Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98)
During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist.
Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried.
Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.
During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.
Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi’s broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out,
In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected.
Later another politician,
I think that there are a number of misconceptions about the Nobel Peace Prize that cause some confusion here. First, the Peace Prize is awarded only to the living, so the year Obama won the award (2009) she wouldn’t have been eligible. But, more importantly, the Prize is also only awarded for “significant activities during the past two years“, so Irena Sendler’s activities wouldn’t qualify her for the award some 60+ years later, noble and selfless as the were. Unlike some of the other Nobel awards, the peace Prize is not a “lifetime achievement” award.
Finally, the qualifications for the awarding the Nobel Peace Prize were set by the will of Alfred Nobel to be given ”to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Noble as they were, Irena Sendler’s activities weren’t really of this nature. It should also be noted that there were 181 people who had been submitted as nominees for the award.
The Nobel Committee discourages organizations that make nominations from releasing the names people they nominate, so that judges are not swayed by political pressures. The only reason we know for certain that Irena was nominated is that the Polish Government chose to reveal that fact. There are, in fact, no “Official Nominees” and the committee will keep the actual nominees names secret for 50 years after they are submitted.
There is no controversy here. One could take issue with the criteria for the award, but they’ve been long established, and certainly are nothing that Obama or Gore had anything to do with. If you think that injustice has been done, then the proper organization to contact would be the Nobel Committee.
The “outrage” of various individuals such as Glenn Beck over this means they either didn’t bother to do basic journalistic research on the Peace Prize and it’s criteria, or they did, but saw an opportunity to take a swipe at Al Gore.
Again, please do not interpret any of this as trying to diminish the amazing story of Irena Sendler. But I do think a more fitting memorial letter would include taking the time to make sure the basic facts (like her nationality) of the story are correct. Not mentioning Zegota, or others that were involved does both those involved and Sendler a disservice. Sendler’s actions are heroic enough that one doesn’t have to make her into a super-hero who all by herself saved 2,500 kids. The authors of this letter are using the sacrifice of Sendler and others to promote their own views, views that have nothing to do with either the holocaust or Irena Sendler.
If you do wish to learn more about Irena Sendler, here are a few links to where you can learn more:
Short student produced You Tube Film
“In the Name of Their Mothers” PBS Documentary about Irena Sendler
2009 Hallmark Movie “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler”
Both Movies are available on Netflix.
Posted in Historical-Political-
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