In Memory of
Irena Sendler passed away on Monday May 12th, 2008 at 8:00 am CEST in Warsaw, Poland. A funeral service was held on Thursday, May 15th at noon CEST in Warsaw. Memorial services were held in numerous places around the world, including Fort Scott, KS.
The life of Irena Sendler was one of great testimony, one of courage and love, one of respect for all people, regardless of race, religion and creed. She passed away peacefully, knowing that her message goes on. Our hearts and prayers go out to her worldwide family. She is gone, but will never be forgotten. Born in Warsaw, Poland, she lived most of her young life in Otwock. Irena Sendlerowa led the rescue of 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and those hiding in the Warsaw area, during the Holocaust in World War II. She was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her legacy of repairing the world continues, as good continues to triumph over evil. Irena Sendlerowa was 98 years old.
The www.irenasendler.org web site tells more about Irena’s life (under home page and additional information). The Life in a Jar students, who brought worldwide attention to her story, continue to share her legacy and the play (Life in a Jar) to people all over the world.
Following are tributes:
Megan Stewart, project founder: “My life has been forever touched by her testimony for good winning out over evil. Irena was more than a close friend, she was a role model for my life. Playing Irena Sendler in ‘Life in a Jar’ was the most powerful expression I could ever have.”
Elizabeth Cambers, student founder, “Irena touched my life in so many ways, at so many times.”
Life in a Jar cast and Irena Sendler Project: “Irena always told us to continue bringing light to the world. Our love and great admiration for her will cause us to never stop ‘repairing the world.”
Local Jewish man in Kansas City: “She took on the Third Reich and was victorious. I salute her and remember the quote about Lincoln, upon his death, ‘she now belongs to the ages.”
Jacek Leociak, historian and author: “She was a light, a light in the terrible darkness of the Warsaw Ghetto.”
From California: “Irena Sendler is a true hero and I thank God for her life and all the other brave people who risked their lives to help others.”
November 13, 2003 – from POPE JOHN PAUL II – TO IRENA SENDLEROWA. “Honorable and dear Madam, I have learned you were awarded the Jan Karski prize for Valor and Courage. Please accept my hearty congratulations and respect for your extraordinarily brave activities in the years of occupation, when – disregarding your own security – you were saving many children from extermination, and rendering humanitarian assistance to human beings who needed spiritual and material aid. Having been yourself afflicted with physical tortures and spiritual sufferings you did not break down, but still unsparingly served others, co-creating homes for children and adults. For those deeds of goodness for others, let the Lord God in his goodness reward you with special graces and blessing. Remaining with respect and gratitude I give the Apostolic Benediction to you.” POPE JOHN PAUL II
Terri Stern: “I find it impossible for anyone to hear your story and be untouched or unchanged.”
Brooklyn, New York: “Thank You Irena for your humanity and love. I just hope that in my life I have a little of what you have. You are loved by more people than you will ever know and so are your friends who also risked they’re lives for the love of life. Thank You!”
Middle School student from Missouri: “Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Because of it, many more people know the value of one. I have always loved learning about World War II, but I never thought studying it would teach me about bravery. I knew there were heroes of World War II, but I didn’t ever hear about any heroines. Your courageous acts of compassion have touched my heart and encouraged me to be all I can be.”
Norman Conard, former teacher. “We have lost a giant of the human race. She represented and still represents the best about our world. Also, we have lost a family member.”
From Boston: “I have tremendous respect for Irena and how she devoted her life to this and other similar causes. Tikkun Olam is something that was taught to me as a young boy by my parents who share your determination in passing this lesson on. A great rabbi, however, put it all together for me with a simple metaphor. He said ” for darkness to take over, it must completely fill a room. But one little flicker of light, a single lit match, can bring light to the whole room. Irena lit the first match.”
Irena’s comment and the connection with the kids from Kansas, “My emotion is being shadowed by the fact that no one from the circle of my faithful coworkers, who constantly risked their lives, could live long enough to enjoy all the honors that now are falling upon me…. I can’t find the words to thank you, my dear girls…. Before the day you have written the play ‘Life in a Jar’ — nobody in my own country and few in the whole world knew about my person and my work during the war …”