Skip to comments.The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler
Posted on 04/19/2009 12:06:32 PM PDT by Vigilanteman
While I am not one to generally promote programming on the Enemedia, this is a must see for all freepers. Not only might it give us ideas for resistance to the current nazi regime ruling America, but it honors a brave and courageous woman who was passed over for the Nobel Prize so Al Gore could collect it for his cockamanie global warming theories.
Tune in to your local CBS affiliate at 9 p.m. eastern tonight and post your impressions here.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbs.com ...
Ooooo, thanks for posting this!!!!
Ping for the Catholic Lists
When Hitler and his Nazis built the Warsaw Ghetto and herded 500,000 Polish Jews behind its walls to await liquidation, many Polish gentiles turned their backs or applauded. Not Irena Sendler. An unfamiliar name to most people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. As a health worker, she sneaked the children out between 1942 and 1943 to safe hiding places and found non-Jewish families to adopt them.
Today the old woman, gentle and courageous, is living a modest existence in her Warsaw apartment - an unsung heroine.
Her achievement went largely unnoticed for many years. Then the story was uncovered by four young students at Uniontown High School, in Kansas, who were the winners of the 2000 Kansas state National History Day competition by writing a play Life in a Jar about the heroic actions of Irena Sendler. The girls - Elizabeth Cambers, Megan Stewart, Sabrina Coons and Janice Underwood - have since gained international recognition, along with their teacher, Norman Conard. The presentation, seen in many venues in the United States and popularized by National Public Radio, C-SPAN and CBS, has brought Irena Sendler's story to a wider public.
The students continue their prize-winning dramatic presentation Life in a Jar. They have established an e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irena Sendler was born in 1910 in Otwock, a town some 15 miles southeast of Warsaw. She was greatly influenced by her father who was one of the first Polish Socialists. As a doctor his patients were mostly poor Jews.
In 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and the brutality of the Nazis accelerated with murder, violence and terror.
At the time, Irena was a Senior Administrator in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, which operated the canteens in every district of the city. Previously, the canteens provided meals, financial aid, and other services for orphans, the elderly, the poor and the destitute. Now, through Irena, the canteens also provided clothing, medicine and money for the Jews. They were registered under fictitious Christian names, and to prevent inspections, the Jewish families were reported as being afflicted with such highly infectious diseases as typhus and tuberculosis.
But in 1942, the Nazis herded hundreds of thousands of Jews into a 16-block area that came to be known as the Warsaw Ghetto. The Ghetto was sealed and the Jewish families ended up behind its walls, only to await certain death.
Irena Sendler was so appalled by the conditions that she joined Zegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, organized by the Polish underground resistance movement, as one of its first recruits and directed the efforts to rescue Jewish children.
To be able to enter the Ghetto legally, Irena managed to be issued a pass from Warsaws Epidemic Control Department and she visited the Ghetto daily, reestablished contacts and brought food, medicines and clothing. But 5,000 people were dying a month from starvation and disease in the Ghetto, and she decided to help the Jewish children to get out.
For Irena Sendler, a young mother herself, persuading parents to part with their children was in itself a horrendous task. Finding families willing to shelter the children, and thereby willing to risk their life if the Nazis ever found out, was also not easy.
Irena Sendler, who wore a star armband as a sign of her solidarity to Jews, began smuggling children out in an ambulance. She recruited at least one person from each of the ten centers of the Social Welfare Department.
With their help, she issued hundreds of false documents with forged signatures. Irena Sendler successfully smuggled almost 2,500 Jewish children to safety and gave them temporary new identities.
Some children were taken out in gunnysacks or body bags. Some were buried inside loads of goods. A mechanic took a baby out in his toolbox. Some kids were carried out in potato sacks, others were placed in coffins, some entered a church in the Ghetto which had two entrances. One entrance opened into the Ghetto, the other opened into the Aryan side of Warsaw. They entered the church as Jews and exited as Christians. "Can you guarantee they will live?" Irena later recalled the distraught parents asking. But she could only guarantee they would die if they stayed. "In my dreams," she said, "I still hear the cries when they left their parents."
Irena Sendler accomplished her incredible deeds with the active assistance of the church. "I sent most of the children to religious establishments," she recalled. "I knew I could count on the Sisters." Irena also had a remarkable record of cooperation when placing the youngsters: "No one ever refused to take a child from me," she said.
The children were given false identities and placed in homes, orphanages and convents. Irena Sendler carefully noted, in coded form, the children's original names and their new identities. She kept the only record of their true identities in jars buried beneath an apple tree in a neighbor's back yard, across the street from German barracks, hoping she could someday dig up the jars, locate the children and inform them of their past.
In all, the jars contained the names of 2,500 children ...
But the Nazis became aware of Irena's activities, and on October 20, 1943 she was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo, who broke her feet and legs. She ended up in the Pawiak Prison, but no one could break her spirit. Though she was the only one who knew the names and addresses of the families sheltering the Jewish children, she withstood the torture, refusing to betray either her associates or any of the Jewish children in hiding.
Sentenced to death, Irena was saved at the last minute when Zegota members bribed one of the Germans to halt the execution. She escaped from prison but for the rest of the war she was pursued by the Gestapo.
After the war she dug up the jars and used the notes to track down the 2,500 children she placed with adoptive families and to reunite them with relatives scattered across Europe. But most lost their families during the Holocaust in Nazi death camps.
The children had known her only by her code name Jolanta. But years later, after she was honored for her wartime work, her picture appeared in a newspaper. "A man, a painter, telephoned me," said Sendler, "`I remember your face,' he said. `It was you who took me out of the ghetto.' I had many calls like that!"
Irena Sendler did not think of herself as a hero. She claimed no credit for her actions. "I could have done more," she said. "This regret will follow me to my death."
She has been honored by international Jewish organizations - in 1965 she accorded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem organization in Jerusalem and in 1991 she was made an honorary citizen of Israel.
Irena Sendler was awarded Poland's highest distinction, the Order of White Eagle in Warsaw Monday Nov. 10, 2003.
This lovely, courageous woman was one of the most dedicated and active workers in aiding Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Her courage enabled not only the survival of 2,500 Jewish children but also of the generations of their descendants.
She passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98.
I visited the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto on my pilgrimage three summers ago to Poland. What a heartbreaking story/pictures we viewed there.
Unfortunately, I no longer have the e-mail (although I’m still searching that I might find it), but the man who runs Irena’s Web site (Mr. Conard) wrote my husband in regard to a post he did on Irena and Mr. C said that Irena was not against Al Gore. That she very much believed in global warming and everything he was doing in that regard. (Wish I could find his exact words. It was interesting.) Anyway, here’s the link to the orginal post:
This dear woman died shortly after the disgraceful snub.
Or perhaps it’s not an honor to be in the same category as Gore, Jimmy Cater & Arafat.
Her story should be told.
This was an incredible movie! Thank you for posting the reminder to watch it. It is simply outrageous that Gore received the Nobel Prize instead of this courageous woman - absolutely disgusting.
It was a great film and highly inspirational. I’ve always felt that the Catholic church, in general, and the Polish people, in particular, were unfairly beat up for not doing more to resist the holocaust. Then I remember that it is a common tactic of the left to make the heros into cowards and the cowards (Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn and those of like ilk) into heros.
Even if true, I’m not going to discredit the genuine heroism of a young woman for buying into a false science. I suspect she was just showing class and graciousness to our modern eco-nazi Al Gore as she did to the nazis in her younger days.
I missed this movie. I thought it was going to be on the Hallmark Channel, and it wasn’t. I rushed home from a meeting hoping to catch at least part of it.
Does anyone know when it will be repeated?
I think they got See BS to air the premier because of the potentially greater audience reach.
It wasn't that benign. The Communist Govt. of Poland didn't allow information to get out about her achievements, so that's why no one knew of them. It wasn't till the Communists were ousted that word began to emerge.
I think it was outstanding that these four girls got as much information as they did, and got this ball rolling. I'd love to see some information about the fates of those kids, especially Karolina, the daughter of her friends, who she placed in the convent, and the young red-haired boy who escaped from the train going to Treblinka, with his father's help. I was kinda hoping he'd show up with the Zegota at the end of the movie, but we never saw him again, after he went into the woods.
The Hallmark production was terrific, and it only showed a bit of what she, and the Jews she was trying to help, actually went through. It also showed that, far from persecuting the Jews of Poland, many Catholics, and other Christians, risked their lives to shelter them from certain death.
Thanks for the ping. I watched it and it was very moving.