Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Lady Plumber

On 12 May 2008, Irena Sendlerowa (commonly known as Irena Sendler) passed away of pneumonia at the age of 98 in Warsaw, Poland. Irena has often been referred to as "the female Oskar Schindler" in her native Poland for her daring and ingenuity in saving the lives of more than 2,500 Jews (most of them children) in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Unlike Oskar Schindler, whose story was the subject of the Academy Award-winning 1993 film Schindler's List, Irena Sendler was a relatively unknown figure to the world at large until 1999, when four Kansas high school students wrote and performed "Life in a Jar," a play about Irena's life-saving efforts in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A Los Angeles Times obituary for Irena described how Irena, a Polish social worker, passed herself off as a nurse to sneak supplies and aid into (and children out of) the Warsaw Ghetto, and the punishment she endured when she was finally caught by the Nazis.

She studied at Warsaw University and was a social worker in Warsaw when the German occupation of Poland began in 1939. In 1940, after the Nazis herded Jews into the ghetto and built a wall separating it from the rest of the city, disease, especially typhoid, ran rampant. Social workers were not allowed inside the ghetto, but Sendler, imagining "the horror of life behind the walls," obtained fake identification and passed herself off as a nurse, allowed to bring in food, clothes and medicine.

By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends — a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women — and began rescuing Jewish children.

She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second. One of Sendler's children told of waiting by a gate in darkness as a German soldier patrolled nearby. When the soldier passed, the boy counted to 30, then made a mad dash to the middle of the street, where a manhole cover opened and he was taken down into the sewers and eventually to safety.

Most of the children who left with Sendler's group were taken into Roman Catholic convents, orphanages and homes and given non-Jewish aliases. Sendler recorded their true names on thin rolls of paper in the hope that she could reunite them with their families later. She preserved the precious scraps in jars and buried them in a friend's garden.

In 1943, she was captured by the Nazis and tortured but refused to tell her captors who her co-conspirators were or where the bottles were buried. She also resisted in other ways. According to Felt, when Sendler worked in the prison laundry, she and her co-workers made holes in the German soldiers' underwear. When the officers discovered what they had done, they lined up all the women and shot every other one. It was just one of many close calls for Sendler.

During one particularly brutal torture session, her captors broke her feet and legs, and she passed out. When she awoke, a Gestapo officer told her he had accepted a bribe from her comrades in the resistance to help her escape. The officer added her name to a list of executed prisoners. Sendler went into hiding but continued her rescue efforts.

Felt said that Sendler had begun her rescue operation before she joined the organized resistance and helped a number of adults escape, including the man she later married. "We think she saved about 500 people before she joined Zegota," Felt said, which would mean that Sendler ultimately helped rescue about 3,000 Polish Jews.

When the war ended, Sendler unearthed the jars and began trying to return the children to their families. For the vast majority, there was no family left. Many of the children were adopted by Polish families; others were sent to Israel.


Irena Sendler is often thought to have been a candidate to receive the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, but that honor was not awarded to her. (It's difficult to state categorically that she was "nominated" for the award, since information about Nobel Prize "nominations, investigations, and opinions is kept secret for fifty years." Also, since 1974 the statutes of the Nobel Foundation have stated that "work produced by a person since deceased shall not be considered for an award.")



In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on the Global Warming (Hoax).

Later another politician, Barack Obama, with no personal sacrifice nor any accomplishments whatsoever, won the Nobel peace prize for SIMPLY BEING THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT of the United States.

The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) expressed its disappointment that Irena Sendler had not yet been honored with a Nobel Prize:

"IFSW is deeply saddened that the life work of Nobel nominee Irena Sendler, social worker, did not receive formal recognition', said David N. Jones, IFSW President. 'Irena Sendler and her helpers took personal risks day after day to prevent the destruction of individual lives — the lives of the children of the Warsaw ghetto. This work was done very quietly, without many words and at the risk of their lives. This is so typical of social work, an activity which changes and saves lives but is done out of the glare of publicity and often at personal risk. IFSW recognises her again and at the same time celebrates the commitment and dedication of thousands of social workers around the world who also bring hope and care to people often living on the edge of despair."

LIBERTY NEWS: This is another great example of politics ruling over sacrifice and actual accomplishments of an individual.

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SOURCES:

http://www.auschwitz.dk/sendler.htm

http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/sendler.htm

Book: Life in a Jar - http://www.irenasendler.org/

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