Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler (1910-2008), also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland, born in Warsaw, Poland, was raised by her parents to respect and love people regardless of their ethnicity or social status. She grew up in the town of Otwock, Poland.

During the German occupation of Poland, Irena Sendler lived in Warsaw (prior to that, she had lived in Otwock and Tarczyn while working for urban Social Welfare departments). As early as 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, she began aiding Jews. She and her helpers created more than 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families, prior to joining the organized Żegota resistance and the children's division. Helping Jews in German - occupied Poland meant all household members risked death if they were found to be hiding Jews, a punishment far more severe than in other occupied European countries.

In August 1943, Irena Sendler (known by her name of war: Jolanta) was nominated by the underground Polish Council to Aid Jews Zegota, to head its Jewish children's section. While working with the underground organization, Zegota, Irena and her network would assist in the hiding a lot of children and many adults in homes around the city.
As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to check for signs of typhus – something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the Ghetto. During these visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself.
 Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhus outbreak, Irena Sendler and her co-workers visited the Ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages. 
Children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, or Roman Catholic convents.
She helped rescue about 2,500 Jewish children in different education and care facilities for children.

 Irena was caught and severely tortured by the Gestapo and almost killed in 1943 (the Gestapo beat her brutally, fracturing her feet and legs ). She escaped Pawiak prison and stayed in hiding for most of the rest of the war. 
After the war, Irena Sendler and her co-workers gathered together all of their 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. However, almost all of their parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or gone missing.

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

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Source: Wikipédia, Irena Sendlerowa on History's Heroes,, Internet photos

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