Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In Memory of Irene Sendler

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.


leaflover said...

Thank you for sharing a little snapshot of the life of this remarkable woman with the world. We are blessed, and hopefully inspired to action by her example.

Sheri said...

Thanks for this wonderful article about Irene Sendler. What an amazing woman and an inspiration to us all. In our eyes (and probably in Heavenly Father's eyes) she is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Cami said...

I think I'm getting old....that brought tears to my eyes....or maybe it's because it made me think about my little grandmother who died at 97, and her beautiful spirit....or maybe it's because I'm privileged enough to be able to care for my OWN little mom. She's 81 years old, and is very inspiring in her own right. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy her every day.

Stephanie Shumway (and family) said...

Thanks for sharing, Dave. I recently read Night by Elie Wiesel and this post brings back to my mind scenes of despair and courage. Irene was a remarkable person and you are right to bring our attention to a beautiful life lived well. Rest in peace, Irene.

Rachelle said...

I've read about Irene and her story and was so touched, thanks for the reminder about what one person can do. Thanks again for your comments on my blog. It is nice to hear from someone with unique ideas about how to approach Alzheimer's and help our loved ones.

Anna Maria Junus said...

What a beautiful story. Thanks for posting it.

Carrie122569 said...

Thank you for sharing the story of Irene Sendler.This has touched my heart .I am sure god has rewarded her more than any of us will know. I pray god blesses the people who shared this story as well as Ms.Irene Sendler.