by David G. Woolley
On May 12, 2008 Irene Sendler passed from this earth. She was 98 years old. A polish national living in Warsaw during the German occupation, she arranged with the Reichstag to hire on in sewer maintenance inside the Jewish Ghetto, a housing district the Germans sealed off and converted into a human holding area. What the Germans didn't know, was that Irene was an operative of sorts. An army of one. Commissioned by her heart, and advanced in rank by her conviction that freedom and liberty were the most precious gifts of God.
Neighborhood by neighborhood Jews inside the Ghetto were placed on rail cars and removed to concentration camps in Germany for extermination. As rumor of the Holocaust fed suspicion, mothers and fathers were convinced that the departing trains were not conveying their neighbors and friends to a better life outside the Ghetto. Desperation reached panicked proportion as parents tried to save their children from the hands of murderers.
Enter Irene Sendler. To German soldiers guarding the entrances to the Warsaw Ghetto she was a plumbing and sewer specialist with a large tool box and a three-speed, manual transmission covered black-box truck to transport her equipment. To the residents of the Ghetto she was a savior.
Irene trained her dog to bark uncontrollably at every Ghetto entrance. The soldiers didn't bother with the snarling mutt and let her pass without much more than a cursory visual check through the driver's window. The barking also covered the cries of Jewish infants hidden in the false compartment beneath Irene's tools. Children too large for the tool box were hidden in a burlap sack.
In all, Irene smuggled 2,500 infants and children to safety at half way houses around Warsaw and from there they were spirited out of the country. For her bravery the Germans broke both her legs, both arms, and severely beat her. But she survived her capture and guarded the names of all 2,500 children in a glass jar which she kept buried beneath a tree in her backyard until the war ended and she could help reunite the few Holocaust survivors with their children.
The year before she passed away, Irene was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was denied. The award was given, instead, to Al Gore for a slide show about global warming--an advocacy endeavor fraught with falsified data for which he has been richly rewarded with millions of dollars from global warming adherents. Here at the Top of the Morning we think Irene has gone on to far greater rewards than any King of Norway has power to confer.
Freedom and liberty. Irene never forgot the price of either and that's what makes her worthy of the true prize of peace.