Lady Arrested for Hiding 2,500 Kids in Coffins During WWII, Years Later True Story Is Out (Part 1)


BY LI YEN, EPOCH TIMES | July 17, 2019
When the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis during WWII, Polish social worker Irena Sendler knew she had to help, even if that meant endangering her own life. During that period, she rescued over 2,500 Jewish babies and children before she was arrested and her secret was exposed.
Born in Poland on Feb. 15, 1910, Irena Sendler, also known as Irena Krzyżanowska, grew up being instilled with the value of helping people “regardless of religion and nationality” by her father, Dr. Stanisław Krzyżanowski, a physician who ran a hospital at the suburb of Otwock.
“Remember, when someone is drowning, extend a helping hand,” Sendler recalled her father’s words.
So, even though she was a Roman Catholic, she committed herself to help Jewish families when the Jews were in danger after the Nazis created the Warsaw Ghetto.
Sendler joined Zegota, an underground organization established by the Polish government in exile during WWII with the aim to rescue Polish Jews, even though she knew this would put her own life at risk. In 1942 and 1943, Sendler organized a small group of social workers to help Jewish children to escape.
Working as a Roman Catholic social worker with the Warsaw Social Welfare Department at the time, Sendler was allowed to enter the Jewish ghetto the Nazis set up in November 1940 to segregate Jews in a designated area around the size of New York’s Central Park.
She visited many Jewish families in order to help their kids. “We witnessed terrible scenes. Father agreed, but mother didn’t,” she recounted, The Telegraph reported. “I’d go back there the next day and often found that everyone had been taken to the Umschlagsplatz railway siding for transport to the death camps.”
To rescue the Jewish children, Sendler would have them pretend they were ill and then bring them to hospitals. As the surveillance outside the ghetto increased, she would hide them in ambulances, wheeling them out of the ghetto in coffins, suitcases, sacks, and trunks. Sometimes, she would help the children escape through the courthouse, the sewer pipes, or other secret underground passageways, which provided a route to the outside world.
Sendler saved more than 2,500 children, who were given forged documents stating their new Christian identities and a home in substitute Polish families, convents, orphanages, or hospitals. Hoping to reunite these children with their families one day after the war, she noted down their names on thin tissue papers before her secret activities got out.
On the night of Oct. 20, 1943, Sendler was arrested and sent to the notorious Piawiak prison, where she was tortured and interrogated. She had both of her arms broken. Nevertheless, she refused to give in and was sentenced to death.
Fortunately, her allies bribed a soldier in the prison, and she was rescued while on the way to be executed. From then on, she lived under a false identity.
After the war, she dug up the jars containing the lists of children, which was buried in a garden. She gave the lists to a rescue organization to help reunite the families. But sadly, most of the children’s families were killed at the Treblinka death camp.
Speaking to Sydsvenskan, she said: “My hatred of the German occupiers was stronger than my fear. In addition, my father had taught me that if you see a man drowning, you must try to save him even if you cannot swim. At that time, it was Poland that was drowning.” To be continued next issue.
This article is reprinted with permission from The Epoch Times.