Inspiring Story: An Unsung Heroine

For today's Inspiring Story, I will try to keep it short and sweet. Although I think the story I will present is inspiring in and of itself, I wanted to share a few related things that will make it even more inspiring (well, it did for me, anyway). So here goes... Today, we focus on Irena Sendlerowa. She was a Polish woman who worked as a social worker for the Nazis during the 1900s, when Hitler was having his "reign." As social worker to the Warsaw Ghetto, she made it her job to rescue as many Jewish children as she could! She knew that if they remained there, they would all be killed by the Nazis. And rescue them, she did! Armed with a tool box and a trunk, she would smuggle children out of the prison; the smaller children were placed in a tool box, and the larger children were placed in the trunk. She managed to evade the Nazi guards detection by using her trusty dog as a cover; whenever a Nazi guard came near, her dog was trained to bark! This created some frustration for the guards who would try to quiet the dog. But for Irena, it provided an excellent cover! She managed to rescue over 2,500 children from those camps! When the war was over, she tried to reunite the children with their families (she had saved the names of each child and buried them in her yard), but most of the parents had died in the camps.

I saw an article about Irena Sendlerowa in Rebecca's archives. Funny thing is, I had JUST read an article about Irena the night before! That was interesting enough, but I learned some more details that I wanted to share with you. About a decade ago, no one remembered who Irena Sendlerowa was. But that all began to change in 1999 when a handful of high-school students were given a history assignment. They had to write about a historical figure for a history contest. Having no idea who to write about, the girls went to their history teacher. He gave them a stack of old newspaper articles to look through. One article mentioned a man who had rescued 1,200 children. The article went on to state that a certain Irena Sendlerowa had rescued 2,500 children! The girls could hardly believe it! 2,500?! They decided to write a play on Irena. They scoured the Internet for information, but there was nothing, except for a few websites which couldn't offer much information. They wrote to one of the organizations asking for more details. The letter which they received in response amazed them all: the letter stated that if they wished to know more about Irena, they could write to her at her home address; she was still alive! The girls promptly wrote a letter explaining who they were and what they were doing. Shortly thereafter, they received a reply, but it was in Polish! They were able to have the letter translated at a local University. In the letter, Irena stated that she would have done what anyone else had done! She provided the students with a lot of information for their project. Their play, entitled "Life in A Jar," ended up being one of the final runner-ups in the history contest! Later, as the play began to gain popularity and publicity, a newsreporter approached the girls and asked, "Would you like to actually meet Irena Sendlerowa?" In return, the reporter asked that the girls let them know what information they would find out! The students were able to meet Irena Sendlerowa four times before her death in 2008, and with her, some of those she rescued! The plays are continuing to this day. So far, "Life In A Jar" has shown 270 times! Megan Stewart Felt, one of the four original students, plays Irena in the "Life In a Jar" presentation. She has started an organization called the Lowell Milken Center to enable other students to tell the stories of the world's unsung heroes.

The students initiated a website,, in honor of Irena. The website continues to broadcast information about the life and legacy of Irena Sendlerowa. You can also find a listing of the showings for their play on the site. In addition, this page gives the detailed story of Irena Sendlerowa and the highschool girls.


  1. Very inspiring, in fact. I can't even begin to comprehend: 2,500 children!!!! I'd love to see one of those plays! Thanks for sharing this story with us!


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