‘People who stand up for others are very rare’

Irena Sendler:

Using her position as a social worker, Sendler regularly entered the ghetto, smuggling around 2,500 children out in boxes, suitcases or hidden in trolleys.

The children were then placed with Polish families outside the ghetto, created by Nazi Germany in 1940 for the city’s half a million strong Jewish population, and given new identities.

But in 1943 Sendler, who led the children’ section of the Zegota organization which helped Jews during the war, was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo.

She only escaped execution when Zegota managed to bribe some Nazi officials, who left her unconscious but alive with broken legs and arms in the woods.

“People who stand up for others, for the weak, are very rare. The world would have been a better place if there were more of them,” Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, said on national television.


7 thoughts on “‘People who stand up for others are very rare’

  1. I agree Mothra. Looking at her, she seems to be the sweetest, most non-threatening person I could meet. Then I think of the guts it took for her to do what she did.

  2. What I find interesting is how real heroes often don’t see themselves as heroes. They KNOW what the right thing is to do and they do it. I wonder who SHE considers a hero? That would have been an interesting thing to find out.
    She put her life a risk. And she was tortured for it. I think about people right now with in the government legal system who put the careers at risk to stop torture. And then I think about the people who set up a system where your career is at risk for saying torture is wrong and we shouldn’t do it. Just how backwards is that?
    That you are punished and or lose your job because you WANT the rule of law? Welcome to the Bush/Rove movement conservative world.

  3. I watched the documentary Nanking last night, which features similar tales of bravery from a handful of American missionaries, doctors and Nazi businessmen rescuing hundreds of thousands of Chinese peasants from the depredations of the Japanese. Quite a stunning moral tale and highly recommended. Shockingly, one of the main heroines, the dean of a women’s college, committed suicide several years later over guilt that she had not saved enough people. Such people like her and Sendler are all too rare in life.

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