Polish parliament declares 2018 year of Irena Sendler
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish parliament on Thursday voted to dedicate 2018 to the memory of Irena Sendler, who saved hundreds of mainly Jewish children during WWII.
Irena Sendler, pictured in 2005. Photo: Mariusz Kubik/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Sendler's death.
A total of 436 MPs voted in favour of the commemoration during a sitting on Thursday, with only one MP abstaining.
As an employee of the Social Welfare Department of the city of Warsaw during WWII, Irena Sendler had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to check for signs of typhus, thanks to which she was able to smuggle the children out of the Ghetto and find Christian families and monasteries to take care of them.
In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured and sentenced to death. She was eventually saved prior to the execution.
Irena Sendler died on 12 May 2008, aged 98. She held the Righteous Among Nations title from the Yad Vashem Remembrance Institute in Jerusalem and the honorary citizenship of Israel. Her honours include the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest state distinction.
She also received a personal letter from Pope John Paul II praising her wartime efforts.
On 30 July 2008, the US House of Representatives adopted a resolution in remembrance of Irena Sendler and in 2009 she posthumously received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from The Sister Rose Thering Endowment in the United States and the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award.
Irena Sendler’s story was re-discovered in 1999 by three American high-school girls who wrote and produced a documentary play about Irena Sendler entitled ‘Life in a Jar’. (rg)