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Irena Sendler

A sobering reminder from the life of a true heroine —

During WWII, Irena Sendler a young Polish woman, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a plumbing and sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out of the Jewish ghetto in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger children.  Irena kept a dog in the back of her truck that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.  The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the sounds coming from the Jewish infants and children noises.

During the period that the Germans occupied Poland, Irena managed to smuggle out and save 2500 Jewish children and infants. Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazis broke both her legs and arms and beat her severely.  Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out of the ghetto in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard.  After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family.  Most of the parents had been exterminated in Nazi gas chambers.  The children she helped were placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was nominated to receive Nobel Peace Prize.  She was not selected.  Al Gore won the prize that year, for his work on global warming.

Irena Sendler died on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98 years old.  She passed away in Warsaw, Poland.  It is now more than 72 years since the World War II ended. The life of Irena Sendler is a stark reminder of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered during that war.

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