[61], 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. [27] As employees of the Social Welfare Department,[28] 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. [91][92] The Life in a Jar Foundation is a foundation dedicated to promoting the attitude and message of Irena Sendler. [101] Several schools in Poland have also been named after her. [31] 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. 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. The aim was to return the children to their original families, if still alive after the war. [19] While in the ghetto, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people.

The DVD is a great secondary addition to reading the “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project” book by Jack Mayer.


[64][65] 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. 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. The Life in a Jar Foundation is a foundation dedicated to promoting the attitude and message of Irena Sendler. [106], In 2010, Polish historian Anna Mieszkowska wrote a biography Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust.

On 14 March 2007, Sendler was honoured by the Senate of Poland, and a year later, on 30 July, by the United States Congress. 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. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to feel the worst and the best of what we human beings are capable of doing and being.”, Timeline of Irena Sendler’s Life and the Life in a Jar Project. [47] Helena Rybak and Jadwiga Koszutska were activists from the communist underground. [111] 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. Mordecai Paldiel "Churches and the Holocaust: unholy teaching, good samaritans, and reconciliation" pp. [29][30][27] Under the pretext of conducting sanitary inspections, they brought medications and cleanliness items and sneaked clothing, food, and other necessities into the ghetto. [9] She grew up in Otwock, a town about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Warsaw, where there was a Jewish community. [64][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. [85][86], In 2003, Pope John Paul II sent Sendler a personal letter praising her wartime efforts. Browse our photo gallery for a photo and information on Irena’s mother and father. Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer is a powerful story of the Holocaust and more. [83], 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. [75] 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.
Read on for additional information.

[94][95] In 2007 she became an honorary citizen of the cities of Warsaw and Tarczyn. [30], The Jewish ghetto was a functioning community and to many Jews seemed the safest available place for themselves and their children. To accomplish the transfers and placement of children, Sendler worked closely with other volunteers. [66] Her continuing employment in high-level state positions also speaks against the possibility that she was a subject of serious investigation. According to Janina Zgrzembska, their daughter, neither parent paid much attention to the two children. [64][66] 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. Life in a Jar is a dynamic program touching the Holocaust, ethics, education, respect and unsung heroes. According to Jadwiga Piotrowska, who saved numerous Jewish children,[42] during the Great Action people from the Welfare Department operated individually (had no organization or leader). [79], In 1991, Sendler was made an honorary citizen of Israel. It is also the inspirational story of students from Kansas, each carrying their own painful burden, each called in their own complex way to the history of a Catholic woman who knocked on Jewish doors in the Warsaw ghetto and, in Sendler’s own words, “tried to talk the mothers out of their children.” Inspired by Irena Sendler, they are living examples of the power of one person to change the world and models for young people everywhere.” The proceeds are used to care for Holocaust rescuers who are still alive. There is a discount available if purchasing the book in bulk amounts. Sendler was entirely consumed by her social work passion and career, at the expense of her own offspring, who were raised by a housekeeper. [55] Her life was saved, however, because the German guards escorting her were bribed, and she was released on the way to the execution. A version adapted to be read by children was created by Mary Cronk Farell. [43][50] The children were often given Christian names and taught Christian prayers in case they were tested. What an insipiring woman!”, “Would love to see this book as part of every school curriculum. Permission was granted on 14 April 1944, but Sendler found it prudent to remain in hiding, as Klara Dąbrowska, a nurse. Mordecai Paldiel, The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Ktav Publishing House (January 1993). [48], In August 1943, Żegota set up its children's section, directed by Aleksandra Dargiel, a manager in the Central Welfare Council (RGO). I let myself cry through many pages, horrified at how human beings can treat other human beings. Irena Sendler's tree on the Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Israel, Irena Sendler's grave in Warsaw's Powązki Cemetery, A memorial plaque on the wall of 2 Pawińskiego Street in Warsaw, The walkway in front of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews named after Irena Sendler, A bronze plaque in Piotrków Trybunalski telling some of her story, 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".

[21] In 1935, the government abolished the section. 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. [54] According to biographer Anna Mieszkowska and Sendler, these events took place on 20 January. [56] Already in mid-December 1943, she resumed her duties as manager of the children's section of Żegota. [53] She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities.

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