Friday, March 01, 2013

Video: Life In A Jar -- The Story of Irena Sendler, Who Rescued Children During The Holocaust

One of the Holocaust era's most inspiring and inspirational stories of courage and sacrifice was almost lost to history.

In the 1990s a group of Kansas high school history students stumbled on a short summary of a little-known episode that occurred during the dark days of the Warsaw Ghetto. Irena Sendler, a young Polish woman, had, at great personal risk, managed to save over 2500 Jewish children from certain death by smuggling them out of the ghetto. The students carefully researched the events and were able to piece together the story, both as a documentation and, later, as a production, to ensure that history will not forget the actions of this incredible woman.

Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler was a member of the Polish resistance movement in the 1940s when she became aware of the plight of the Jews who were interned in the Warsaw Ghetto. Sendler was convinced that the Nazis would eventually kill all of the Jews and she proceeded to enter the Ghetto, at great personal risk, to persuade Jewish parents to allow her to take their children to safety. Over the course of many months she succeeded in removing over 2500 children from the ghetto, often drugging them and carrying them out in toolboxes or hiding them under seats in tram cars.

Sendler preserved the names of the children, as well as the homes in which they were placed, in glass jars which she hid in her garden. She hoped that they could be returned to their families, or at the very least, to their community, after the war. The Nazis eventually arrested her but she never revealed the whereabouts of "her" children.

"Life in a Jar" is one of the  Lowell Milken Center's Discovery Award  projects, an award that the Center (founded by Jewish philanthropist Lowell Milken) grants to students who create high quality research projects which honor unsung heroes. In addition the performance of Life in a Jar has been seen by thousands of people in audiences throughout the world.

Check out the Irena Sendler website -- Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Story, for information on scheduling a performance in your neighborhood.

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