Irena's Children

Gallery Books  2016


In 1942, a young social worker named Irena Sendler was granted access to the Warsaw Ghetto as a public health specialist. While there, she began to understand the fate that awaited the Jewish families who were unable to leave. Soon she reached out to the trapped families, going from door to door and asking them to trust her with their young children. She started smuggling children out of the walled district, convincing her friends and neighbors to hide them. Driven to extreme measures and aided by a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and a lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena made dangerous trips through the city's sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through secret passages in abandoned buildings, keeping the names of the thousands of children she saved in a secret list buried in bottles under an old apple tree in a friend's back garden so that their families could find them after the war. She could not know that more than ninety percent of their families would perish.

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