Stories, Music and Film

Great Catholic Soldiers of the Cross You Never Heard of, Irena Sendler

(A hat tip to Arwen, who posted this story over to me.)

Because United Patriots celebrates soldiers against the Left, I want to mention two here on Good Friday.

The first is Irena Sendler, shown here,

who, at a much younger age, in Poland, ferreted out over 2,500 young Jewish children, to escape what would later be known as the Holocaust.

She died recently at age 98, but until 1999, few had ever heard of her. (Wait for the rest of story, below.)

Irena Sendlerowa (commonly known as Irena Sendler) was born in 1910.
She studied at Warsaw University and was a social worker in Warsaw
when the German occupation of Poland began in 1939. Working with a
network of other social workers, mostly women, she smuggled
children and adults out of the Warsaw ghetto and hid them safely
until the end of the war. Sendler took great risks, obtaining forged
papers for the children, disguising herself as an infection control
nurse, diverting German occupation funds for the support of children
in hiding. She entered the Warsaw ghetto, sometimes two and three
times a day, and talked Jewish parents into giving up their children.
She drugged the babies with sedatives and smuggled them past Nazi
guards in gunny sacks, boxes and coffins. She helped the older children
and adults escape through the sewers, through secret openings in
the wall, through the courthouse, through churches, any clever way
she and her network could evade the Nazis.

Once outside the ghetto walls, Sendler gave the children false
names and documents and placed them in convents, orphanages and homes
with Polish families. Her hope was that after the war she could
reunite the children with surviving relatives, or at least return
their Jewish identities. To that end she kept thin tissue paper
lists of each child’s Jewish name, their Polish name and address.
She hid the lists in glass jars buried under an apple tree in
the back yard of one of her co-conspirators.

In 1943 Irena Sendler was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death.
She never divulged the location of the lists or her Polish underground
contacts. At the last moment she was saved by the Polish Resistance
who bribed a guard to secure her freedom. She bore the scars and
disability of her torture the remainder of her life.

After the war, Irena attempted to find the parents of the children,
to find they had  all been gassed. The Communist government suppressed
any recognition of the courageous anti-fascist partisans, most of whom
were also anti-Communists. Irena’s story and those of other courageous
Poles, were buried and forgotten. Her courage and resourcefulness
were recognized by Israel in 1965 when she was awarded the Yad Vashem
medal given to Righteous Gentiles who risked their own lives to save
Jews during the Holocaust. In 1983 a tree was planted in her honor in

But in general, the world was silent about Irena Sendler. Silent until
1999, when  three Kansas high school students uncovered Irena’s story,
while looking for a National History Day project. Their teacher gave
them a short paragraph about Irena Sendler from a 1994 U.S. News and
World Report story entitled “The Other Schindlers” and they decided
to research her life. They assumed Irena Sendler must be dead
and searched for her burial site, but, to their surprise they
discovered that she was still alive, 90-years-old and living
with relatives in a small apartment in Warsaw. They created a
play about her rescue efforts called "Life in a Jar", which
has since been performed hundreds of times since in the U.S.,
Canada and Poland. In May 2001 they visited Irena in Warsaw.

 Irena passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98.
 In 2007 Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
 She was not selected.
 Al Gore won --- for a slide show on Global Warming.

CBS recently aired a made-for-TV film of her activities during

the war:

That second unknown Catholic soldier is a friend of mine. Long
a soldier against the Left, this week he takes up the Cross of
the Holy Roman Church. Henceforward, he will be wearing the
white cloak and cross of the Christian soldier.
Deo Optimo Maximo

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