Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

From the National Catholic Register blog...

"On Sunday, CBS is airing Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. While not a household name, she should be as well known as Schindler. Sendler was a Polish Catholic credited with saving the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during World War II.

Using a network of largely female social workers and others, she smuggled children out of Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto to safety. Academy Award-winning actress Anna Paquin portrays Sendler in the made-for-TV movie. You can read an interview with her at
Catholic Digest.

Her story was largely unknown until the fall of 1999. For it was then that a rural Kansas teacher showed four high school students a short clip from a March 1994 issue of News and World Report that mentioned Sendler’s name. The students set to work on a year-long National History Day project, researching and looking for primary and secondary sources on Sendler.

In the end, the students wrote the play, “Life in a Jar”, which portrays the life of Sendler. They’ve performed the program more than 250 times in the U.S. and Europe. You can learn more about Sendler, the student’s History Day project, and the play at the Irena Sendler website."

1 comment:

Paul said...

Children were starved to death, tortured, buried and burned alive, gunned down, murdered in the gas chambers. Irena Sendler rescued the largest number of children during those years. Sendler acted with bravery and efficiency to save them. She would take children by the hand, and risking her own life, would secure not only their life, but also the lives of their children and grandchildren. It is necessary to remember this to understand the words of the Talmud: He who saves one life, saves the entire world. Irena Sendler saved this world day-by-day, child-by-child, and the world didn’t even know it. In 2007 Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – at almost hundred years of age - as the last representative of the epoch’s moral giants who acted when Europe was at its moral nadir. When monstrous hatred comes to power, everything fails except the will of a single individual. Yet after sixty years, the members of the NPP Committee failed to recognize the work of Sendler as deserving of the highest distinction in service of the idea of peace. Saving the lives of 2,500 children from certain death at a time when Europe was paralyzed by fear and powerlessness, and the punishment for helping even one child was death, did not merit distinction in their eyes. They failed to recognize that this was the final chance to honor one of the last living persons who did the most for peace, entirely in the real-world sense, where matters of life and death of innocents actually take place when he world’s ethical compass is destroyed. They failed to recognize that awarding her the NPP would not award the past as much as it could be their stand for the future of the world. That same world that Sendler remembers from the Ghetto: Did the World help me when I was saving these children? I walked the streets, crying over my helplessness. Sendler said shortly before her death in 2008: The world has learned nothing from the lessons of World War II and the Shoah. Wasn’t she right?