Irena Sendler. 1910-2008
A 98 year-old German woman named Irena Sendler recently died. During WWII, Irena worked in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist. Irena smuggled Jewish children out; infants in the bottom of the tool box she carried and older children in a burlap sack she carried in the back of her truck. She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids’ and infants’ noises. Irena managed to smuggle out and save 2500 children. She eventually was caught, and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar buried under a tree in her backyard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunited some of the families. Most had been killed. She helped those children get placement into foster family homes or adopted.
This story came to my attention today. I was slow in that. This beautiful woman who defied evil died in 2008. But, in her defiance of the worst sort of authority, in her refusal to sit idly by and be even an unwilling part of the horrible acts of evil men holding the reins of a mighty nation, she showed the world what it means to be human. I am humbled by greatness.