Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 The Irena Sendler Project was the perfect illustration of the impact a simple high school project can have on the documentation of history. Without a small handful of high school students from rural Kansas the world may have never known the valiant history of Irena Sendler. I was impressed with the work and research done by the students and the effort they made, I was equally thankful they had supportive parents and teachers who believed in the importance of their project and made the work possible.

Sometimes I get overly caught up in WWII history and I wonder if I should venture out into something less depressing, but then I read stories like this and I realize that the 1940’s captivates me, not because of the horror it inhabits but because of the strength and bravery it portrays. Women like Irena were rare, but they did exist and their stories give me hope for times of trial. When challenges are faced with bravery we find love and goodness, something we can all be strengthened by.

Historical Value- 5

Emotional Value- 5

Entertainment Value- 3

Personal character Value- 4

Age recommendation- Teen

“Every time you walk into church, the first thing you see is a man on a cross. He died to save us-not to give us everything we want-to save us. That's what's so hard to understand. It's not about him answering your prayers-it's about you being like him no matter what happens on this Earth. 'Thy will be done.' There will always be sadness and pain.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “You see a man drowning; you must try to save him even if you cannot swim.” 
― 
Irena SendlerLife In A Jar

 “Take her, quickly. Don’t make us think about it any longer.” Irena lingered for a moment and repeated the pretense that made this desperate act possible. “After the war you’ll be reunited.” “I don’t think so,” he whispered. “But thank you for that, young lady.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “I do not consider myself a hero. The true heroes were the mothers and fathers who gave me their children. I only did what my heart commanded. A hero is someone doing extraordinary things. What I did was not extraordinary. It was a normal thing to do. I was just being decent.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 

“So many of those Irena saved, especially those saved as very young children and babies, don’t know that she was the one to whom they owe their lives. Many don’t even know that they are Jewish. During the war no one talked about it – such information could cost the lives of a rescuer’s entire family. They simply became the Catholic children of their foster parents. After the war, under Communism one did not admit to saving Jews. I myself did not discover that I was a rescued Jewish child until I was 17, when students at my high school began to call me a Jew. I didn’t understand, so I asked my adoptive mother, Stanislawa Bussoldowa, the midwife who delivered me. After the war, when I was three and a half, she adopted me from the care of my war-time nanny, Olga. She called Irena, who came right away and told me my story.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “Young Irena: Yes, I will always remember that, and I will also remember what you say about people all being the same, regardless of race or religion. I will not forget your words – ever.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “Our experience of death is so that the people from outside die, but we believe that we are exempt. We won’t die. It is also important to understand how difficult it is for people to realize that the whole ghetto, almost 400,000 will be sent to death. It is unbelievable. There is no precedent – this has never happened before. I think it is impossible for people to realize this story.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “There was Irena, less than five feet tall, standing behind her chrome walker, smiling, her coal-dark eyes surprised. She wore a black dress and a black headband across her pure white hair. Irena’s smile turned puckish, the tip of her tongue flicking across her lips. Liz began to clap, then Megan and Sabrina, right behind her, and like pond ripples their applause spread into the living room. Was it for Irena? For the Kansas girls? For the moment? Irena motioned with one hand – come to me. And they did so, cautiously, for Megan thought her frail as crystal. Irena looped her arm around Megan and pulled her cheek down to her own. Liz and Sabrina stood by Irena’s walker, Liz’s hand covering her mouth, shocked to be there. Tears streaked Megan’s cheeks. Abruptly, the applause stopped, as if only silence was suitable for this moment.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “Irena greeted each one and again asked, “Do you have any burning questions?” Sabrina said, “I still don’t understand why your heroism wasn’t better known.” Megan said, “Everybody we tell your story to asks why they don’t know you. It’s not fair.” “Yes, my dear girls, the world is not fair. It is for you to make it more fair. People like me, people with the Yad Vashem medal – I think many wish I would just quietly die without reminding them of our dark history. A life is full of wonderful things and terrible things. Still, I try to remember the good, but sometimes it’s too difficult – too painful.” 
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 “Compared to what you and the Jewish and Polish people lived through, our difficulties are trivial. Compared to your courage, we are, all of us, only children. But you are our hero – our role model. We will carry on your mission – your deep commitment to respect for all people. I want to offer a toast in Hebrew – one we all know well – an aspiration to which you, Irena have contributed so much. L’Chaim – To Life.”
― 
Jack MayerLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

 

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