“Each child saved through my help, with the assitence of admirable secret messengers who are no longer with us, is the reason for my existence on Earth, not the honours”
The life and courage of polish national Irena Sendler (1910-2008) became known in 1999, when a group of students from Uniontown, in Kansas (US) decided to investigate the work of “other Schindlers” during the Second World War. This initiative ended up locating the Christian responsible for saving 2.500 Jewish children on the Varsow Ghetto between 1941 and 1943, when her activities were discovered by Gestapo.
Though arrested and tortured, she never disclosed the names of those who helped her nor of those she had saved. She was sentenced to death and remained in hiding until the end of the war, when she finally delivered to the Jewish Salvation Committee a list of the real and the adopted names of the children rescued, with the purpose of reuniting them with their families.
In 1991 she was nominated honorary citizen of the Israeli State and in 2003 she was awarded the Jan Karski Award “For courage and heart” and received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland´s highest civilian distinction. Sendler was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and in the same year she received the Order of the Smile, the most important distinction given out by children around the world.