Wednesday, May 16, 2007
WARSAW, Poland (AP)HOLOCAUST HERO FACES
by MONIKA SCISLOWSKA
Associated Press Writer
The attention tires Irena Sendler sometimes.
She never sought credit for smuggling 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto anyway. Not for risking execution to save other people’s children, or holding out under torture by the Nazis, or enduring decades as a nonperson under the communist regime that followed.
She once dismissed her wartime deeds as merely “the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.”
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Sender was arrested in a Gestapo night raid on her apartment on Oct 20, 1943. The Nazis took her to the dreaded Pawiak prison, which few left alive. She was tortured and says she still has scars on her body – but she refused to betray her team.
“I kept silent. I preferred to die than to reveal our activity,” she was quoted as saying in the one book about her, “Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Story of Irena Sendler” by Anna Mieszkowska.
The Polish resistance bribed a Gestapo officer. He put her name on a list of executed prisoners and let her go. She went into hiding under an assumed name but continued her activity.
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She was recognized in 1965 by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, as a so-called Righteous Among the Nations, but ignored at home.
You have to admire the stones of the people who took these risks and did what they felt was right. I like that poker commercial where Jennifer Tilly puts a big set on the table. That’s for a game. This lady must have a super set to have done this for real. I don’t know if I could have, would have, dare to hide and save one child let alone 2.5k of them.
I am humbled by this woman and all those so honored. I will go to that museum when I retire in 2017 to pay my respects.
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