January 24, 2014
This is Irena Sendler.  If you haven’t heard of her, you should take a moment to read about her:

Irena Sendler (née Krzyżanowska, also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland,Nom de guerre Jolanta; 15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008)[2] was a Polish nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of children’s section of Żegota,[3][4] an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, saving those children during the Holocaust.[5]

She smuggled Jewish children out of Nazi Germany with the aid of various Christian churches, including the Roman Catholic church:

Children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, or Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate[13] at Turkowice and Chotomów. Sendler worked closely with Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, a resistance fighter and writer, and with Matylda Getter, Mother Provincial of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary.[14] Sendler and her cohorts helped rescue about 2,500 Jewish children in different education and care facilities for children in Anin, Białołęka,Chotomów, Międzylesie, Płudy, Sejny, Wilno, and other places.[15] Some children were smuggled to priests in parish rectories. Mrs. Sendler’s group of about 30 volunteers, mostly women, managed to slip hundreds of infants, young children and teenagers to safety.

One of the more moving aspects of resistance against the Nazi machine is the knowledge that ordinary people regularly faced certain death—entirely by choice—to resist Nazi oppression of unpopular groups at little or no benefit to themselves.  Spielberg made Oskar Schindler famous, but there are numerous stories about less prominent people performing similar acts of heroism to save Jewish people from oppression.  Oddly, as terrible as the Holocaust was, it also occasioned countless acts of humanity-affirming heroism.  Here is a quote from Sendler:

Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.

It’s almost embarrassing to know that people like this have lived before me.  Most of us like to believe that we would “step up to the plate” to help those in need under similar circumstances.  But the fact is that most people living under the Nazi regime didn’t do so—assumedly out of fear and a sense of self-preservation.  Resistance to totalitarian regimes is an attractive ideal, but it’s less attractive when you know that you or your family could be executed or sent to a prison camp at any moment for stepping out of line.  It is less attractive still when you’ve seen it happen to a neighbor or a loved one, and you know it’s not an idle threat.
This makes the Irena Sendlers of the world all the more inspiring.  So much effort on behalf of others for so little reward at so much risk.  Definitely a story worth writing home about.

This is Irena Sendler.  If you haven’t heard of her, you should take a moment to read about her:

Irena Sendler (née Krzyżanowska, also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland,Nom de guerre Jolanta; 15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008)[2] was a Polish nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of children’s section of Żegota,[3][4] an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, saving those children during the Holocaust.[5]

She smuggled Jewish children out of Nazi Germany with the aid of various Christian churches, including the Roman Catholic church:

Children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, or Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate[13] at Turkowice and Chotomów. Sendler worked closely with Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, a resistance fighter and writer, and with Matylda Getter, Mother Provincial of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary.[14] Sendler and her cohorts helped rescue about 2,500 Jewish children in different education and care facilities for children in AninBiałołęka,ChotomówMiędzylesiePłudySejnyWilno, and other places.[15] Some children were smuggled to priests in parish rectories. Mrs. Sendler’s group of about 30 volunteers, mostly women, managed to slip hundreds of infants, young children and teenagers to safety.

One of the more moving aspects of resistance against the Nazi machine is the knowledge that ordinary people regularly faced certain death—entirely by choice—to resist Nazi oppression of unpopular groups at little or no benefit to themselves.  Spielberg made Oskar Schindler famous, but there are numerous stories about less prominent people performing similar acts of heroism to save Jewish people from oppression.  Oddly, as terrible as the Holocaust was, it also occasioned countless acts of humanity-affirming heroism.  Here is a quote from Sendler:

Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.

It’s almost embarrassing to know that people like this have lived before me.  Most of us like to believe that we would “step up to the plate” to help those in need under similar circumstances.  But the fact is that most people living under the Nazi regime didn’t do so—assumedly out of fear and a sense of self-preservation.  Resistance to totalitarian regimes is an attractive ideal, but it’s less attractive when you know that you or your family could be executed or sent to a prison camp at any moment for stepping out of line.  It is less attractive still when you’ve seen it happen to a neighbor or a loved one, and you know it’s not an idle threat.

This makes the Irena Sendlers of the world all the more inspiring.  So much effort on behalf of others for so little reward at so much risk.  Definitely a story worth writing home about.

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    What a beautiful story to come out of such a tragic even.
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    Magnitude !
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