Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bravery without bounds: Irena Sendler

anna paquin
Anna Paquin as Irena Sendler in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Edna: Margie, I saw a movie on the television a couple weeks ago, and I just have to tell you, it was the most wonderfully done and moving thing I have seen in a very long time. It was about a Polish woman named Irena Sendler, have you ever heard of her?

Margie: Wasn't she involved in helping people during the Holocaust, Edna? I know that movie was on TV and I had planned to watch it then my TV messed up.

You probably did something to it because I really did want to see that movie. Go ahead and tell me about the movie and her.

Edna: Well, the movie is available for free on CBS' website for anyone who hasn't seen it, and I urge all of you to go watch it. But don't forget the tissues, this is a very emotional movie.

Margie, you are indeed correct. Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic woman who risked her own life to help thousands of Jewish children to avoid Nazi concentration camps during the German occupation of Poland in World War II. She worked tirelessy and carefully, but she was eventually caught by the Nazis. However, her story has a (relatively) happy ending, since she escaped from the Nazis and spent the remainder of the war in hiding. She lived until 2008, and she was 98 years old when she died.

Folks, I will tell you this: she had tremendous courage in the face of terrible and horrific odds. I do not know whether I would have had the same kind of courage, although I would like to think so.

Margie: Edna, you've got as much courage as Courage The Cowardly Dog.

It takes a special person to do what she did. I am so happy to hear that she managed to get out and live a long life. I best go watch that movie. I'll get tissue from your room first.

Edna: Margie, you go right ahead and use all of my tissues that you want. I'm feeling charitable after talking about Irena.

There is also a wonderful story about how four Kansas high school students in 1999 reached out to Mrs. Sendler, resulting in an unlikely but wonderful friendship. You can read more about it here: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.

We should all take a page from Irena Sendler's book, and always look outwards to help others, no matter what the personal cost. She has become my hero, and I'm so glad to have learned about her.

irena sendler
The real Irena Sendler
(1910-2008)

8 comments:

Shelly said...

It was a very touching and thought provoking movie. To risk one's life in order to save others is truly a gift. I can not imagine what the parents went through giving their children a chance to live. My Grandfather, Great Uncle and Great Grandmother (Polish Jews) escaped to America during this awful time so the movie really made me think about how lucky we are.

Balceroregontr said...

Stories like these don't get enough coverage. She is a hero not the type of people who are held up as hero now. I didn't know this movie was available online. I missed seeing it. I will watch it.
Debby

Amy Lilley Designs said...

She was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize which was given to Al Gore...then she died...HOWEVER, she received so much more in her crown of glory when she went to Heaven!!!!
It was beautifully done on TV!!!

Bless you Gals for this wonderful post...:))

Rebecca said...

Very good review! I don't watch television, so I am out of the loop when it comes to the occasional good TV show. I wrote a post about Sendler on my blog a few months ago, and it continues to get thousands of traffic visits.

You also might like to check out Corrie ten Boom and the book/movie The Hiding Place. It's very similar, and a GREAT movie.

siteseer said...

That was an incredible story wasn't it? Love to hear stories like that.

politicus said...

I was so glad to finally see a good movie made on this subject.

There have been untold thousands of Polish Catholics, who have saved probably hundreds of thousands of Jews during WW II.

Their bravery (which is hard to imagine under those terrible circumstances) is too often ignored. Also, the memory of those who gave their lives in this noble endeavor has been largely forgotten.

Isolated Existence. said...

I missed this movie because my DVR was full and it didn't record it! I'm have it on my rental queue although I have to wait some time before it comes out, I know it was a great movie...

seekngsane said...

great what the real Irene did but the movie was a bore!

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