Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In praise of Irena Sendlerowa

Don't know her? You should.
A Polish woman who helped save the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during World War II is due to be honoured by Poland's parliament.

Irena Sendlerowa, a former social worker w is now 97, organised the rescue from the Warsaw ghetto with the help of the Polish underground army.

She lives quietly in a Warsaw nursing home. As a young social worker, she was allowed to enter Warsaw's Jewish ghetto.

When the Nazis began the deportations of the ghetto's Jews to the death camps, she organised a team to rescue the children. Some were smuggled out in workmen's toolbags. Others left by the sewers or secret passageways.

At least 2,500 children were placed with Polish families and Catholic convents.

Poland's 3.5 million-strong Jewish community was almost completely wiped out by the Nazi Holocaust.
Want your daughter to have a historical figure to use as an example of courage? She will do; in spades.
UPDATE: Via Bookie, a great tribute via Webloggin. He has a quote of hers that tells you a lot about her.
In conclusion let me stress most emphatically that we who were rescuing children are not some kind of heroes. Indeed, that term irritates me greatly.

The opposite is true - I continue to have qualms of conscience that I did so little.
Well, I describe her as one to my daughters. And knowing how many did so little; I think she is - I would hope she would let me get away with that - if not "hero" then perhaps (imperfect as we all are) an exceptionally loving, Christian,
righteous gentile.

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