[41], During the Great Action, Sendler kept entering or trying to enter the ghetto. [16][63][64][67] She attributed the premature birth of her son Andrzej, who did not survive, to such persecution. The play was adapted for television as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (2009), directed by John Kent Harrison, in which Sendler was portrayed by actress Anna Paquin. [16][43][44] By that time, most Polish Jews were no longer alive. [a], Sendler was born on 15 February 1910 in Warsaw,[7] to Stanisław Henryk Krzyżanowski, a physician, and his wife, Janina Karolina (née Grzybowska). [23][24] She then married Stefan Zgrzembski (born Adam Celnikier), a Jewish friend and wartime companion, by whom she had three children, Janina, Andrzej (who died in infancy), and Adam (who died of heart failure in 1999). It wouldn't make any difference, she said: the way they were brought up, race or origin didn't matter. [33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40], Sendler joined the Polish Socialists, a left-wing branch of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS). For additional information, tributes & contact information, please visit our memorial page. W ukryciu ('Sendler: In Hiding'), a biography and book about the people and events related to Sendler's wartime activities, was written by Anna Bikont and published in 2017. Initial funds for transfer and maintenance of ghetto children were provided by members of the Jewish community, still in existence, in cooperation with women from the Welfare Department. On Sendler's initiative the cell began generating false medical documents, needed by the soldiers and poor families to obtain aid. [30], The Jewish ghetto was a functioning community and to many Jews seemed the safest available place for themselves and their children. On 14 March 2007, Sendler was honoured by the Senate of Poland, and a year later, on 30 July, by the United States Congress. [18] With Jadwiga Piotrowska, Jadwiga Sałek-Deneko and Irena Schultz, Sendler also created other false references and pursued ingenious schemes in order to help Jewish families and children excluded from their department's social welfare protection. [16][30][54] Sendler was freed due to the efforts of Maria Palester, a fellow Welfare Department activist, who obtained the necessary funds from Żegota chief Julian Grobelny; she used her contacts and a teenage daughter to transfer the bribe money. Irena’s father was a doctor. [57], During the Warsaw Uprising, Sendler worked as a nurse in a field hospital, where a number of Jews were hidden among other patients. Many of its members became employees of the City of Warsaw, including Sendler in the Department of Social Welfare and Public Health. She described a commemoration event there, on the anniversary of the October Revolution but in the spirit of the Polish leftist tradition; it included artistic performances by children. I had a ‘book hangover’ after it. The Life in a Jar Foundation is a foundation dedicated to promoting the attitude and message of Irena Sendler. [104], Gal Gadot has been cast to play Sendler in a historic thriller written by Justine Juel Gillmer and produced by Pilot Wave. I let myself cry through many pages, horrified at how human beings can treat other human beings. She ran her department according to concepts, radical at the time, that she had learned from Helena Radlińska at the Free University. Please email conardnorm@gmail.com for more information. Warszawy", "Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes - Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area", "Gal Gadot Will Play This Real-Life Holocaust Hero Who Rescued Jewish Children", Snopes discussion of an email regarding the Nobel Prize, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irena_Sendler&oldid=979823089#Recognition_and_remembrance, Polish resistance members of World War II, Commanders with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown, Wikipedia extended-confirmed-protected pages, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Richard Lukas, Forgotten Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation, Anna Mieszkowska, IRENA SENDLER Mother of the Holocaust Children Publisher: Praeger; Tra edition (18 November 2010) Language: English, This page was last edited on 23 September 2020, at 00:26. [75] From the fall of 1967, she continued working at the same school as a teacher, manager of teacher workshops and librarian, until her 1983 retirement. [8][58] She continued to work as a nurse until the Germans left Warsaw, retreating before the advancing Soviet troops. [27] As employees of the Social Welfare Department,[28] Sendler and Schultz gained access to special permits for entering the ghetto to check for signs of typhus, a disease the Germans feared would spread beyond the ghetto. [10] Her father, a humanitarian who treated the very poor, including Jews, free of charge,[11] died in February 1917 from typhus contracted from his patients. [8][12] Anna Bikont quoted Władysław Bartoszewski, who asserted before his death in 2015 that Sendler was not persecuted in communist Poland. [6] Among the many decorations Sendler received were the Gold Cross of Merit granted her in 1946 for the saving of Jews and the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour, awarded late in Sendler's life for her wartime humanitarian efforts. Sendler with her colleagues and activists from the department's PPS cell became involved in helping the wounded and sick Polish soldiers. Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer is a powerful story of the Holocaust and more. LIFE IN A JAR: The Irena Sendler Project has won several literary prizes: 2015 Mom's Choice - Gold Medal - Young Adult 2015 First Horizon Award - Eric Hoffer Award 2014 Readers' Favorite Book Award - Gold Medal - Education 2014 Benjamin Franklin Digital Award - Silver Honoree 2014 Shelf Unbound Notable Book. The Gestapo took Sendler to their headquarters and beat her brutally. Are you interested in having the presentation come to your area? The film made its national U.S. broadcast premiere through KQED Presents on PBS in May 2011 in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day[99] and went on to receive several awards, including the 2012 Gracie Award for outstanding public television documentaries. Sendler, then known by her nom de guerre Jolanta, took over the section from October 1943. [68] She was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Polish Righteous Among the Nations and received her award at the embassy of Israel in Warsaw in 1965, together with Irena Schultz. [15][16][17] She reported having suffered from academic disciplinary measures because of her activities and reputation as a communist and philo-Semite. [85][86], In 2003, Pope John Paul II sent Sendler a personal letter praising her wartime efforts. To accomplish the transfers and placement of children, Sendler worked closely with other volunteers. By the end, I was crying for a different reason–how Irena Sendler and some students and Jack Mayer made a difference, living and telling this story. [64][66] After the fall of communism, however, Sendler claimed having been brutally interrogated in 1949 by the Ministry of Public Security, accused of hiding among her employees politically active former members of the Home Army (AK), a resistance organization loyal during the war to the Polish government-in-exile. The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. Sendler participated in the secret life of the ghetto. On 11 April 2007, she received the Order of the Smile; at that time, she was the oldest recipient of the award. [84] In March 2002, Temple B'nai Jehudah of Kansas City presented Sendler, Conard, and the students who produced the play with its annual award "for contributions made to saving the world" (Tikkun olam award).