History's HEROES? 1910 - 2008

Irena Sendlerowa

Irena Sendlerowa - Key facts

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1910 Feb 15th - Irena is born in Warsaw. As she grows up, her father says she must help other people as much as possible.
1917 February - Irena's father, who is a doctor, dies of typhus, helping other people.
1923-1930 Irena gets into trouble in school and college trying to help her Jewish friends.
1932 Irena has married and is now working helping unmarried mothers.
1933 January 30th - Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
1939 By now, Irena is manager of a department that helps orphans, the poor, the sick and old people.
September - Poland is invaded by Germany and Russia. Soon Jews are not allowed to go to work or school.
Irena and her deparment start to help Jews, making up other names for them, so they can give them food and clothing.
1940 All the Jews are put into one small area of Warsaw. Walls are built round the Ghetto and they are allowed very little food or medicine.
1941 Irena manages to get a pass into the Ghetto to help the people sick with typhoid. She cannot help everyone, so she decides to help the children escape.
1942 The first death camps are built and the Nazis start to send the Jews out to them to be murdered.
Irena organises the work of smuggling Jewish children out of the Ghetto and finding places for them to live safely until the end of the war.
1942-43 Many children are helped to escape. Details about them are kept hidden by Irena - put into jam jars and buried.
1943 The Jewish people in the Ghetto rise up and fight the Nazi soldiers when they come to take them to the death camps. More soldiers are sent in, the uprising is crushed and thousands of Jews killed.
Irena is arrested and tortured to make her tell them about the children and others who helped. She refuses. Both her legs are broken and she is sentenced to death.
1944 On her way to be executed, Irena is rescued by friends who bribed the guards. She goes into hiding.
The people of Warsaw try to fight the Nazis but are defeated. Thousands are killed and injured. Irena works as a nurse helping them and hiding Jews.
1945 The war ends. Irena digs up the names of the rescued children and gives them to the Jewish Committee who try to help families find each other.
2008 Irena dies. She had been a member of Solidarity who threw out the Communists. She had also been recognised worldwide for her bravery and help to Jews and many others.
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