Wednesday, November 9, 2011


A few weeks ago, someone I know posted this story on facebook:

There recently was a death of a 98 year old lady named Irena. During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive...

She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, (being German). Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of her tool box she carried, and she carried in the back of her truck a Burlap sack, (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back, that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in, and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time and course of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, and arms, and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out, and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it, and reunited the family. Most of course had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes, or adopted.

Last year Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize....


Al Gore won, for doing a slide show on Global Warming.

Now, when I read such a thing, that has a ring of "exaggerated internet story, complete with mediocre use of grammar," I first mosey myself over to Sure enough, a few of the details were wrong. She was Polish, actually pretended to be a nurse, not a plumber, she worked with others, who knows about that dog, the dig against poor Al Gore seems gratuitous, and it's not known for sure that she was a Nobel nominee (although it seems reasonable). But as far as the big picture is concerned, the story is true. Irena Sendler died in 2008 at the age of 98.

Now, it's never my goal to guilt or shame myself into feeling less anxious or sad, although as I noted in my last post, it's so easy to do that. So that's not how I took this story, and it's not my intention in passing it along. When I was younger, I was a go-getter: I volunteered up to 20 hours each week in addition to my job, working on environmental issues and with at risk youth, among other things. And now? Well, I spend a lot of my free time on the internet. So, no, I don't want to shame myself back into action. I want to inspire myself back into action. Despite the rampant cynicism we often experience, the fact is that individuals can make a difference.


  1. I did know the true story of Irena Sendler. It is still inspirational to hear it again. It is sad that so many people, including myself, can be so cynical at times, but you are right. Individuals can make a difference, and that idea itself is inspiring. : )

  2. Wow - I didn't know that story. She should have a movie made about her. And she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize too!! Thanks for this. I also believe strongly in giving back. You and I definitely need to meet at the IOCDF Conference next year. :o)

  3. "So, no, I don't want to shame myself back into action. I want to inspire myself back into action."

    YES. You and me both.

  4. There was a made for Hallmark movie made about her. It starred Anna Paquin. It was titled "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. : )

  5. What an amazing story, and it can certainly inspire us all into action.....I know it inspires me. It would be interesting to know about some of the babies/children she saved and what they have gone on to do in their lives, thanks to her. I need to see that movie!