Righteous among the Nations

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by laufer, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. laufer

    laufer Senior Member

    Heroine of the Holocaust.
    Her name was Irena Sendler. Though she herself was not Jewish, she feared for the lives of Jews around her, particularly the children. As head of the children's section in the Polish underground organisation known as Zegota, she was unable to sit by and not do anything. So she went into the Warsaw Ghetto and persuaded Jewish parents and grandparents to place their children in her care, saying that they were certain to die in the Ghetto or in the Nazi death camps unless they could be spirited away to safety.
    Smuggling the children past Nazi guards through a variety of means - hiding them in body bags or under loads of goods - Ms. Sendler took them into the homes of Polish families, where they were adopted and raised with false identities. Ms. Sendler made lists of these children and placed the lists in a jar that she buried in a garden, hoping she could someday dig up the jar, locate the children and inform them of their past.
    From 1942 to 1943, Ms. Sendler managed to smuggle 400 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto before she was captured by the Nazis and severely punished for her actions. Even under extreme torture, she refused to reveal where the lists of the smuggled Jewish children were hidden. Eventually, a member of the Polish underground bribed a guard to release her, and she entered into hiding. Even then, she continued to work with Zegota to rescue another 2,100 children.
    95 year-old Irena Sendler still lives in Warsaw.

    Find more: The Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland

    Attached Files:

  2. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    I hope she got decorated for her unbelievably heroism by the Polish and Israeli governments...and that they take care of her.
  3. webbhead

    webbhead Member

    Absolutely fascinating. Has anyone written a book on her?
  4. laufer

    laufer Senior Member

    Last year she was awarded with Poland's highest non-military distinction, the Order of White Eagle.
    I don't know anything about any book published in english.
  5. laufer

    laufer Senior Member

    Henryk Sławik (1894-1944) during the inter-war period he was a policeman in Polish Silesia. At the same time Sławik was social worker and activist of the right-wing faction of the Polish Socialist Party.

    At the outbreak of Polish Defence War of 1939 Sławik joined a mobilised police battalion attached to the Kraków Army. He fought with distinction during the retreat fights along the northern parts of the Carpathians. His battalion was attached to 2nd Mountain Brigade, with which he took part in defence of the mountain passes leading to Slovakia.

    On September 15 Sławik and his men were ordered to retreat towards the newly-established border with Hungary. On September 17, after the Soviet Union joined the war against Poland, Sławik crossed the border and was interned as a Prisoner of War. Jozsef Antall, father of the future prime minister of Hungary and member of the Hungarian ministry of internal affairs responsible for the civilian refugees spotted Sławik in one of the camps. Thanks to his fluent knowledge of German language Sławik was brought to Budapest and allowed to create the Citizen's Committee for Help for Polish Refugees. Together with Jozsef Antall he organised jobs for the POWs and DPs, schools and orphanages. He also clandestinely organised an organisation whose purpose was to help the exiled Poles leave the camps of internment and get to France or Middle East to join the Polish Army. Sławik also became a delegate of the Polish Government in Exile.

    After the government of Hungary issued the racial decrees and separated Polish refugees of Jewish descent from their colleagues, Sławik started to issue false documents confirming their Polish roots and Catholic faith. He also helped several hundred Polish Jews to get to the Yugoslavian partisans. One of his initiatives was creation of an orphanage for the Jewish orphans (officially named School for Children of Polish Officers) in Vac. To help keep the true character of this school the children were visited by the Catholic church authorities, most notably by nuncio Angelo Rotta.

    After the Germans took over Hungary in March 1944, Sławik went underground and ordered as many of the refugees under his command to leave Hungary. Thanks to the fact that he accomplished an appointment of a new commanding officer of the camp for Polish Jews, all of them were able to escape and leave Hungary. Also the Jewish children of the orphanage in Vac were evacuated. Sławik was arrested by the Germans on March 19, 1944. Brutally tortured, he did not inform on his Hungarian colleagues. Finally he was sent to Mauthausen concentration camp where he was shot to death, most probably in August 1944. His wife survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp and after the war found their daughter hidden in Hungary by the Antall family. His place of burial remains unknown.

    It is estimated that Henryk Sławik helped as many as 30,000 Polish refugees in Hungary. Approximately 5,000 of them were Jews. After 1948 the communist authorities of both Poland and Hungary did not allow his deeds to be commemorated. In 1990 the Yad Vashem Institute honoured Sławik with the title of Righteous Among the Nations
  6. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    She was discussed in our Holocaust Observance in April. That was a tremendous event....the best of the 18 we've had.
  7. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

  8. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I take it she is still alive?
    Some great photos on this website.
  10. Lucy Stag

    Lucy Stag Senior Member

    Amazing heroine. There are so many stories like that that I only wish were more known in the world. She is a dictionary definition of a hero.
  11. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

    I take it she is still alive?

    She is 97 and living in Warsaw.
  12. Panzerfaust

    Panzerfaust Senior Member

    She is 97 and living in Warsaw.
    That is beyond amazing. At least Warsaw is on the right track ecomonically by joining the EU. ;)
  13. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

  14. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    Rescuer of Jewish children honoured | NEWS.com.au

    POLAND paid tribute overnight to 97-year-old Irena Sendler, who saved the lives of some 2500 Jewish children in Warsaw during World War II by smuggling them out of the ghetto set up by the Nazis.
    "Irena Sendler is a heroine worthy of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize," Polish President Lech Kaczynski said during a ceremony held at the Senate in the absence of the elderly woman, who is in frail health.
    A former social worker, Ms Sendler was arrested and tortured in 1943 by the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo.
    She was spared execution by firing squad after the Polish resistance managed to bribe a German officer.
    In 1965, she was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations, conferred by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Authority on non-Jews who saved Jews from extermination by the Nazis.
    More than 6000 Poles have been named Righteous Among the Nations, more than in any other country.
    "Irena Sendler symbolises these people, who put their lives at risk to save Jews or people of Jewish origin," Mr Kaczynski said.
    "All of us, the entire nation, owe them our utmost respect."
    A woman who survived the war thanks to Ms Sendler's courage, read out a letter from her saviour, who now lives in a home for the elderly in Warsaw.
    "I call on every person of goodwill to show love, tolerance and peace, not only in times of war but also in times of peace," the letter read out from the dais of the Senate by Elzbieta Ficowska said.
    "Half a century has passed since the hell of the Holocaust and yet its spectre continues to hang over us, not allowing us to forget the tragedy that occurred when humankind was divided into good and bad, with some destined to live and others doomed to die," the letter said.
    In 1940, several months after invading Poland in September 1939, the Nazis forced some 500,000 Jews into the Warsaw ghetto, surrounding it with a high wall.
    About 100,000 died inside from hunger and disease, and over 300,000 were sent to death camps, mainly at Treblinka in eastern Poland.
  15. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

    For harboring Jews, the nine members of the Ulma family were executed by firing squad in 1944 in their German-occupied Polish village.

    For the rest of the story read link: -

    Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

    The Ulma family has been honored with the title Righteous Among the Nations.
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Let their souls rest in peace and be blessed.
  17. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

  18. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

    I’ve recently been wondering what happened to the people who hid Anne Frank and her family, so I thought I’d take a look on the web and came across this website.

    Miep Gies, An Unsung Heroine

    It is a website about Miep Gies, one of 5 people who risked their lives and brought them food, supplies and news of the world outside.
  19. Marina

    Marina Senior Member

    She's a lovely person from what I saw of her in the TV docu about the people who hid the Franks. She has a gentle, mousy face - and then from time to time you see the glint of steel in her eyes!
  20. marek_pk

    marek_pk Senior Member

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