Monday, August 1, 2011

Irena Sendler: Rescuer of Jewish Children

...Even as she was imploring children to memorize their new Christian identities so that their lives could be saved, Irena was also preserving each child's true identity. She made up a list on small strips of tissue paper that contained each child's false Polish name, true Jewish name, and the location where he or she was currently living. She placed two identical lists into two separate bottles and buried them under an apple tree in a friend's yard. She had to be extremely careful in hiding the lists; if the Nazis found them, they would be able to track down every single child Irena had saved.

On October 20, 1943, Irena was having a party to celebrate her name day (the date she had been baptized in the Catholic Church). She set aside the identification lists that she had been updating. Her friend, an associate in the work to hide Jewish children, stayed overnight.

Suddenly, in the early morning hours, there was a horrendous pounding at the door. It was the Gestapo!

Excerpt from "Irena Sendler: Life in a Jar" from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.

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