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Irena Sendlerowa Saved over 2,500 Jewish Kids From the Warsaw Ghetto, Smuggling Them Out in Suitcases or Medical Bags

During WWII, Irena Sendlerowa, a Catholic Polish social worker, saved 2,500 Jewish children from death. That’s more than Oscar Schindler managed with 1,200. Though recognized by Yad Vashem in 1965 as being one of theRighteous Among the Nations (a non-Jew who saved Jews during the Holocaust), the rest of the world knew virtually nothing about her.


At least, until 1999 when students at a rural Kansas high school were looking for material for their school play. Thanks to them, Sendlerowa was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize but lost it to Al Gore.

Sendlerowa was born on 15 February 1910 in the town of Otwock. Her father was a doctor whose motto was, “jump into the water to save someone drowning, whether or not you can swim.” He did just that, which was why he was the only doctor in Otwock who’d treat Jews.

In 1935, Poland mandated ghetto benches in schools, requiring Jews to sit in assigned seats away from non-Jews. Many protested this by refusing to sit down in class. Sendlerowa took up Polish Literature at the Warsaw University and joined these protests, for which she was suspended for three years. Despite this, she earned her degree, joined the Polish Socialist Party, and found a job with the Warsaw Social Welfare Department.

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Sendlerowa was among those responsible for the state-run canteens. These


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