Polish woman who saved some 2,500 Jewish children from Holocaust dies

By
May 12, 2008 12:33

Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who organized the rescue of some 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis and was later honored by Yad Vashem memorial, has died. Sendler's daughter, Janina Zgrzembska, told The Associated Press her mother died at a Warsaw hospital Monday morning. She was 98. Records show Sendler's team of some 20 people saved almost 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto between October 1940 and April 1943, when the Nazis burned the ghetto, shooting the residents or sending them to death camps. In 1965, Sendler became one of the first so-called Righteous Gentiles that the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem honored for wartime heroics. Poland's communist leaders at that time would not allow her to travel to Israel, and she collected the award only in 1983. Despite the Yad Vashem honor, Sendler largely remained forgotten in her homeland. Only in her final years, confined to a nursing home, did she finally become one of Poland's most respected figures, with President Lech Kaczynski and other politicians backing a campaign that put her name forward for the Nobel Peace Prize.


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