During the summer of 2013, I decided to write a term paper on people or groups who were Holocaust heroes or heroines. The paper focused on Oskar Schindler, the White Rose Society and Irena Sendler.
I had never heard of Irena Sendler before but that doesn’t make her less amazing. She risked her life to save thousands of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and concentration camps. Sendler posed as a nurse in order to enter the Ghetto. While she was inside the gates, she and others with Zegota, an underground resistance group, worked to smuggle children out in ambulances. Small children and babies were disguised as packages.
Sendler kept the real names of the children in a jar, which she planted in a friend’s garden. She planned to dig up the jar after the war in order to reunite the children with their parents.
The Nazis eventually discovered that she had been smuggling children out of the ghetto. She was sentenced to be executed. However, Zegota bribed her guard and she was released. Her name was on the list of those that had been executed. So Sendler remained in hiding until the end of the war.
In 1999, a group of high school girls from Kansas rediscovered her story. They wrote a play called “Life in a Jar” for a National History Day project. For more information about the play, visit http://www.irenasendler.org/thestory.asp. There is also a book “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project” by Jack Mayer. Irena Sendler’s story is truly inspiring.