Story of a World War II Heroine-Irena Sendler-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor: The eRumor is a simple one. It says "Irena Sendler---Must Watch!" and includes a link to a video on
YouTube. It is a clip from the television show of syndicated talk
show host Glenn Beck. In the video, he gives tribute to a woman
named Irena Sendler who died at the age of 98 in May, 2008 in Poland. Beck describes
how she rescued Jewish children in Poland by talking their parents into
giving them up and placing them in non-Jewish homes to save them from
dying at the hands of the Nazis. Beck also comments that she was
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that went to Al Gore
instead. Others versions of stories about Irena Sendler with photos
continue to circulate.
The Truth: The story of Irena Sendler is
true. According to a website set up in her honor at
www.irenasendler.org, she was
not widely known until a series of events that started in Kansas in the
U.S.A. in 1999.
A teacher in a rural Kansas town discovered a short magazine article that
claimed that a Polish woman saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto in
1942 and 1943. He gave the story to four high school students
and asked them to check it out. He said he'd never heard of the
woman and speculated that the article may have gotten the facts wrong.
The students looked into the story and discovered that Irena Sendler was
real, her story was accurate, and that she was still alive and living in
Sendler was a Catholic social worker during the 1940s who saw the
handwriting on the wall for the Jews of Poland. She became concerned
for the children in the Warsaw Ghetto, which was one of the
largest ghettos of Jews established by the Nazis. The population of
the Warsaw Ghetto dropped from 450,000 to about 70,000 people because of
starvation, sickness, and tens of thousands of Jews deported to
concentration camps and death.
Sendler convinced Jewish parents that their children were facing death
either in the Ghetto or in concentration camps and offered to rescue them.
She smuggled the children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and hid them in the
homes of Poles who adopted them or in orphanages or convents. She
made lists of the children's names and family connections and hid them in
jars in her garden so that someday she could find the children and tell
them who they were.
eventually discovered, arrested, tortured, and imprisoned by the Nazis.
The Polish underground bribed a guard to let her escape and she spent the
rest of the war in hiding.
The students in Kansas developed a performance titled Life In a Jar
that tells the story of Irena Sendler. Those performances and the
publicity that resulted have thrust the news about Irena Sendler around
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
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 the 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 of doing this, she managed to
smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi's
broke both her legs, 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 had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster
family homes or adopted.
Last year Irena was up for the Nobel
Peace Prize ... She was not selected…