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I’m breaking my chain letter rule to share with you the story of a “female Schindler”

I’ve got a confession to make.

You know when you sent me that email chain letter that said we would all have bad luck if I didn’t forward it on? Well, I deleted it. And that one where if I didn’t send it on to my seven dearest friends, they would never know how much I cared? Deleted. That internet meme that I you sent with best intentions? Sorry, deleted. Even that chain letter full of stickers for your kids’ friends? Yes, I’m the bad guy who broke the chain.

I just can’t do them. I don’t know what it is … it could be that it’s the sniff of guilt attached to them, or perhaps the thought of dropping another item on to someone else’s to-do list. Or maybe I’m just a party pooper. (That’s a good possibility, actually.)

In any case, I received a chain email letter this morning from my step father-in-law. It was about a woman named Irena Sendler. And it warmed the heart of even this, the grouchiest of chain-letter party poopers, enough that I am going to share it with you.

So, without further ado, here it is:

The prize doesn’t always go to the most deserving!!!

There  recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena Sendler. During  WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the WarsawGhetto, 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. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global  Warming. 

Irena Sendler rescued some children in bags and sent some crawling through sewers

It is now more than  60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a  memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million  Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who  were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and  humiliated!

You can read more about Irena Sendler on Wikipedia, a site titled Holocaust: Crimes, Heros and Villains, and Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. Reading more about her, it is impossible not to be touched by her strength and courage. And yet, she was such a humble person. Before her death, she was honoured at a ceremony in 2007. She was too frail to attend, but she sent a letter. This passage, quoted in the United Kingdom’s newspaper the Telegraph, stuck me most:

“Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.” — Irena Sendler


  1. But it isn’t a “true” chainletter….

    …’cuz this one really is true.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I had never heard of this lady before. She so deserved the peace prize so much more than the fella that got it.

  2. Thanks so much for making this the exception to your rule, Julie.

    Spreading the story of Irena Sendler was well worth it!

  3. From now on… whenever I need a mental image of an angel, that’s the face I will think of. beautiful face, beautiful soul, beautiful story. thanx for sharing it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I had heard of her before, but it is always important to remember the true heroes. This definitely doesn’t count as a chain letter.

  5. I’m glad that you have found Irena Sendler’s story just as fascinating as I did!

    I had never heard of her before this chain letter email arrived (which had a whole bunch of other stuff about why I needed to keep the chain going, etc, etc, that I didn’t include here.) When I did a simple google search to check out the truth behind the email, I was amazed and really kinda sad that I hadn’t heard about her before. She really is the kind of person that epitomizes “hero” to me in a world that has overused and almost eroded the word to a point where it’s meaningless.

  6. I was going to ask you what the chain letter hoped to accomplish?

  7. Wow. This made me cry. Her heroism is something that should be celebrated and recognized worldwide–something that you are doing by posting this.

    As for chain letters? Yeah, I don’t pass them a long either. I like the idea of being a rebel. : )

  8. What a beautiful,compassionate, courageous woman! While I am also not a fan of chain letters, it is good that this one is going around so more people know about her!

  9. Abe Mazliach says:

    “Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize …. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming” This is a lie.

    Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

    Not only does this message defile Al Gore, it also belittles the Nobel Foundation.

    As a child of Holocaust Survivor parents, it make me very angry to see lies portrayed as truth. This goes against everything we are trying to do to fight people saying the Holocaust is a myth when, in the same breath, they are telling lies for political purposes.

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. Indeed, chain letters often contain ridiculous assertions which is why I usually delete them … but this particular chain letter introduced me to Irena and for that, if nothing more, I appreciated it.

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