Life In a Jar

Irena Sendlerowa

I came across this story and I really think it is worth reading, it shows a lot – that even in darkest times there are good people, that one can actually make a difference, like Irena Sendler did and more.

A teacher in a rural Kansas town discovered a short magazine article that claimed that a Polish woman saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 and 1943. The story was then given to 4 students, who investigated it further, because the teacher said he’d never heard of the woman and speculated that the article may have gotten the facts wrong. The students discovered that Irena Sendler was real, her story was accurate, and that she was still alive and living in Poland.

trust in humanity

Irena Sendler

The story is that Irena was a Catholic social worker during the 1940s. She was concerned for the children in the Warsaw Ghetto, which was one of the largest ghettos of Jews established by the Nazis. The population of the Warsaw Ghetto dropped from 450,000 to about 70,000 people because of starvation, sickness, and tens of thousands of Jews deported to concentration camps and executed.

Therefore Irena convinced Jewish parents that their children were facing death either in the Ghetto or in concentration camps and offered to rescue them. She smuggled the children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and hid them in the homes of Poles who adopted them, orphanages or convents. She made lists of the children’s names and family connections and hid them in jars in her garden so that someday she could find the children and tell them who they were.

Irena was eventually discovered, arrested, tortured, and imprisoned by the Nazis. The Polish underground bribed a guard to let her escape and she spent the rest of the war in hiding.

The students in Kansas developed a performance titled Life In a Jar that tells the story of Irena Sendler. Those performances and the publicity that resulted have thrust the news about Irena Sendler around the world.