Irena Sendler. Bringing Life to Children of the Holocaust by Diane Dakers

By Diane Dakers

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By Diane Dakers

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Extra resources for Irena Sendler. Bringing Life to Children of the Holocaust

Example text

Here he witnessed thousands of Jews being beaten and robbed of their possessions before being pushed into railcars for the journey to the concentration camps. Armed with what he had witnessed, Jan left Poland for Britain. During the course of this risk-filled journey, he had to take trains through dangerous territory—Germany and Nazi-occupied France—to Spain. There, he was picked up and taken to London. He carried with him a specially designed key. Inside the hollow shaft of this key was microfilm that contained miniature copies of important documents.

Along with ghettos and planned patterns of persecution, assaults, and killings carried out by Germany during World War II, the concentration camps were key cogs in a systematic program of terror. Toward the end of World War II, Jews were, by far, the people most often taken to, and killed at, Nazi concentration camps. But the Nazis also targeted political enemies, including communists, socialists, and members of trade unions; POWs (captured Soviet troops were especially singled out for cruel treatment); other groups the Nazis considered inferior “races,” such as Poles and Romanies (Gypsies); and other people they felt would dilute the “purity” of the so-called Aryan race— disabled adults and children, homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Her task was to interview people who needed food, shelter, money, and clothing. Later, she was head of the section for unwed mothers. Irena’s employer was full of dedicated employees who did good work, but the politicians of the day were against some of the socialist political views of the staff, and the agency was closed in 1935. Soon after the agency closed down, Irena began working for the Social Welfare Department for the city of Warsaw. Not only was she a caring social worker, but she also had a broad network of contacts who could help supply food, transportation, and forged, or fake, documents.

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