Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Irena Sendler: An Ordinary Woman Who Risked Her Life to Save Jewish Children During WWII

I was tremendously blessed by the story in LA Times a couple of days ago about Irena Sendler. She saved about 3,000 Jewish children during WWII.

She was just an ordinary Christian woman caught in an extraordinary situation. When she found out what was going on, she risked her life and smuggled children out of Jewish ghettos in suitcases, boxes, etc.

Here's an excerpt:

"By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends -- a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women -- and began rescuing Jewish children.

She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second. One of Sendler's children told of waiting by a gate in darkness as a German soldier patrolled nearby. When the soldier passed, the boy counted to 30, then made a mad dash to the middle of the street, where a manhole cover opened and he was taken down into the sewers and eventually to safety.

Decades later, Sendler was still haunted by the parents' pleas, particularly of those who ultimately could not bear to be apart from their children."

At one point, she was arrested and tortured:

"During one particularly brutal torture session, her captors broke her feet and legs, and she passed out. When she awoke, a Gestapo officer told her he had accepted a bribe from her comrades in the resistance to help her escape. The officer added her name to a list of executed prisoners. Sendler went into hiding but continued her rescue efforts."

Click here to read the story. Senler died a couple of days ago. She was 98 years old.

One person can make a difference!!

1 comment:

Chris O said...

@Thank you for the story about Irena Sendler. It blessed my soul, spirit and heart. I always keep in my mind the story of another wonderful woman with a very similar story who I learned about as a young Christian..Corrie Ten Boom. She and her family also did not obtain much worldly recognition - but I know they will receive a much greater reward than can be imagined on earth