/2013 1:24:06 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: D_Idaho

I don’t know about you, but I’d much prefer that a Nobel Prize go to one of OUR heroes rather than a woman who hated her government. Bob

14 posted on 07/05/2013 1:24:14 PM PDT by alstewartfan ("You have the most appealing surface I have seen. Bring it over here. Lay it down by me." Al Stewart)
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To: Louis Foxwell

Jewish leaders ask Allies to bomb railway lines to concentration camps

The posturing with strong public declarations followed by the empty deeds of the allied leaders did not save any Jewish lives. On June 6, 1944, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the well known Zionist leader, later president of Israel, proposed to the British Minister, Anthony Eden, that the railway line to Auschwitz ought to be bombed. The British, after consultation, denied the request alleging the “great technical difficulties involved.” As the Jews died by the thousands daily, why was there not a rescue plan on the Allied side to counter the Nazi machinery of extermination? The Allies had already dropped tens of thousands of bombs on German cities. Why was that simple request which would have saved hundreds of thousands Jews and Christians refused? Later on, J.F. Martin, chief private secretary of Winston Churchill, explained “the great technical difficulties.” In a letter to Dr. Weizmann he wrote that they had discussed the matter with the Soviets and that the Soviets vetoed it.

When the evacuation of over 60,000 Jews from Bulgaria was suggested, Eden replied that the whole problem with the Jews was very difficult. “If we do that (said Eden) then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar offers in Poland and Germany.” (11)

In 1943, there was a memorandum from British embassy sent to the U.S. State Department expressing their fear that the Germans may “change over from a policy of extermination to one of extrusion, and aim, as they did before the war, at embarrassing other countries by flooding them with refugees.” The State Department blocked, with Roosevelt’s connivance, efforts in Congress to help the Jewish refugees on their way to Palestine. (12)

When a passenger ship, the Saint Louis, full of Dutch Jews fleeing the nazis arrived in the United States, President Roosevelt’s government refused to grant them refuge. They were forced to return to Holland where they found certain death on the nazi’s concentration camps. No other country offered refugee to these unfortunate people.

The Jews depended on the success of The Catholic Church’s lone efforts -they had no other friends on the side of the Allies.

Franco offers refuge in Spain to persecuted Jews.

The reaction of the Western democracies was in stark contrast with that of Fascist Spain. General Franco’s regime, even though his country was devastated and impoverished after a bloody civil war, recognized all the Sephardic Jews living in the Nazi occupied territories as Spanish citizens. That measure allowed them to return to Spain- the beloved Sepharad, land of their ancestors where they lived a golden age more than five centuries ago. Franco’s government also collaborated with the Holy See and several South American countries in providing false passports for Jews trying to flee the Nazi scourge. More than 50,000 Jews were saved thanks to the Spanish government actions. When the Nazis discovered the covert operation, some of the Latin American countries retracted from accepting the validity of the faked passports. The Vatican, on January 24, 1944, interceded with the Latin American governments asking them to recognize the passports “no matter how illegally obtained” , and the humanitarian operation proceeded. Brazil gave 3,000 enter visas. Paraguay, Chile and others South American countries were also very receptive to the Pope’s pleas in favor of the Jews.


Without belittling the unspeakable horrors suffered by Jews, we should not ignore the fact that millions of Catholics were also victims of the Holocaust, as were gypsies, homosexuals, and in much less scale, Orthodox and Protestants.

Poland had the biggest Jewish population in Europe and was the only country where there was a mandatory death penalty for those hiding Jews. Many, who were caught sheltering Jews, were killed in a gruesome manner, such as being publicly burned as a warning to others.

Although not every Catholic was a victim of the Nazis, it is certain that all the Jews were victims of Hitler’s hatred. Hitler’s “Final Solution” was targeted to the total extermination of the Jewish race-an abhorrent and unforgivable crime against humanity.

We should keep in mind the prevailing situation of complete despair throughout Europe at the beginning of the forties. The Germans already occupied Poland, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Norway; and the invasion of the Soviet Union was going on while England was being bombed daily in preparation for the eventual invasion. The United States stayed out of the war until December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked the American naval base in Pearl Harbor. The neutral nations, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden and the Vatican, were the only temporarily remaining free territories. Without any military force, all the Pope had was his powerful moral pulpit to encounter the all powerful and victorious German troops. Although the Vatican was neutral, The Church and its flock were being brutally attacked and decimated in the Nazi’s occupied countries.

According to historian William J. O’Malley, S.J., “to the genocide of six millions Jews we have to add nine to ten millions Slavic victims (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Yugoslavs) who were eliminated-not in war, not as saboteurs, not as guerrillas, but sorely because they were Slavic.” The Nazi’s genocide, based on race, should also include half a million gypsies who, just as the Slavs, were executed because they were not member of the superior race, the Aryans. The Nazis in Poland alone murdered more than 3 million Catholics together with over 3 million Jews. (13)

About 2,800 clergymen were interned between 1940 and 1945, at Dachau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp. Among them, 2,579 were Catholic clergymen, 109 Protestants, 30 orthodox and two Moslem clergymen. The Catholics came from 38 nations; 1,780 were Polish, 447 German and Austrian, 109 Czech and Slovaks, 50 Yugoslavs, 156 French, 63 Dutch. The auxiliary Polish Bishop of Wladislava died of typhus while imprisoned at Dachau. At least 1034 died in the camp, some victims of medical experimentation by the infamous Dr. Rascher. In 1940, 800 priests died in Buchenwald, 1,200 in 1942 and 3,000 in 1943. And that was just in Buchenwald.

As O’Malley, pointed out, “That figure, surprising as it might be, does not include the clergy or nuns who were shot, beheaded or tortured to death in squares and alleys and jails all over Europe…In France, in February 1944, the Gestapo had arrested 162 priests, of whom 123 were shot or decapitated before ever reaching any camp. According to the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, 780 priests died of exhaustion at Mauthausen and 300 at Sachsenhausen, and there were hundreds of other camps in the network. Nor does the total figure of 2,771 take into consideration that one-quarter to one-third of those shipped to any camps often arrived dead.” (14)

Polish Cardinal Stephan Wyszynski, in his prison memoirs, notes that he was the only member of his ordination class who escaped the concentration camps; seven died in Dachau; of the six who survived the concentrations camps, several soon died as the result of torture and medical experimentation. It is estimated that the Nazis imprisoned half of the Polish clergy.

The Pope not only had to answer to the pleas from the Jews, but also to those from his own flock. Quite an extraordinary burden to bear. In March 1942 a shattering letter from the Polish Archbishop Sapieha arrived to the Vatican: “Our condition is in truth most tragic, he wrote to the Pope, deprived of almost all human rights, delivered to the cruelty of men lacking for the most part any human sentiment, we live continuously under horrible terror in constant danger of losing everything, either by trying to escape or by deportation, or incarceration in the so-called concentration camps, from which few come out alive. In these camps thousands and thousands of our brothers are held, without any judicial trial, people wholly innocent. Among them there are many priests, secular and religious…to these things the typhus is now added spreading more and more daily.” (15)

Catholic martyrdom was rich in examples of courage.

Catholic martyrdom was rich in examples of courage. When Msgr. Andrew Szeptyckyi was consecrated as Archbishop of Lwow of the Ruthenians, he asked the Pope during the ceremony, an explicit vocation for martyrdom. With that idea he approached Himmler personally on behalf of the Jews; their fate rent his noble spirit. There were many Catholics such as Oskar Schindler and St. Maximilian Kolbe who in brotherly love risked and even offered their own lives in behalf of the Jews.

Hitler, a self-proclaimed pagan, considered the Catholic Church on par with the Jews, as his mortal enemies.

It is documented that Hitler planned for the total obliteration of the Church. For Hitler Jews and Christians were the sources of every evil. “The heaviest blow to humanity” he once said, “was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of Jews.” In his diabolical mind, the extermination of the Jews would be needed for victory. Hitler designed and implemented a plan at Warthegau, in western Poland, to extirpate the Catholic and the Protestant churches from Europe. There is documentation that Count Von Galen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Munster, who was an outspoken critic of the racial and eugenic policies of the Nazis, if it were not for the prominence and prestige of his position, would have been annihilated

In 1942, Pius XII told Fr. Paolo Dezza, rector of the Gregorian University, “They want to destroy the Church and crush it as a toad…there will be no place for the Pope in the new Europe, they say that I am going to America, I have no fear and I shall remain here.” (16) Among the many ideological fundaments shared by the Nazis and the Communist was the hatred for religion, specially the Catholic Church. The only form of worship allowed was the cult to the leader of the totalitarian state. Hungarian Cardinal Mindszenty went from a Nazi jail to a Communist jail after the war. There was no respite for Catholics after the War; in fact, the persecution of Catholics increased in the Soviet occupied countries.

In occupied Poland, Arthur Greiser was in charge of the annihilation of the Catholic Church…

Arthur Greiser was in charge of the annihilation of the Catholic Church and the creation of a national German Church loyal to the Führer in Warthegau. The final goal was the complete Germanization of that Polish region, to which end Greiser worked without respite. Bishops were driven out, priests killed or imprisoned. Within a few years one third of the pre-war 2,000 priests were dead and 700 imprisoned; seminaries were closed, the Catholic press and voluntary associations suppressed. The Holy See found itself desperately fighting in two fronts, for the survival of the Jews and for the survival of his own flock. The Church in a beleaguered Poland was being bled to death by the two great scourges of humanity, the Nazis and Communists. In Poland three million Catholics went to their death along with three million Jews at the Nazi’s concentration camps in addition to the millions murdered by the Soviets.

It is documented that, according to Robert M.W. Kempner, former U.S. Deputy Chief of Counsel at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, among the measures scheduled to follow upon Hitler’s victory were the following: “every Catholic State must select its own Pope” …(and) “the Bishop of Muenster will go before the firing squad one day. ” Every propaganda move by the Catholic Church against Hitler’s Reich would have been not only “provoking suicide”, but would have hastened the execution of still more Jews and Priests. These and similar threats appeared in the diary of Alfred Rosenberg, the nazi theoretician of racial purity, and in Hitler’s Table Talk.

Millions of Catholics were victims first of the Nazis and later of the Communists.

Most Catholics were anti-Nazi and anti-Communist. We should not forget the fact that hundreds of thousands of anti-Nazis from communist occupied territories as Poland, the Baltic States and Bessarabia, were sent by Moscow to German concentration camps, while hundreds of thousands of anti-Stalinists refugees living in Nazis territories were sent by Berlin to the Soviet concentration camps as part of the Stalin / Hitler’s diabolical pact. Shamefully, the Western democracies did the same after WWII; thousands of anti-Communists who fled the Soviet Union during the war were forcedly deported to the Soviet concentration camps, the dreadful gulags. Entire families opted for suicide rather than deportation.

THE RESCUE OF THE JEWS. The Holy See made every possible effort to help the Jews.

Jewish population in Europe as the war begins

When Hitler came to power, about 6 million Jews lived in Central and Western Europe and 3 million inside the Soviet Union. About 600,000 were German, 180,000 Austrian, 270,000 French, 340,000 British, 150,000 Dutch, 360,000 Checks, 500,000 Hungarian, and 3 ½ million Poles. The first attacks against the German Jews started in March 1933 by way of several anti-Semite laws. Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and many other important scientists were among the 100,000 Jews who were able to escape between 1933 and 1939.

Israel Honors Pius XII

Israeli senior diplomat and now Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Pinchas Lapide, with access to Yad Vashem’s archives, has stated in his book, “Three Popes and the Jews”, that “The Catholic Church relief and rescue program under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving the lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi’s hands. That was more than all other Churches, religious institutions and international rescue organizations put together.” (17) The Israelis recognized the lives saved by planting a forest, in commemoration, of as many trees in the Negeb, SE of Jerusalem. This forest was shown to Pope Paul VI during his first state visit to Israel.

At the end of the War, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, Albert Einstein, and many other prominent Jewish leaders expressed their deep gratitude toward Pius XII and the Catholic Church. On the death of Pius XII (1958), Golda Meir, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a heartfelt eulogy for the Pope before the UN Assembly.

In his scholar book, “The Last Three Popes and the Jews” , Lapide said that Pius XII was one of the few world leaders outside the Jewry itself who was quick to recognize the danger of Nazism. Lapide demonstrates convincingly the consistent and active protection provided to the Jews in Europe by the papacy. In Lapide’s words:

“When armed force ruled well-nigh omnipotent, and morality was at its lowest ebb, Pius XI commanded non of the former and could only appeal to the latter, in confronting with bare hands, the full might of evil.

A sounding protest, which might turn out to be self-thwarting-or quiet piecemeal rescue? Loud words- or prudent deeds? The dilemma must have been sheer agony, for whichever course he chose horrible consequences were inevitable. Unable to cure the sickness of an entire civilization, and unwilling to bear the brunt of Hitler’s fury, the Pope, unlike many far mightier than he, alleviated, relieved, appealed, petitioned-and saved as most efficient he could by his own lights.

Who, but a prophet or a martyr could have done much more?

The Talmud teaches us that ‘whoever preserves one life, it is accounted to him by Scripture as if he had preserved a whole world.’

If this is true-and it is as true as that of most Jewish of tenets, the sanctity of human life-then Pius XII deserves that forest in Judean hills, which kindly people of Israel proposed for him in October 1958. A memorial forest with 860,000 trees.” (Emphasis added. “Three Popes and the Jews.” pp.267-269)

15 posted on 07/05/2013 1:33:35 PM PDT by Dqban22
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To: Louis Foxwell

“They give awards based on unicorns and skittle rainbows.”

Absolutely. So why on earth would you want to see the name “Irena Sendler” printed along side Barak Obama, Yasser Arafat, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Al “What I need is a groin massage” Gore?

16 posted on 07/05/2013 2:17:59 PM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: Louis Foxwell; ExTexasRedhead
"...We pray that we will be able to stand in the breach when it is demanded of us..."

Ready and able! .................................................................................... FRegards

17 posted on 07/05/2013 2:55:42 PM PDT by gonzo ( Buy more ammo, dammit! You should already have the firearms ... FRegards)
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To: alstewartfan

“I don’t know about you, but I’d much prefer that a Nobel Prize go to one of OUR heroes…” Is Al Gore one of your heroes? Your logic escapes me.

18 posted on 07/05/2013 3:09:34 PM PDT by D_Idaho ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood...")
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To: No One Special

Al Gore, same difference.

19 posted on 07/05/2013 3:21:49 PM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: SJackson
Hadn't read all the replies before I posted but the idea that anyone would honor those two over this woman is tragic and farcical.

20 posted on 07/05/2013 4:16:08 PM PDT by No One Special
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To: D_Idaho

Yes, I especially liked him when he ballooned over 300 pounds. More hypocrisy to love! Was my comment any more absurd than that of the Nobel Committee members when they chose him over this great woman? NO.
The Nobel Prize has become a bizarre joke. I suppose if Yasser Arafat is deserving, so is Algore. Bob
P.S. I keep hearing that those who loathe their all-powerful government can’t possibly love their country. So, obviously in the eyes of these kooks, this Polish hero was suspect.

21 posted on 07/05/2013 6:31:26 PM PDT by alstewartfan ("You have the most appealing surface I have seen. Bring it over here. Lay it down by me." Al Stewart)
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To: Dqban22

Thank you for this powerful comment. It is worthy of a separate post. Much there I have learned, much I read for the first time. The link between Stalin and Roosevelt is of special interest, particularly as it relates to the fate of European Jews.

22 posted on 07/05/2013 8:08:10 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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