Irena Sendler, born on February 15, 1910, would grow up to be one of the most incredible heroes of WWII. Irena’s father was a doctor, and when he passed away when she was just seven years old, she decided to study medicine in his honor. Ever since she made this decision, Irena’s life became more and more geared towards helping everybody around her, rather than worrying about herself.
Irena finally became a registered nurse and was promptly shipped away to the Warsaw Ghetto, where she was forced to see the atrocities Nazi party members carried out on their captives. Upon seeing these conditions, Irena realized it was finally her time to make a big difference in a big way.
“[My] hatred for the German occupiers was stronger than my fear…My father taught me to reach out to a drowning man, even if you can’t swim. It was Poland who was drowning,” Irena once said.
Teaming up with an organization called Zegota, Irena worked with the group to help free Jewish captives that were being tortured in these Nazi camps. Using the resources Zegota could offer, Irena was able to rescue thousands of children by hiding them in coffins to sneak them out of the camps. Using her background as a trained nurse, she was able to effectively nurse them back to health after they had been subjected to so much pain.
Irena was caught in the act of sneaking some of these children out, though, and the officers would not allow her to leave until they got the information they were looking for. Strong and resilient, Irena never broke and never gave up what she knew, and lucky for her, Zegota was able to bribe an officer and break Irena out of her prison.
Having to change her identity upon her escape, Irena kept a secret can containing all the names of the children she was able to help escape from the camp. When she was 98 years old, Irena had the chance to meet with many of the families she had once helped out. Through her incredibly brave actions, Irena had saved thousands of lives, and when she was 98 she actually got to see some of these children as adults who had lived a meaningful life thanks to her sacrifices.
A while after having this amazing meeting with many of the families she had helped out, Irena had passed away. Still, Irena Sendler will truly remain a hero forever, and will always be remembered for dedicating her life to helping thousands of imprisoned children, many of which were able to thank her before she passed away.
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