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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Irena Sendler: A Polish "Schindler" lady

October 15, 2007
Meet Irena Sendler

October 15, 2007 - Irena Sendler. Are you familiar with the name? Most people may not be. However, by the end of this article, you will see that this is a woman who personifies courage, strength, honor, fortitude and love--traits that most of us, including myself, claim to possess, yet rarely exhibit--to an extent that is simply unfathomable. She is a true warrior; an authentic champion.

You see, Ms. Sendler, who celebrated her 97th birthday earlier this year, can lay claim to the primary role in a story that is as compelling as it is astonishing. As a young, Roman Catholic, Polish woman in 1942, Ms. Sendler defied torture and death at the hands of the Nazis in order to save the lives of 2,500 Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto. In so doing, she single-handedly rescued these children from death--a death that would have followed with 100% certainty--in the Nazi concentration camps of Europe.

In actuality, Ms. Sendler, at the time a social worker in Nazi-occupied Poland, began helping Jews prior to the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto. As a member of the Zegota, an underground council facilitated to assist the Jews, Ms. Sendler took it upon herself to rescue children, since children, along with women, were almost certain to be put to death immediately upon entry into the Nazi death camps. Ms. Sendler, who is not Jewish, went as far as to don the "Star of David" whilst in the Warsaw Ghetto, so as to not draw attention to herself.

Faced with the reality of certain death if her mission became compromised, Ms. Sendler organized the smuggling of 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and into the homes of sympathetic Polish families as well as Catholic convents and orphanages such as the Sisters of the Family of Mary and the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary. In some cases, Ms. Sendler hand-carried children out of the ghetto herself. The children's identities were never lost. Ms. Sendler kept hidden lists in jars that tracked their original identities alongside their new identities.

Continued here: Meet Irena Sendler

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