Random pictures from years gone by….
Irena Sendler (1910-2008) RIP
12th May 2008
A newspaper story about the death of Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who helped to save 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during the second world war.
Sendler was a social worker and an active member of the Polish resistance in German-occupied Warsaw, and eventually became head of the children’s section of Żegota, the Polish Council To Aid Jews. She obtained a special permit to enter the Warsaw ghetto to check for signs of typhus, and it was while conducting inspections of the sanitary conditions in the ghetto that she was able to smuggle out babies and small children. She also led a team of people within Żegota who risked their lives on a daily basis creating false documents and finding homes for the rescued children outside the ghetto - with Polish families and Catholic nuns, who also risked their lives by providing them with shelter (during the German occupation of Poland, offering any help to a Jew was punishable by death). Information about the children’s original and new identities was buried in jars, in the hope that they could eventually be reunited with their families.
In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured and sentenced to death, but Żegota managed to save her while she was on her way to be executed by bribing the German guards. She was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed and spent the rest of the war in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children. After the war, she and her co-workers gathered together all of their records with the names and locations of the hidden children and gave them to their Żegota colleague Adolf Berman and his employees at the Central Committee of Polish Jews. However, almost all of their family members had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or had otherwise gone missing.
Nevertheless, Irena Sendler and her small group of co-workers managed to save twice as many Jews from the holocaust as Oskar Schindler and one third of the total number of Jews rescued by the country of Denmark. In 1965, she was recognised by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among The Nations.
Sadly, in the aftermath of her death her memory has been tainted by being the subject of a malicious email chain letter, the main purpose of which was to attack Al Gore and promote the agenda of the American far right. It also contained some misleading “facts” about Irena, including the false claim that she was German, describing her as a plumber or “sewer specialist” instead of a social worker, with no mention of her role in the Polish resistance or the work of Żegota - and it’s a shame to see this garbage being regularly re-posted on Tumblr and elsewhere….
Please read the real facts about this amazing woman here: