Inspirational Fridays: Irena Sendler Life in a Jar Story

Irena-SendlerToday, I wondered about an inspirational story for my post.  And as I was clearing my email account, yes, I found another noteworthy message, this time it was about Irena Sendler.  She was an incredible woman that save many Jewish children’s lives during WWII.

The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Fate may have led Irena Sendler to the moment almost 70 years ago when she began to risk her life for the children of strangers. But for this humble Polish Catholic social worker, who was barely 30 when one of history’s most nightmarish chapters unfolded before her, the pivotal influence was something her parents had drummed into her.”

“I was taught that if you see a person drowning,” she said, “you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not.”

When the Nazis occupying Poland began rounding up Jews in 1940 and sending them to the Warsaw ghetto, Sendler plunged in.

With daring and ingenuity, she saved the lives of more than 2,500 Jews, most of them children, a feat that went largely unrecognized until the last years of her life.

Sendler, 98, who died of pneumonia Monday in Warsaw, has been called the female Oskar Schindler, but she saved twice as many lives as the German industrialist, who sheltered 1,200 of his Jewish workers. Unlike Schindler, whose story received international attention in the 1993 movie “Schindler’s List,” Sendler and her heroic actions were almost lost to history until four Kansas schoolgirls wrote a play about her nine years ago.

The lesson Sendler taught them was that “one person can make a difference,” Megan Felt, one of the authors of the play, said Monday.

“Irena wasn’t even 5 feet tall, but she walked into the Warsaw ghetto daily and faced certain death if she was caught. Her strength and courage showed us we can stand up for what we believe in, as well,” said Felt, who is now 23 and helps raise funds for aging Holocaust rescuers.

Sendler was born Feb. 15, 1910, in Otwock, a small town southeast of Warsaw. She was an only child of parents who devoted much of their energies to helping workers.

She was especially influenced by her father, a doctor who defied anti-Semites by treating sick Jews during outbreaks of typhoid fever. He died of the disease when Sendler was 9.

She studied at Warsaw University and was a social worker in Warsaw when the German occupation of Poland began in 1939. In 1940, after the Nazis herded Jews into the ghetto and built a wall separating it from the rest of the city, disease, especially typhoid, ran rampant. Social workers were not allowed inside the ghetto, but Sendler, imagining “the horror of life behind the walls,” obtained fake identification and passed herself off as a nurse, allowed to bring in food, clothes and medicine.

By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends — a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women — and began rescuing Jewish children.

She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second. One of Sendler’s children told of waiting by a gate in darkness as a German soldier patrolled nearby. When the soldier passed, the boy counted to 30, then made a mad dash to the middle of the street, where a manhole cover opened and he was taken down into the sewers and eventually to safety.

Decades later, Sendler was still haunted by the parents’ pleas, particularly of those who ultimately could not bear to be apart from their children.

“The one question every parent asked me was ‘Can you guarantee they will live?’ We had to admit honestly that we could not, as we did not even know if we would succeed in leaving the ghetto that day. The only guarantee,” she said, “was that the children would most likely die if they stayed.”

Most of the children who left with Sendler’s group were taken into Roman Catholic convents, orphanages and homes and given non-Jewish aliases. Sendler recorded their true names on thin rolls of paper in the hope that she could reunite them with their families later. She preserved the precious scraps in jars and buried them in a friend’s garden.

In 1943, she was captured by the Nazis and tortured but refused to tell her captors who her co-conspirators were or where the bottles were buried. She also resisted in other ways. According to Felt, when Sendler worked in the prison laundry, she and her co-workers made holes in the German soldiers’ underwear. When the officers discovered what they had done, they lined up all the women and shot every other one. It was just one of many close calls for Sendler.

During one particularly brutal torture session, her captors broke her feet and legs, and she passed out. When she awoke, a Gestapo officer told her he had accepted a bribe from her comrades in the resistance to help her escape. The officer added her name to a list of executed prisoners. Sendler went into hiding but continued her rescue efforts.

 

Granny’s Wisdom: The Family Killed Their Cash-cow

Honour killing 01“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marring a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it.” –Farzana Parveen’s Father

Yesterday, I entered into a social hornets nest.  The group topic I chose to comment on was about a young 25-year-old Pakistani woman.  She was several months pregnant and married a man 20 years older with five motherless children.  The price she paid for not seeking family approval on the man she married was death.

What makes this crime worse than horrible is she was stoned to death by those that should have loved her most, her family.

And what socially puts this on the Richter scale as being the most horrible crime done in the name of God are the religious head-hunters.

But this crime had nothing to do with religion.  Her father clearly stated, ‘she had insulted all of our family by marring a man without our consent.’  He said nothing about them persecuting her for religious reasons.  Yet, those that dislike any form of religion say’s differently; including one of the groups I belong to on Facebook.

Their viewpoints on the matter are why I’m writing this blog post.  Because according to the admin she first expresses the matter as “not directly religion based, but an honour killing.”  Then she turns around and writes, “However, religious laws which are rampant, which treat women as chattels and not as people, and which place their only value in marriage and breeding are responsible for the attitudes which make honour killiings so common.”  

It’s a sad state of affairs when a group of people have nothing better to do with their time outside of bashing religion and religious groups.  And it is even sadder when the group fail to accept reality that no one, no religious entity, or social group is perfect; not even theirs.

I feel the statements of the admin smacks of headhunting.  And after viewing the news clipping of an overseas television station that stated the crime was cultural and not linked to Islāmic faith practices my thoughts were confirmed that the group was out for religious blood.

Apart from pointing out the group’s efforts for blaming religion, I felt the administrator and those within the group straddle-the-fence when it came to addressing the real issues about what lead up to the untimely death of the young woman.  Blinded by religious prejudices each group member failed to see the true culprit(s).  Yet, they were hell-bent in their dogmatic practice in making sure I understood their cock-eyed viewpoints on the subject; which was by the way religious practice was behind the stoning.

As I saw things, their viewpoints held validity for those that hate religion and those that do not follow God.

One gentleman basically stated religious people were brainwashed.  And that those who choose to believed in God were delusional because they believed in “imaginary friends in the sky.”  Oh isn’t he cute!  Just a bit of sarcasm! He went on to tell me that he needed to teach me theology because I knew nothing of the word of God. I felt his tainted knowledge kept and keeps him prisoner of his self-absorb very flawed character.  I got his point!  But his arrogance stopped him from getting mine.  I knew he wanted me to understand that if I understood the word of God as he deduced it, I would not be so apt to follow Christ.  Hum . . . Whatever!

Honestly the real gem of his religious mockery was him babbling that I was trying to convert him!  Convert hell!  I was defending my faith and my rights as a follower of Christ to state what I felt was truth in this particular “honour killing.”

Then after Mr. I Have Courage Behind The Computer Screen tried to shame me for being a follower of Christ among his peers, his little goonies chimed in!  And the insult game was on!

Each person tried to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about.  They were spewing out their rehearsed anti-religion scrap quickly!  They wanted the key players to know they were on top of their positions as being group gophers.  And to make sure they got group acknowledgement for their efforts in setting this indoctrinated idiot straight, they would every so often ask for a pat on the head after their self-destructive comments.

I knew exactly what I was stating and why I made my comments.  I knew they were talking about honour killings.  I also knew they were straddling the fence by agreeing with ‘not directly religion based, but an honour killing’ misleading statement.

Honestly, as a logical person, I want to know what does that statement really mean?!!!  And how is their key-board courage helping these defeated women?

Farzana Parveen is just one of many women that will be killed this year in Pakistan.  Many of their deaths will be administered by family members.  And thinking for themselves will be their crimes.  These types of killings, (no! wait!) any type of killing is wrong!  For any reason!

As an American, as a woman, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s niece, someone’s aunt, and someone’s mother, I feel the women in Pakistan should have the right to marry the man of their choice!  They should have the right to marry for love.  They should have the rights to decide if they want to continue cultural tradition in allowing their family to pick their husband.  But they should not be killed for any reason; and certainly not because they used their brain.

These women are not cash cows!  Yet, cultural practice deems them so!  And because Farzana Parveen used her brain to stand up for her dignity she was stoned to death.  The organ that made her Farzana Parveen was smashed out of her body.  And no one stepped up to the plate to help her.

The men in her family that brutally attacked her and the men on the streets of Pakistan that sat/stood by and watched this unthinkable crime publicly dishonored themselves.  There is no honor in a mob killing let alone killing a helpless pregnant woman!

And as for supporting my argument below:

“Call it what you may but this was not a religious honor killing. This senseless act was a killing of selfishness. It had nothing to do with religion but everything to do with monetary disappointments. And sadly religion of any kind, mainly Christians, are being blamed here for this horrific act. Only far left wing and far right wing groups would partake in an inhuman act; and, thus, called themselves justified. The ex-boy friend was upset because he had something to gain from the marriage of convenience and lost it when she married for love. The father was upset because the man she married didn’t have as much as the man he choose. So after she failed to leave the man she loved and professed her love in court the father was angered even more because of his monetary losses! Therefore, they killed her out of anger and the rest went along because they failed to use their small brains. So! No! This was not a religious act! This was a crime of economy! A crime that can be considered as a selfish monetarily motivated act and it didn’t happen in America! And all involved should be captured and tried for murder.” –Annette Harrison

Tune in next time!  But remember to prayer and or do something to help other’s.