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May 13, 2008

Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler passed away May 12,08 in Warsaw at the age of 98.

The death was confirmed by Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, an organization that supports rescuers of Holocaust victims.

Mrs. Sendler was head of the children’s bureau of Zegota, an underground organization set up to save Jews after the Nazis invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.

In 1965, Mrs. Sendler became one of the first of the righteous gentiles honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Poland’s Communist leaders did not allow her to travel to Israel; she was presented the award in 1983.

In a letter last year to the Polish Senate after her country finally honored her efforts, Mrs. Sendler wrote, “Every child saved with my help and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers, who today are no longer living, is the justification of my existence on this earth, and not a title to glory.”

Mrs. Sendler once told Ms. Stahl that she wanted to write a book about the bravery of Jewish mothers.

(from an article of The New York Times, by Dennis Hevesi, May,13, 2008)

More about her story here: