By: Christine/Goodfulness Irena Sendler may not be one of the first names that you think of when you think back to World War II, but she is one of history’s most unsung heroes. Her doctor father passed away when she was very small and she made the decision to study medicine in honor of him. This decision allowed her to become more and more focused on the plight of others and taught her not to worry about herself.
She would eventually become a registered nurse and get shipped away into the Warsaw ghetto. This gave her a front row seat to Nazi atrocities and once she saw the conditions for herself, she knew that she could not sit idly by. Her hatred for the evil German occupiers was much stronger than any fear that she felt and her father’s lessons replayed in her head.
She joined forces with an organization known as Zegota and began working to free as many captives as possible. Thanks to the resources offered by the good people at Zegota, Irena was able to smuggle thousands of Jewish children away from the Nazi death camps that they found themselves in. Coffins were used as a means of doing so and her nursing background allowed her to nurse them back to good health beforehand.
Irena was soon caught in the act and the officers attempted to break her down as a result. They repeatedly abused her in hopes of receiving the information that they were looking for and Irena would not succumb to the temptation to spill the beans. She never told them anything that she knew about the children and Zegota was eventually able to bribe one of the officers to let her go free.
She changed her identity once she was able to escape and she had a secret can with her. This can contain the name of every single child that she had helped escape and when she reached the age of 98, she was finally given the chance to meet so many of these kids (who were now adults, of course) and find out more about the lives that she had saved.
Irena is one of the greatest heroes that history will ever know and without her efforts, thousands of children would not have survived the horrors of the Holocaust. This excellent video allows you to learn more about her amazing life and should definitely be passed along to your closest friends and family members.