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Irena Sendler
Irena Sendlerowa 1942.jpg
Sendler c. 1942
Born
Irena Krzyżanowska

(1910-02-15)15 February 1910
Died12 May 2008(2008-05-12) (aged 98)
OccupationSocial worker, humanitarian, nurse, administrator, educator
Spouse(s)Mieczyslaw Sendler (1931–1947; divorced)
Stefan Zgrzembski (from 1947; separated from 1957; 3 children)
Mieczyslaw Sendler (1961–1971; divorced again)
Parent(s)Stanisław Krzyżanowski
Janina Karolina Grzybowska
Political affiliationSocialist

Irena Stanisława Sendler (née Krzyżanowska), also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland, nom de guerre "Jolanta" (15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008),[1] was a Polish social worker, humanitarian and nurse who served in the Polish Underground during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw, and from October 1943 was head of the children's section of Żegota,[2] the Polish Council to Aid Jews (Polish: Rada Pomocy Żydom).[3]

In the 1930s, Sendler conducted her social work as one of the activists connected to the Free Polish University. From 1935 to October 1943, she worked for the Department of Social Welfare and Public Health of the City of Warsaw. She also pursued informal, and during the war conspiratorial activities, such as rescuing Jews, primarily as part of the network of workers and volunteers from that department, mostly women. Sendler participated, with dozens of others, in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then providing them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families or in orphanages and other care facilities, including Catholic nun convents, saving those children from the Holocaust.[4][5]

The German occupiers suspected Sendler's involvement in the Polish Underground and in October 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo, but she managed to hide the list of the names and locations of the rescued Jewish children, preventing this information from falling into the hands of the Gestapo. Withstanding torture and imprisonment, Sendler never revealed anything about her work or the location of the saved children. She was sentenced to death but narrowly escaped on the day of her scheduled execution, after Żegota bribed German officials to obtain her release.

In post-war communist Poland, Sendler continued her social activism but also pursued a government career. In 1965, she was recognised by the State of Israel as Righteous Among the Nations.[6] Among the many decorations Sendler received were the Gold Cross of Merit granted her in 1946 for the saving of Jews and the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour, awarded late in Sendler's life for her wartime humanitarian efforts.[a]

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  • ✪ WWII Drama - The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (POLISH VOICEOVER ENG SUB)
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Transcription

Edited at https://subtitletools.com CHILDREN OF IRENA SENDLER In the memory of all the known and unknown Who are "Righteous Among the Nations". Yes? Yes. Yes, I will come right away. I will walk, so twenty minutes. Please, stay calm. lrenka .7 It's all right, Mama. Go backto sleep. - Thank God, you are here. - Where is she? In the cupboard. Tonight, when Krzysztot came home the way our neighbours looked at him we were betrayed. | just know. I'm sorry, Irena. It the Germans find us hiding a Jew, they will shoot us. Hello, Anna, it's Irena. You do not need to be afraid. And tonight... you will stay with me. Would you like that? How many mothers do you have? | just have one. Already, I had three. Shh. Why do they not like me? Who does not like you? My mothers. Your mothers love you. And I love you. And I will always love you. Go to sleep. - We have to go now. - Here. It is sale to take her out in broad daylight? She looks like one of us. Are you worried? Not one bit. Mama, hmm? - Ahh, good. - Eva will love it. It's perfect. Mama! Take your medicine. Mama, please. You are so funny. You're a wonderlull girl. The second doll with the long locks was called Bella. Come in Anna! Anna, this is Miss Jadwiga. Hello, sweetie. Come in. Thank you. Come in. Anna, you can play with Miss Jadwiga's children while ltind you a lovely place to live. You're a good girl. - Take care of her. - Hello, sweetie. She has passed outside the ghetto all this time. There must be - a Polish family who can take her. - Not any we know personally. I'll ask lather Godlewski, he will know some we can trust. - Wait. You mean now? - His soup kitchen's on my way. - You're going to the Ghetto? - Yes. I will see you later. Get out of here. Irena Sendler, you work? Department of Social Services. I see that, my question is about today, why are you here? Inspection of the refugee centers. Prevent the spread of typhus. You Poles must solve this problem, it's a disgrace. Go in. Next please, documents. Only bread today, take it. Go. Itold you once I won'ttell you again. You're not hungry? Please, please buy it from me. Father Godlewski. Good morning. Ah, Irena. What do you hear? In the last two weeks, they have filled train cars of Jews in Luxemburg and Vienna, deported them all to the ghetto in Lodz - and here, every day they bring more. You know we are doing all we can to help Jews survive outside the ghetto. - Yes, I know, very well. - And today I have a little girl - and no Polish family to hide her. - It's not easy for Poles either. - Perhaps in your congregation? - Irena, please... ...of all people you know the riskfor a Polish family. Even so, is it not possible there are some or even many Poles who want to help but don't know how? Yes, yes, yes. It is possible. Eva. Irena. Come, come. - Good morning, Hannah. - 0h, Irenka. Always such a faithful friend. God bless you. Rabbi Rozenfeld. Dear Irena, how are you this fine day? Is this work for a Rabbi? We all must live with dignity, especially in days of hatred. Miss Irena! Miss Irena! Karolyna! Or should I say, the famous Miss Nijinska, Prima ballerina? Do you know what I learned to do! Do you want to see? Of course, you must show me! Brava! - How is your mother? - Well enough, if she behaves. - And your Jacob? - Last week he came back into - the Ghetto to hug his daughter. - And to kiss you, I'm sure. Maybe yes, a little. I brought a few things. Let me, let me! And this. Irena, what do we have here? You made this? Can you imagine me putting two stitches together? - Then your mother. - She misses you. My dearest friends in the whole world. Please thank her. Eva, I need to talk with you. Over the last few weeks, hey have deported freight cars of Jews from Austria to the ghetto in Lodz. We heard last night. The Jewish Council says they will send to workcamps. Eva, your Jewish Council was appointed by Germans. How many years have we listened to their terrible propaganda? What they say about Jews, what they say - they have in mind... - It's just talk, rumor. Who can believe it? These are cultured people. Anyway, we're almost five hundred thousand in this Ghetto. What could they do? Yes, yes... I know. It's so confusing. One day somebody says something is true, another says it's not. Every day I wake up, my body is cold. We have to get you all out of here. They would never leave. I could never leave them. I can find Polish families willing to hide you. Most people believe it's better to stay all together, inside the wall. I want you safe... - ...all of you. - Irena, what is safe? Where? Good morning, Miss Irena. Good morning, Doctor Majkowski, have you had a chance to consider my-- Yes, I have selected your friend, Maria Debinska to join your department. Thank you, doctor. - Good morning. - Good morning, Miss Irena. Maria, welcome to our little department, thank you. My thanks to you. - Good morning, Miss Irena. - You missed an exciting meeting. Issued today, the new ration card. 2613 calories a day for Germans, 699 calories for Poles, 300 calories for residents of the ghetto. So we will have starvation along with a Typhus epidemic. And winter almost here. We'll need to bring in food, clothing, medicine - Maria, talkto Doctor Majkowski, see how much Typhus vaccine you can get. Since The Occupation Jadwiga has done a brilliant job of trying to balance an impossible budget. But... But, if we continue to spread our services over every district in Warsaw, we will not be helping anyone. From now on we must focus our full attention on the ghetto. Excuse me, Miss Irena. The Jewish Quarter is not our problem. Why not? The Germans put them there to protect us. Protect us from what? Maria, you are a nurse, you know very well. What do I know, tell me? They have lice, spread disease and... You know what I'm talking about. Danuta, how can half a million cramped people stay in good health. One reason, another reason what does it matter. All I know is I am not going to bring Typhus home to my family. Whatever it is you're thinking, I am sorry - I can't be part of it. Anyone else who does not agree with this direction, I will arrange a department transfer. Stefania, you have only been with us two months. I have not yet been inside the walls, but I know I must do it. Stefania. We are at war. You are a soldier now. A soldier must be tough or she cannot fight. Oh! Hold her. Hold her still, good, good. - Why do you bother? - Because we want your child to survive. If you want herto live, please, take her from me, get her out of here. I'm begging you, take her outside the wall. - I'm sorry. - It's not possible. Next! Please, Mama, go backto bed. I am fine. Do not worry. What is it? Tell me. Irena? Irenka, tell me what. Today, I understood something. Something about what? Ithought I was doing all I could but the truth is I am doing nothing. Nothing? Is it my imagination or was there a little Jewish child sleeping in your bed last night. One child is not enough! Oh Irena, you are so like your father. Little Anna has always lived outside the Ghetto. Inside the wall there are thousands of children who could be rescued. Take them out? Is that what you're thinking? Past the Gestapo? German soldiers, Jewish police? How is that possible? You are a social worker, a good social worker with the biggest heart I know but to risk everything for something you know nothing about... I remember what father used to say. You see a man drowning, you must try to save him, even if you can't swim. For you? Two loaves, please. - You are a Jew. - No, I'm not. One of those filthy little smugglers from the ghetto. No, I'm Polish. Let's see you make the sign of the cross! Let's go! With this red hair, you do not think you look Jewish? - And get yourself a cap. - Yes, miss. If you want to survive outside the Ghetto you must lie with more conviction. And learn how to cross yourself. Like this. Now, you. Again. Quickly! Very good. Get out of here. Wait! Who is it? Hide! They're coming here. Shh. I'm afraid. I want to help children inside the ghetto. It is very dangerous - too dangerous. Yes, probably, but what would it take? Well, I suppose an organized network of people you trust, enough money for each child's room and board. And if you agree, more Polish families willing to hide a Jewish child. - I will try to find some. - What about identity cards? That shouldn't be hard, if I destroy some of the parish death certificates, issue new baptismal certificates. That is all the proof Germans need for an identity card. The only thing is, how to get them out? There is someone you must talkto-- a young man who smuggles potatoes from the Aryan side, he works in Korczak's orphanage. Ask him to introduce you to Stefan Zgrzembski. - Zgrzembski? - Yes, that's him. Guten morgen, Father. Doctor Korczak, how many children live inside the ghetto? Including all the ones who live in the streets? There must be at least eighty thousand, half under the age of ten. Be brave now. Have you evertried to get any out? Out to where? Not so many Poles want to hide a Jewish child. And how many Jews would let their children live with Gentiles? What about orphans, these ones? Even if you found a way, most of mine could not survive outside the wall. - Why not? - She only speaks Yiddish. Is that not right? They all speak excellent Yiddish. Polish, that's another matter. And they are all beautiful but most are not passable as Aryan. Irena? Oh, Stefan. It's been a long time. Irena is here to see you. You attended my classes together. Yes, a long time ago. Let me deal with these horrible little savages! I have found something here with Doctor Korczak and the children. I am glad. But you still smuggle potatoes. Irena Sendler, always straight to the point. Tell me how. I know a few safe ways to get out, the courthouse has two ways out, one from the ghetto side and one from the Aryan side. That's in the ghetto, from the Aryan side it's by Ogrodowa street. I... I know a man with the key. - The other ways? - I can show you. The main sewer line goes all the way down to the central junction under Gdanski station. - And from there? - Anywhere you want. One line goes under Okopowa Street, another under goes under Marszalkowska, third line goes under New Town and Miodowa Street. The Germans keep the courts so busy they have forgotten this entrance. You remember our summer walks along the Vistula River? Every step. Shall we? Welcome to Warsaw. Thank you, Stefan. We will use this way first. - Be careful. - You know me. That is what I mean. Be careful about yourself. Hurry up, hurry up. Hello. You remember me? What's your name? The boy who sits beside you every day. Is he your brother? He died. I'm very sorry. Can you tell me where you live? All right. Come with me. We have hot soup. Just made for you. Are you going to get her changed in here? Yes. I think it's a good idea. - Oh, you are so hungry. - All right. We need to do something about her hair. - Can we braid it? - Please help if you would. All right. - Lets take this skirt off. - Good girl. And try a beret. It will keep you warm. Ah, much better. Good girl. You look so beautiful. Ready for a little walk in the courthouse? My name is Miriam. Come along, sweetie, we must-- Such a little trouble-maker. You have no idea. Come along, sweetheart. - You want to play with this? - Thank you. - Rabbi. - For me? Such a dashing fashion for a Rabbi. And for you, Miss Nijinska! Oh yes, I rememberthis book! - Come in. Oh, yes. Come in, come in! - Thank you Rabbi. So many people without shelter. Eva. Hannah, come here. Take this place. Shall we read a little bit? Why do I have to be a Jew? You were born into the Jewish faith. I don't like being hated by everybody. Everybody does not hate you. Yes they do. You know it's true. What did we ever do? It's not fair. No, It's not. There are ways to get out of the ghetto, ways that are still safe. - I cannot. - Yes, I know. But I've been thinking about Karolyna. Karolyna? We know Polish families who can be trusted, several priests, - convents in the countryside. - Stop, Irena! Let me ask you one thing, tell me from your heart. How is it possible for a motherto give up a child? How? Now I must ask you something - a terrible thing. No, no don't, please... If it happened that the rumors are true and if for Karolyna you had to choose between life and death... - Please, I cannot face it, I cannot. - You can, Eva - and you must. Irenka. Do you know what this author says about life? - Mama, please, I have to go. - Please. Take one moment to breathe. Please. What this writer says is in order to have a happy life, you must exercise your own free will. Interesting. Bye-bye. Which is why I would nevertell you not to do something or suggest to you that I might possibly be worried. I would never do such athing. No matter what happens. Thank you, Mama. Thank you. - What has happened? - All the Social Service programs - have been suspended. - Who has access? From now on only nurses, doctors, workers in the Health Department. Today I was told I am officially responsible for any further spread of Typhus. You know it is impossible, what do they-- Of course it's impossible. That's their point. If I cannot help myself, how can I help you? I will need Health Department work passes, four - no, no maybe five nurse's uniforms. It that all? Perhaps a larger vehicle. We will seek orphans and homeless in the market area and specific families we already know are willing to let us place their children... One of Doctor Majkowski's drivers has volunteered, Piotr Lipinski. Miss Irena. - Hello. - Hello. Thank you, Piotr. You understand the risk? Only small problems, but I am not too worried. We will take my disinfectant truck. - I beg you, keep them together. - I'm sorry, it's not possible. Sister Jolanta, please understand whatever happens they will always have each other. One slip, one word in Yiddish. They could give each other away. How will I ever find them? How will they find each other. The important thing is to survive. Take her. Please go! Tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up? A priest. Yes, very good, that's perfect! You can do it. Papers? Vehicle check. What do you have in the truck? - We have a problem. Vehicle check. - All right. Let's go for a walk. Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name... Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us ourtrespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us... Children! Let's show Miss Irena how we know our bedtime prayers. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. First month. Room and board. Is there anything else I should know? She had a brother. - This is Adam. - Hello, Adam! - Does he speak Polish? - Perfectly. Irena. Jacob! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. Is Eva all right, Karolyna? Yes, everything's the same. Eva has met with community leaders. They want to speak about - hiding their children. - Of course. You had a good instinct, to rescue Karolyna, it's risky but there is no other way. And what if my wife and I do not survive the war. Who will claim our son? I keep a record of every child. And if this record or you are destroyed? What guarantee can you give our children will survive? I can't guarantee anything, not even escape from the Ghetto. Babies pass easily but if they can speak, they must speak Polish, know Catholic hymns and prayers. My children only speak Yiddish. I understand this is very difficult. They will need to memorize their new Christian names, their new home address, the entire history of their new family, harmless gossip about their neighbors - all of it. What you are saying is we must teach our children to lie. To survive, yes. - What about conversion? - I make it clear I do not wish this. You may not wish it, but on young, impressionable minds, time and education will surely dim any memories of their past. In this case, he will grow up a good Christian. For mothers and fathers, to give away a child is an unthinkable act. This is the truth. The othertruth is Hitler calls Jews a cancer on the nation and speaks openly about the annihilation of every Jew on the continent. Outside these walls there are Poles prepared to risktheir lives to save your children. We Jews - We Jews have survived in the hardest times. And now we are faced with another extinction. Perhaps this time we can only be saved by a new generation of Jews. How wise are we to take away the birthright of this new generation? I recommend we considerthis proposal. Thank you. I am not in favor of sending our children into such a dubious world. Now America is in the war. This news favors our liberation and forthis, we should wait. Our dear friend has presented us with the difficulttruths of ourtime. We should thank her for her courage to speak. Quickly. Jasio go back, there's another bag! - No! I will not. - Go get it! Let me go!!! No, No!!! Sister Jolanta. Walk with me. Please, please. My name is Michal Laski, I know who you are and what you do. The man you saw just now. He is Untersturmfuhrer Karl Brandt. He is in charge of Jewish Resettlement. We are told in a few months they will begin to send everyone in the ghetto to work camps in the East. - Why do you tell me this? - I have a son - Jasio, 10 years old. His... His mother died last year. He has no one. - He has you. - He lives with smugglers, goes underthe wall at night, risks his life every day. I want to get him out before he's caught and shot. If from time to time I help you, will you help me? Mr. Laski, I will help your son without conditions. If from time to time you help me, you would be helping many children, - including your son. - There's a passage through a brick wall on Twarda Street. On the other side in the abandoned house. Does your Jasio have red hair like you? Yes but thanks to God he now wears a cap. You know about this new German unit now in charge of the Ghetto. Yes, for work camp resettlement. Stefan, do not be like this. You know how many thousands of Jews have disappeared from the Lodz Ghetto. Vanished. And to where? Some place they call Resettlement. Doctor Korczak told me to prepare forthe worst. If there is no other way, that is what I must do. Where is everyone? What has happened? Books, bank accounts, invoices, reciepts they've taken over all of it. Who? Guten tag. Amen. Karolyna, can you tell us why this night is different from all other nights? Sweetheart? I know why tonight is different. Tonight is different because once we were slaves and now we are free! Jacob! Papa! I am not here for Sedar. I have some news you must hear. Eva. The underground received information verified by Polish train machinists, some lucky Jews who escaped, even from a few good Germans. They all say camps are being built. Concentration camps, work camps. Auschwitz is like this, we know. You remember the thousands of Jews who were deported from Lodz, the ones who disappeared. Last week 300 train cars of clothing returned for sorting. What else, Jacob? We hear rumors they are building another camp. Treblinka. Only 90 kilometers from Warsaw where there are fake station platforms, underground bunkers. One thing they have not constructed - barracks. No barracks, I do not understand. Why no barracks? Mama, they do not... In such a camp, the only purpose is death. We need to find a way to get you out of the Ghetto. Get out, you say! Get out how? Get out to where? Papa, Irena has made an offer for Karolyna. There is a convent in the countryside. This is not possible. She will be converted! Never! Chaim! These many months I have said nothing. Now I will give my opinion. Our dearest Irenka has risked her life for us many times. Now, she has made an offer for Karolyna we must accept. - I believe a convent is best. - No, it must not be done. Chaim Rozenfeld! You have loved me since I was a little girl in pigtails and atterthese many years you know very well an opinion from me is not a suggestion. Next time, when you come she will be prepared. Irena, the Underground knows what you're doing. They want to help. There's a man you should speak to, goes by the name Trojan. 24 Zurawia Street. Zurawia, 24. For Karolyna, I promise, I will do everything... We know that, Irena. We know. I'm Trojan. - And I'm Victor. - Who do you represent? - Konrad Zegota. - Why me? What do you know? You created an efficient network, saved many children. So far no one has been betrayed or exposed. We, with the Underground, have a good deal of money, and contacts. It could be a good arrangement. - This money, where does it come from? - Polish government in exile in London. - To help Jews? - Zegota exists only for that. - Who is Konrad Zegota? - He does not exist. Which makes him hard to find, especially for Germans who will never stop looking. What is your proposal? We will help you rescue children. If you agree. I agree. We'll give you money, Aryan papers, work records. You'll get them while picking up the linen from the laundry at Bracka street, near the Three Crosses Square. This will be our contact point. - Looks like we're back in business. - Let me count. Look. Identification cards. Very good work. These will do. - What's going on? - They're deporting adults and children. - Orphanages? - Yes. Stefan. Stefan. You must get out. Do it, for me, forthe children. You must see and remember and tell the world. - No. - Go. Go on. Quickly. Now. Go, go, quickly! You know how to do it. May God walk with you. Go! Go! Thanks be to God! They took all the children. I saw them, I couldn't do anything about it. I've heard this news. Who told you? Your friend. Let's go son, don't be afraid I'll hide you to keep you warm. Are you ok? - There is a chance today. - Please, one more day, just one. Now it is possible, tomorrow is uncertain. We can't do it now. Please, one more day, just one. Now it's possible. Tomorrow is uncertain. Tomorrow he will be ready, I promise. You mustn't lock the door. Jews who refuse to leave the building will be executed. Run downstairs, run. No more courthouse entrance. A big problem. Oh, stop fiddling, You're making me nervous. You need to get more rest. For Heaven's sake, if I'd had a stroke, I'd be dead. I'm telling you, I got up too fast, I fainted. That's all. You are in bad condition, I'm not joking. You are a very brave young woman. Stefan? There's room for two. What are you doing? A little carpentry. What do you think? I feel a little bit confined. I think I need to get out. It's, it's not opening. It's stuck. It, it, hmm... Can you please try? Please. - It's stuckfrom the outside. - No. Please, open it. Please. OK. All right, I need to, we need to get out of here. We must call your mother. Mama? Irenka? Jasio? Jasio? Do you remember? I can't leave them. I will not. You, you have done a good thing, Jasio, a very important thing and it may be hard to understand but the future will need your compassion even more than now. Which is why tomorrow you must save yourself. You know the coal room? Where the Rabbis study? Two o'clocktomorrow my friend will meet you there. She wears bright red lipstick. Be strong, say your good byes. I will never see you again. I will never see any of you again, any of you. Yes, you will, I promise. No, you can't promise. Nobody can promise anything any more! Darling. Darling, darling, I love you with all my heart. My love for you is so big and strong it will never go away. It will always be with you. Whenever you think of me, I will be there, right over your shoulder. Forever and ever. - Your name? - Aniela Procowna. - And where are you from? - Krakow, Poland. But when I grow up I want to live in Bavaria. My uncle says Germany is much more beautiful... - Your name? - Aniela Procowna. - And where are you from? - Krakow, Poland. But when I grow up I want to live in Bavaria. My uncle... Quick, quick in! Out, out. Get out of here. Out, get out! Out. Out! I will not! Jasio? Mr. Laski! Out, out! You - come with me! And you, come! Move. Get away from here - but slowly. - I saw Jasio. He will get out. - Thank you. Maria. Jasio? I know. Come. Come. Jasio! Jasio! Jasio! Jasio! No! Let me through. Jasio! Jasio! Jasio! Papa, papa. - I tried to get out but they-- - It's all right, it's all right. All that matters is that we are together. Hold onto to me so we don't get separated. Faster, faster. Hold on to me, hold on to me. -Simon! There has been a mistake! No! He's my son! My family is protected! All Jews inside! My family is protected! Everyone inside! Papa! Jasio! Papa! Papa! Jasio, I understand now why you lived in the street. It was God's way to make you strong so you can survive. Here, give him my sweater. I cannot do it. I'm afraid, Papa. Please, I can't. - Yes, you can. Yes, you can. - No. I can't. Please. I'm afraid. Jasio, listen to me. Land on your elbows, keep your head down. - Come with me. - Keep your head down and stay still until you see the train is gone. I love you, Papa. Then you must run as fast as you can into the trees. I love you, Papa. Please! Come with me. I don't want to please! Shh. Shh! Be quiet! You must be brave. I can't! Papa! I can't. Please come with me. Please. One. - No! Please! - One, two. Papa! Three! my God. Look at that. Thank you. My darling. Children! Children, shh. Children, this is Anielka. She will be joining us. Please don't leave me, please. This war will end and you will survive to be a mother and tell your story. And one day, if we are both very clever, I will find you. I promise. Now there is something you must promise me. You must promise that you will always rememberthat you are the famous Miss Nijinska, Prima ballerina. I love you. Me too. Go on, now. Shouldn't you have taught me this as a child? - Over and under. - It's beautifull. - You are so mean. - It is a mess do it again. - He's telling the truth. - It's hideouos. This is never going to be... I give up. I will do it. Irena Sendler? lam. - Look in the bathroom and kitchen. Do you have Jews here? Of course not. It's against the law. We'll find out. You will come with us. Let me get a few things. There's no need. Irena Sendler, good afternoon. I work for Department of Social Services. I know. I know. Your father was a doctor, worked with Jews. - He worked with anyone who was sick. - Yes. Until the Jews gave him Typhus. Who is Konrad Zegota? Who? Who is Konrad Zegota? I don't know. Who is Konrad Zegota? I don't know. You have been denounced by many people. For example, the little shop where you pick up your laundry on Bracka Street near Three Crosses Square. We know you are not so involved with these criminals. And if you tell us where to find this man you will not be executed. Sendler, out! What does it mean? Sendler. Dentist. ZEGOTA WILL HELP. You're wasting yourtime and mine. I'm ordered to place a dressing, I place a dressing. For what? She will be dead in the morning. I do what I'm told, that's all. Stefania? You're alive! I swear, Itold them nothing. I was quiet as a mouse. - You know I would never betray you. - As a good soldier. - Yes. - A good soldier. You have done very well. Everyone out! Out! Not you! No! No, wait. Wait! Aim! Fire! Get away from here! Go! Go! Go! But, I, I don't have my identification card! Stupid woman! You are dead! With them. Go! Run away! Get out! Irena! Viktor. They'll find out. And they'll look for you. I'll be safe. You mother is right, your feet need a specialist. I know it's hard but please try not to walktoo much. Promise me... you won't come to my funeral. - Mama, don't say such things. - Promise me. Irenka. Can Itell you something. I'm... proud... of you. Very proud So many I could not save. You've done a good and decent thing. In this world that's not so bad. It's time. We must be in the mountains before dark. Mama. Don't worry, I'll be fine. Go. Wait, Irena. Trojan. Thank you so much for all you've done. No. Thank you. There's something Konrad Zegota must have. They're all here. Every child. Where we hid them. When all this is over, they must be returned to whatever remains of their families. I will do it. I promise. Thank you. From now on you are Klara Dabrowska. Once upon atime, there was a little girl I am so fond of stories that begin that way. I have kielbasa, bread... - You like? - Yes, I do. Good! - First, you must come meet my pigs. - Really Piotr, that's not necessary. One thing I can say about town folk, they make terrible farmers. Please, let me down. Oh, thank God. - Are you all right? - Now, yes We must fight for what is good. Good must prevail. It must prevail and I believe in this. As long as I'm alive... as long as I have strength... I will say good is best. Love, tolerance and humility - -that's it. Print out: Laser Film Text (Warsaw) www.laserfilmtext.pl

Contents

Biography

Before World War II

Sendler was born on 15 February 1910 in Warsaw,[7] to Stanisław Henryk Krzyżanowski, a physician, and his wife, Janina Karolina (née Grzybowska).[8] She was baptized on 2 February 1917 in Otwock as Irena Stanisława Krzyżanowska.[9] She grew up in Otwock, a town about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Warsaw, where there was a Jewish community.[10] Her father, a humanitarian who treated the very poor, including Jews, free of charge,[11] died in February 1917 from typhus contracted from his patients.[12] After his death, the Jewish community offered financial help for the widow and her daughter, though Janina Krzyżanowska declined their assistance.[8][13]

From 1927, Sendler studied law for two years and then Polish literature at the University of Warsaw, interrupting her studies for several years from 1932 to 1937.[8][14] She opposed the ghetto benches system practiced in the 1930s at many Polish institutions of higher learning (from 1937 at the University of Warsaw) and defaced the "non-Jewish" identification on her grade card.[15][16][17] She reported having suffered from academic disciplinary measures because of her activities and reputation as a communist and philo-Semite. By the outbreak of World War II she submitted her magister degree thesis, but had not taken the final exams.[17] Sendler joined the Union of Polish Democratic Youth (Związek Polskiej Młodzieży Demokratycznej) in 1928; during the war she became a member of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS).[17][18][19] She was repeatedly refused employment in the Warsaw school system because of negative recommendations issued by the university, which ascribed radically leftist views to her.[14]

Sendler became associated with social and educational units of the Free Polish University (Wolna Wszechnica Polska), where she met and was influenced by activists from the illegal Communist Party of Poland. At Wszechnica Sendler belonged to a group of social workers led by Professor Helena Radlińska; a dozen or more women from that circle would later engage in rescuing Jews. From her social work on-site interviews Sendler recalled many cases of extreme poverty that she encountered among the Jewish population of Warsaw.[16][20]

Sendler was employed in a legal counseling and social help clinic, the Section for Mother and Child Assistance at the Citizen Committee for Helping the Unemployed. She published two pieces in 1934, both concerned with the situation of children born out of wedlock and their mothers. She worked mostly in the field, crisscrossing Warsaw's impoverished neighborhoods, and her clients were helpless, socially disadvantaged women.[21] In 1935, the government abolished the section. Many of its members became employees of the City of Warsaw, including Sendler in the Department of Social Welfare and Public Health.[22]

Sendler married Mieczysław Sendler in 1931.[8] He was mobilized for war, captured as a soldier in September 1939 and remained in a German prisoner of war camp until 1945; they divorced in 1947.[23][24] She then married Stefan Zgrzembski (born Adam Celnikier), a Jewish friend and wartime companion, by whom she had three children, Janina, Andrzej (who died in infancy), and Adam (who died of heart failure in 1999). In 1957 Zgrzembski left the family; he died in 1961 and Irena remarried her first husband, Mieczysław Sendler.[25] Ten years later they divorced again.[26][27]

During World War II

Announcement of death penalty for Jews found outside the ghetto and for Poles helping Jews in any way, 1941
Announcement of death penalty for Jews found outside the ghetto and for Poles helping Jews in any way, 1941

Soon after the German invasion, on 1 November 1939, the German occupation authorities ordered Jews removed from the staff of the municipal Social Welfare Department where Sendler worked and barred the department from providing any assistance to Warsaw's Jewish citizens. Sendler with her colleagues and activists from the department's PPS cell became involved in helping the wounded and sick Polish soldiers. On Sendler's initiative the cell began generating false medical documents, needed by the soldiers and poor families to obtain aid. Her PPS comrades unaware, Sendler extended such assistance also to her Jewish charges, who were now officially served only by the Jewish community institutions.[18] With Jadwiga Piotrowska, Jadwiga Sałek-Deneko and Irena Schultz, Sendler also created other false references and pursued ingenious schemes in order to help Jewish families and children excluded from their department's social welfare protection.[8][18]

Around four hundred thousand Jews were crowded into a small portion of the city designated as the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazis sealed the area in November 1940.[28] As employees of the Social Welfare Department,[29] Sendler and Schultz gained access to special permits for entering the ghetto to check for signs of typhus, a disease the Germans feared would spread beyond the ghetto.[30][31][28] Under the pretext of conducting sanitary inspections, they brought medications and cleanliness items and sneaked clothing, food, and other necessities into the ghetto. For Sendler, one initial motivation for the expanding ghetto aid operation were her friends, acquaintances and former colleagues who ended up on the Jewish side of the wall, beginning with Adam Celnikier (he managed to leave the ghetto at the time of its liquidation).[28] Sendler and other social workers would eventually help the Jews who escaped or arrange for smuggling out babies and small children from the ghetto using various means available.[32] Transferring Jews out of the ghetto and facilitating their survival elsewhere became an urgent priority in the summer of 1942, at the time of the Great Action.[33]

This work was done at huge risk, as—since October 1941—giving any kind of assistance to Jews in German-occupied Poland was punishable by death, not just for the person who was providing the help but also for their entire family or household.[34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

Sendler joined the Polish Socialists, a left-wing branch of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS). The Polish Socialists evolved into the Polish Socialist Workers' Party (RPPS), which cooperated with the communist Polish Workers' Party (PPR). Sendler was known there by her conspiratorial pseudonym Klara and among her duties were searching for places to stay, issuing fake documents and being a liaison, guiding activists to clandestine meetings. In the RPPS there were Poles she knew, involved in saving Jews, as well as Jews that she had helped. Sendler participated in the secret life of the ghetto. She described a commemoration event there, on the anniversary of the October Revolution but in the spirit of the Polish leftist tradition; it included artistic performances by children.[19] While in the ghetto, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people.[31]

Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto
Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto

The Jewish ghetto was a functioning community and to many Jews seemed the safest available place for themselves and their children. In addition, survival on the outside was plausible only for people with access to financial resources. This calculation lost its validity in July 1942, when the Germans proceeded with the liquidation of the ghetto in Warsaw, to be followed by the extermination of its residents. Sendler and her associates—as related by Jonas Turkow—could take a small number of children, and a certain number could be accepted and supported by Christian institutions, but a larger-scale action was prevented by the lack of funds. Initial funds for transfer and maintenance of ghetto children were provided by members of the Jewish community, still in existence, in cooperation with women from the Welfare Department. Sendler and others, in accordance with their mission, wanted to help the neediest children (such as orphans) first. Turkow, who contacted Wanda Wyrobek and Sendler to take out of the ghetto and arrange care for his daughter Margarita, wanted to prioritize children of the most "deserving" (accomplished) people.[42]

During the Great Action, Sendler kept entering or trying to enter the ghetto. She made desperate attempts to save her friends, but among her former Welfare Department associates unable or unwilling to leave the ghetto were Ewa Rechtman and Ala Gołąb-Grynberg. According to Jadwiga Piotrowska, who saved numerous Jewish children,[43] during the Great Action people from the Welfare Department operated individually (had no organization or leader). Other accounts suggest that women from that group concentrated on making arrangements for Jews who had already left the ghetto, and that Sendler in particular took care of adults and adolescents.[42]

Żegota (the Council to Aid Jews) was an underground organization that originated on 27 September 1942 as the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews, led by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, a resistance fighter and writer.[16][44][45] By that time, most Polish Jews were no longer alive. Żegota, established on 4 December 1942, was a new form of the committee, expanded by the participation of Jewish parties and chaired by Julian Grobelny.[45] It was financed by the founder of the Provisional Committee, the Government Delegation for Poland, a Polish Underground State institution representing the Polish government-in-exile.[45] Working for Żegota from January 1943, Sendler functioned as a coordinator of the Welfare Department network. They distributed money grants that became available from Żegota. Regular payments, however insufficient for the needs, enhanced their ability to assist the hiding Jews.[46] In 1963, Sendler specifically listed 29 people she worked with within the Żegota operation, adding that 15 more perished during the war.[47] In regard to the action of saving Jewish children, according to a 1975 opinion written by Sendler's former Welfare Department co-workers, she was the most active and organizationally gifted of participants.[42]

During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a network of emergency shelters was created by Sendler's group: private residencies where Jews could be temporarily housed, while Żegota worked on producing documents and finding longer-term locations for them. Many Jewish children went through the homes of Izabella Kuczkowska, Zofia Wędrychowska, and other social workers.[48] Helena Rybak and Jadwiga Koszutska were activists from the communist underground.[49]

Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.

— Irena Sendler

In August 1943, Żegota set up its children's section, directed by Aleksandra Dargiel, a manager in the Central Welfare Council (RGO). Dargiel, overwhelmed by her RGO duties, resigned in September and proposed Sendler to be her replacement. Sendler, then known by her nom de guerre Jolanta, took over the section from October 1943.[50]

Permanently, Jewish children were placed by Sendler's network with Polish families (25%), in Warsaw orphanage of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary led by Mother Provincial Matylda Getter, Roman Catholic convents such as the Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Turkowice (sisters Aniela Polechajłło and Antonina Manaszczuk) or the Felician Sisters, in Boduen Home charity facilities for children, and other orphanages (75%).[51][52] A nun convent offered the best opportunity for a Jewish child to survive and be taken care of. To accomplish the transfers and placement of children, Sendler worked closely with other volunteers.[44][51] The children were often given Christian names and taught Christian prayers in case they were tested.[53] Sendler wanted to preserve the children's Jewish identities, so she kept careful documentation listing their Christian names, given names, and current locations.[53][b]

According to American historian Debórah Dwork, Sendler was the inspiration and the prime mover for the whole network that saved Jewish children.[54] She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. The aim was to return the children to their original families, if still alive after the war.[15]

Irena Sendler in December 1944
Irena Sendler in December 1944

On 18 October 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo.[16][55] As they ransacked her house, Sendler tossed the lists of children to her friend Janina Grabowska, who hid the list in her loose clothing.[53][55] Should the Gestapo access this information, all children would be compromised, but Grabowska was never searched. The Gestapo took Sendler to their headquarters and beat her brutally.[55] Despite this, she refused to betray any of her comrades or the children they rescued. She was placed in the Pawiak prison, where she was subjected to further interrogations and beatings,[55] and from there on 13 November taken to another location, to be executed by firing squad.[55] According to biographer Anna Mieszkowska and Sendler, these events took place on 20 January.[56] Her life was saved, however, because the German guards escorting her were bribed, and she was released on the way to the execution.[16][31][55] Sendler was freed due to the efforts of Maria Palester, a fellow Welfare Department activist, who obtained the necessary funds from Żegota chief Julian Grobelny; she used her contacts and a teenage daughter to transfer the bribe money.[55] On 30 November, Warsaw's mayor Julian Kulski asked the German authorities for permission to re-employ Sendler in the Welfare Department with back-pay for the period of her imprisonment. Permission was granted on 14 April 1944, but Sendler found it prudent to remain in hiding, as Klara Dąbrowska, a nurse.[57] Already in mid-December 1943, she resumed her duties as manager of the children's section of Żegota.[58]

During the Warsaw Uprising, Sendler worked as a nurse in a field hospital, where a number of Jews were hidden among other patients. She was wounded by a German deserter she encountered while searching for food.[8][59] She continued to work as a nurse until the Germans left Warsaw, retreating before the advancing Soviet troops.[8]

After World War II

Sendler's hospital, now at Okęcie, previously supported by Żegota, ran out of resources. She hitchhiked in military trucks to Lublin, to obtain funding from the communist government established there, and then helped Maria Palester to reorganize the hospital as the Warsaw's Children Home. Sendler also resumed other social work activities and quickly advanced within the new structures, in December 1945 becoming head of the Department of Social Welfare in Warsaw's municipal government. She ran her department according to concepts, radical at the time, that she had learned from Helena Radlińska at the Free University.[60]

Sendler and her co-workers gathered all of the records with the names and locations of the hidden Jewish children and gave them to their Żegota colleague Adolf Berman and his staff at the Central Committee of Polish Jews.[61][62] Almost all of the children's parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or had gone missing.[31][8] Berman and Sendler both felt that the Jewish children should be reunited with "their nation", but argued vehemently about specific aims and methods; most children were taken out of Poland.[62]

Over the years, among Sendler's social and formal functions were a membership in Warsaw City Council, chairmanships of the Commission for Widows and Orphans and of the Health Commission there, activity in the League of Women and in the managing councils of the Society of Friends of Children and the Society for Lay Schools.[63]

Sendler joined the communist Polish Workers' Party in January 1947 and remained a member of its successor, the Polish United Workers' Party, until the party's dissolution in 1990.[64] According to the research done by Anna Bikont, in 1947 Sendler advanced to the party executive by becoming a member of the Social Welfare Section at the Central Committee's Social-Vocational Department. From then she continuously held a succession of high-level party and administrative posts during the entire Stalinist period and beyond, including the jobs of department director in the Ministry of Education from 1953 and of department director in the Ministry of Health in 1958–1962.[65][66] Especially prior to 1950, Sendler was heavily involved in Central Committee work and party activism, which included implementation of social rules and propagation of ideas dictated by the Stalinist doctrine, and policy enforcement; by engaging in such pursuits, she abandoned some of her previously held views and lost some important acquaintances.[65][67] After the fall of communism, however, Sendler claimed having been brutally interrogated in 1949 by the Ministry of Public Security, accused of hiding among her employees politically active former members of the Home Army (AK), a resistance organization loyal during the war to the Polish government-in-exile.[16][64][65][68] She attributed the premature birth of her son Andrzej, who did not survive, to such persecution.[8][12] Anna Bikont quoted Władysław Bartoszewski, who asserted before his death in 2015 that Sendler was not persecuted in communist Poland.[67] Her continuing employment in high-level state positions also speaks against the possibility that she was a subject of serious investigation.[65][b]

In the Polish People's Republic, Sendler received at least six decorations, including the Gold Cross of Merit (Złoty Krzyż Zasługi) for the wartime saving of Jews in 1946, another Gold Cross of Merit in 1956, and the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1963.[62] Materials dealing with her activities during the war were published,[27][67] but Sendler became a well-known public personality only after being "rediscovered" by the group from an American high school in 2000 (at the age of ninety).[69] She was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Polish Righteous Among the Nations and received her award at the embassy of Israel in Warsaw in 1965, together with Irena Schultz.[31][70] In 1983 she traveled to Israel, invited by Yad Vashem Institute for the tree-planting ceremony.[8][71][72][70][b]

From 1962, Sendler worked as deputy director in several Warsaw trade medical schools.[68][73] At every stage of her career, she worked long hours and was intensely involved in various social work programs, such as helping teenage prostitutes in the ruins of post-war Warsaw recover and return to society, organizing a number of orphanages and care centers for children, families and the elderly, or a center for prostitutes in Henryków. She was known for her effectiveness and displayed a sharp edge when confronted with obstruction or indifference.[68][63]

Sendler's husband, Stefan Zgrzembski, never shared her enthusiasm for the post-1945 reality. Their marriage kept deteriorating. According to Janina Zgrzembska, their daughter, neither parent paid much attention to the two children. Sendler was entirely consumed by her social work passion and career, at the expense of her own offspring, who were raised by a housekeeper.[74][75] Around 1956, Sendler asked Teresa Körner, whom she helped during the war and who was now in Israel, to assist her with immigration to Israel with children, who were Jewish and not safe in Poland. Körner discouraged Sendler's move.[74]

In the spring of 1967, suffering from a variety of health problems, including a heart condition and anxiety disorder, Sendler applied for disability pension. She was dismissed from the school's vice-principal position in May 1967, shortly before the Arab–Israeli War.[76] From the fall of 1967, she continued working at the same school as a teacher, manager of teacher workshops and librarian, until her 1983 retirement.[8][76] According to Sendler, in 1967 her daughter Janina was removed from the already published list of students admitted to the University of Warsaw, but Janina reported that she had simply failed to satisfy the admission requirements.[16][76] The antisemitic campaign of 1967–68 in Poland left Sendler deeply traumatized.[76]

Sendler never told her children of the Jewish origin of their father; Janina Zgrzembska found out as an adult. It wouldn't make any difference, she said: the way they were brought up, race or origin didn't matter.[77]

In 1980, Sendler joined the Solidarity movement.[8] She lived in Warsaw for the remainder of her life. She died on 12 May 2008, aged 98, and is buried in Warsaw's Powązki Cemetery.[32][78][79][80]

Recognition and remembrance

Sendler with some people she saved as children, Warsaw, 2005
Sendler with some people she saved as children, Warsaw, 2005

In 1965, Sendler was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Polish Righteous Among the Nations.[a] In 1983 she was present when a tree was planted in her honor at the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.[81]

In 1991, Sendler was made an honorary citizen of Israel.[82] On 12 June 1996, she was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.[83][84] She received a higher version of this award, the Commander's Cross with Star, on 7 November 2001.[85]

Sendler's achievements were largely unknown in North America until 1999, when students at a high school in Uniontown, Kansas, led by their teacher Norman Conard, produced a play based on their research into her life story, which they called Life in a Jar. The play was a surprising success, staged over 200 times in the United States and abroad, and it significantly contributed to publicizing Sendler's story.[86] In March 2002, Temple B'nai Jehudah of Kansas City presented Sendler, Conard, and the students who produced the play with its annual award "for contributions made to saving the world" (Tikkun olam award). The play was adapted for television as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (2009), directed by John Kent Harrison, in which Sendler was portrayed by actress Anna Paquin.[87][88]

In 2003, Pope John Paul II sent Sendler a personal letter praising her wartime efforts.[89][90] On 10 November 2003, she received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest civilian decoration,[91] and the Polish-American award, the Jan Karski Award "For Courage and Heart", given by the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, D.C.[92]

In 2006, Polish NGOs Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej and Stowarzyszenie Dzieci Holocaustu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, and the Life in a Jar Foundation established the Irena Sendler's Award "For Repairing the World" (pl:Nagroda imienia Ireny Sendlerowej "Za naprawianie świata"), awarded to Polish and American teachers.[93][94] The Life in a Jar Foundation is a foundation dedicated to promoting the attitude and message of Irena Sendler.[94]

In 2007, and again in 2008, Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize,[95] with support from numerous prominent personalities along with the International Federation of Social Workers.[81] On 14 March 2007, Sendler was honoured by the Senate of Poland,[96] and a year later, on 30 July, by the United States Congress. On 11 April 2007, she received the Order of the Smile; at that time, she was the oldest recipient of the award.[97][98] In 2007 she became an honorary citizen of the cities of Warsaw and Tarczyn.[99]

Posthumously

Irena Sendler in 2005
Irena Sendler in 2005

In April 2009 Sendler was posthumously granted the Humanitarian of the Year award from The Sister Rose Thering Endowment,[100] and in May 2009, Sendler was posthumously granted the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award.[101]

Around this time American filmmaker Mary Skinner filmed a documentary, Irena Sendler, In the Name of Their Mothers (Polish: Dzieci Ireny Sendlerowej), featuring the last interviews Sendler gave before her death. The film made its national U.S. broadcast premiere through KQED Presents on PBS in May 2011 in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day[102] and went on to receive several awards, including the 2012 Gracie Award for outstanding public television documentaries.[103]

In 2013 the walkway in front of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw was named after Sendler.[104]

In 2010 a memorial plaque commemorating Sendler was added to the wall of 2 Pawińskiego Street in Warsaw – a building in which she worked from 1932 to 1935. In 2015 she was honoured with another memorial plaque at 6 Ludwiki Street, where she lived from the 1930s to 1943.[105] Several schools in Poland have also been named after her.[106]

In 2016, a permanent exhibit was established to honor Sendler's life at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes museum, in Fort Scott, KS.[107]

Gal Gadot has been cast to play Sendler in a historic thriller written by Justine Juel Gillmer and produced by Pilot Wave.[108]

Literature

In 2010, Polish historian Anna Mieszkowska wrote a biography Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust.[109] In 2011, Jack Mayer tells the story of the four Kansas school girls and their discovery of Irena Sendler in his novel Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.[106]

In 2016, Irena's Children, a book about Sendler written by Tilar J. Mazzeo, was released by Simon & Schuster. A version adapted to be read by children was created by Mary Cronk Farell.[110] Another children's picture book titled Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust, is written by Jennifer Roy.

Sendlerowa. W ukryciu ('Sendler: In Hiding'), a biography and book about the people and events related to Sendler's wartime activities, was written by Anna Bikont and published in 2017. The book received the 2018 Ryszard Kapuściński Award for Literary Reportage.

Gallery

See also

Notes

a.^ Sendler was one of the first Poles recognized as Righteous Among the Nations due to the efforts of Jonas Turkow, who stated for a Polish language periodical in Israel: "This noble woman ... worked for Żegota and saved hundreds of Jewish children, placing them in orphanages, convents and other places".[111] The number of Jewish children saved through Sendler's efforts is not known. The Social Welfare Department of the Central Committee of Polish Jews stated in January 1947 that Sendler saved at least several dozen Jewish children.[112] Later in her life, Sendler repeatedly claimed that she had saved 2,500 Jewish children. When Michał Głowiński, who as a child survived the war with Sendler's help, was working on his book The Black Seasons in the late 1990s, Sendler insisted that he writes about the 2,500 children she saved. As Głowiński later told Anna Bikont, he felt obliged to comply because "one cannot refuse Sendler". Sendler often spoke of the list of 2,500 children she produced, kept in two bottles and gave to Adolf Berman, but no such list has ever materialized and Berman never mentioned its existence.[113] For the first time she talked about the list and the 2,500 saved children (and adults) in 1979; back then, however, she did not suggest that she was personally responsible for their survival and named twenty four people also involved in their rescue.[114]

b.^ Actual events tend to be difficult to reconstruct because later, purposely or inadvertently, for different audiences and at different times, Sendler told different stories with aspects that were mutually incompatible or contrary to known facts.[51] For example, in 1998 Sendler claimed that the communist authorities kept refusing to issue her passport for twenty years, despite the invitations from Yad Vashem she had been receiving during that period. Anna Bikont found those claims to be false. The passport was refused 1981, after the first such invitation, because of the lack of diplomatic relations with Israel, and the decision was reversed in 1983. Previously Sendler also had a passport: on several occasions she went to Sweden to visit her son, who was receiving medical treatment there.[115]

References

  1. ^ Irena Sendler. An unsung heroine. Lest We Forget. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  2. ^ Mordecai Paldiel, The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Ktav Publishing House (January 1993), ISBN 0-88125-376-6
  3. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/mar/15/secondworldwar.poland
  4. ^ Baczynska, Gabriela (12 May 2008). Jon Boyle (ed.). "Sendler, savior of Warsaw Ghetto children, dies". Reuters. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Rethinking the Polish Underground". Yeshiva University News.
  6. ^ Atwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 48. ISBN 9781556529610.
  7. ^ "Facts about Irena — Life in a Jar". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Polscy Sprawiedliwi – Przywracanie Pamięci". sprawiedliwi.org.pl (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  9. ^ Bikont, Sendlerowa, p. 51
  10. ^ "Irena Sendler — Rescuer of the Children of Warsaw". www.chabad.org. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  11. ^ Joshua D. Zimmerman (2015). The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939–1945. Cambridge University Press. p. 304.
  12. ^ a b "Biografia Ireny Sendlerowej". tak.opole.pl (in Polish). Zespół Szkół TAK im. Ireny Sendlerowej.
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Bibliography

  • Anna Bikont, Sendlerowa. W ukryciu ('Sendler: In Hiding'), Wydawnictwo Czarne, Wołowiec 2017, ISBN 978-83-8049-609-5
  • Yitta Halberstam & Judith Leventhal, Small Miracles of the Holocaust, The Lyons Press; 1st edition (13 August 2008), ISBN 978-1-59921-407-8
  • Richard Lukas, Forgotten Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation ISBN 978-0-7006-1350-2
  • Anna Mieszkowska, IRENA SENDLER Mother of the Holocaust Children Publisher: Praeger; Tra edition (18 November 2010) Language: English ISBN 978-0-313-38593-3
  • Mordecai Paldiel, The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Ktav Publishing House (January 1993), ISBN 9780881253764
  • Irene Tomaszewski & Tecia Werblowski, Zegota: The Council to Aid Jews in Occupied Poland 1942–1945, Price-Patterson, ISBN 1-896881-15-7

External links

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