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"When the war started, all of Poland was drowning in a sea of blood. And within that nation, it was the children who suffered most.That's why we needed to give our hearts to them," Sendler said on ABC News. Sendler, "Jolanta," was put in charge of the Children's Division of Zegota.
The girls were looking for a subject for the Kansas State National History Day competition. News & World Report story, "The Other Schindlers." Mr. After all, no one had ever heard of this woman; Schindler, who was so famous, had rescued 1,000 Jews. Conard encouraged the girls to investigate and unearth the true story.One day, Irena went to sit on the Jewish side of the room.When the teacher told her to move, she answered, "I'm Jewish today." She was expelled immediately. Sendler was a senior administrator in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, which was in charge of soup kitchens, located in every district of the city.Her hope was to reunite the children with their families after the war.Indeed, though most of their parents perished in the Warsaw Ghetto or in Treblinka, those children who had surviving relatives were returned to them after the war. "This regret will follow me to my death." Though she received the Yad Vashem medal for the Righteous Among the Nations in 1965, Irena Sendler's story was virtually unknown.In the 1930s, at Warsaw University, she stood up for her Jewish friends.
Jews were forced to sit separately from "Aryan" students.
To the children, she seemed a merciless captor; in truth, she was the agent to save their lives. Sendler, code name "Jolanta," smuggled 2,500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during the last three months before its liquidation. Each was given a new name and a new identity as a Christian.
She has seen this image in her dreams countless times over the years, heard the children's cries as they were pulled from their mothers' grasp; each time it is another mother screaming behind her.
Irena Sendler was born in 1910 in Otwock, some 15 miles southeast of Warsaw.
Her father, a physician and one of the first Polish Socialists, raised her to respect and love people regardless of their ethnicity or social status. When a typhus epidemic broke out in 1917, he was the only doctor who stayed in the area. His dying words to seven-year-old Irena were, "If you see someone drowning, you must jump in and try to save them, even if you don't know how to swim." Even before the war, Irena had strong loyalties towards Jews.
Irena felt that her efforts were helping only to prolong the suffering, but doing nothing to save lives.