Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Poland Honors Woman Who Refused To Name Names And Who Provided Factual Basis For Post-Holocaust Reunion Of Jewish Children With Surviving Adults

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- "A 97-year-old woman credited with saving 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust was honored by parliament Wednesday at a ceremony during which Poland's president said she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Irena Sendler, who lives in a nursing home in Warsaw, was too frail to attend the special session in which members of the Senate unanimously approved a resolution honoring her and the Polish underground Council for Assisting Jews.

The group's members, mostly Roman Catholics, risked their own lives to save Jews from the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Sendler was cited for organizing the ''rescue of the most defenseless victims of the Nazi ideology -- the Jewish children.''

President Lech Kacyzinski said in an address to senators that Sendler is a ''great hero who can be justly named for the Nobel Peace Prize.''

''Every child saved with my help and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers, who today are no longer living, is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory,'' Sendler said in a letter read by Elzbieta Ficowska, who was saved by Sendler as a baby. ''Over a half-century has passed since the hell of the Holocaust, but its specter still hangs over the world and doesn't allow us to forget the tragedy.''

Sendler led about 20 helpers who smuggled Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto to safety between 1940 and 1943, placing them in Polish families, convents or orphanages.

She wrote the children's names on slips of paper and buried them in jars in a neighbor's yard as a record that could help locate their parents after the war. The Nazis arrested her in 1943, but she refused -- despite repeated torture -- to reveal their names." ...

Associated Press "Poland Honors Woman Who Saved 2, 500 Jew" New York Times March 14, 2007

Warsaw Jewish Ghetto, 1940.

[Click image for enlargement.]

Image credit: With thanks.


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