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Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust

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In the fall of 1999, four young girls from Kansas began research for a high school history project. The students were inspired by a magazine article about Irena Sendler, and after discovering that Sendler was still alive, they exchanged letters with her and eventually traveled to Poland to meet with her. The play the students wrote as a result of their research and multipl In the fall of 1999, four young girls from Kansas began research for a high school history project. The students were inspired by a magazine article about Irena Sendler, and after discovering that Sendler was still alive, they exchanged letters with her and eventually traveled to Poland to meet with her. The play the students wrote as a result of their research and multiple interviews spawned worldwide interest in the epic story of one person who managed to save the lives of 2,500 children in Poland under German occupation. This new translation brings the universally appealing story of Irena Sendler to an English-speaking audience for the first time. It contains moving accounts of courage and hope in the face of tremendous danger, cruelty, and terrifying uncertainty. It also portrays the unspeakable emotional distress suffered by the children's parents who chose to give them up, and communicates the decades of immense longing, loneliness, and guilt of the rescuees for having survived while their families did not.


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In the fall of 1999, four young girls from Kansas began research for a high school history project. The students were inspired by a magazine article about Irena Sendler, and after discovering that Sendler was still alive, they exchanged letters with her and eventually traveled to Poland to meet with her. The play the students wrote as a result of their research and multipl In the fall of 1999, four young girls from Kansas began research for a high school history project. The students were inspired by a magazine article about Irena Sendler, and after discovering that Sendler was still alive, they exchanged letters with her and eventually traveled to Poland to meet with her. The play the students wrote as a result of their research and multiple interviews spawned worldwide interest in the epic story of one person who managed to save the lives of 2,500 children in Poland under German occupation. This new translation brings the universally appealing story of Irena Sendler to an English-speaking audience for the first time. It contains moving accounts of courage and hope in the face of tremendous danger, cruelty, and terrifying uncertainty. It also portrays the unspeakable emotional distress suffered by the children's parents who chose to give them up, and communicates the decades of immense longing, loneliness, and guilt of the rescuees for having survived while their families did not.

30 review for Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust

  1. 4 out of 5

    Staci Kemmerle

    Wonderful book...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel L.

    Irena Sendler: A Hero of the Children and Their Mothers “I was taught by my father that when someone is drowning, you don’t ask if they can swim. You just jump in and help.” Irena Sendler was never anyone to brag—she always said that she simply did what she had to do. What she did, however, was nothing short of extraordinary. A young Catholic Polish social worker from Warsaw, she saved the lives of at least 2,000 Jewish children, smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, an unbearably overcrowded Irena Sendler: A Hero of the Children and Their Mothers “I was taught by my father that when someone is drowning, you don’t ask if they can swim. You just jump in and help.” Irena Sendler was never anyone to brag—she always said that she simply did what she had to do. What she did, however, was nothing short of extraordinary. A young Catholic Polish social worker from Warsaw, she saved the lives of at least 2,000 Jewish children, smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, an unbearably overcrowded, unsanitary, and dangerous section of the city the Nazis sealed off during their World War II occupation. The reader also learns of events in Irena’s earlier life that led her to do what she did, as well as what she did after the war, a person unknown to most of the world. This excellent translation is our best source on the life of Irena Sendler. The research is thorough and come alive through the many interviews the author conducted with Irena herself and the people who knew her. Most notable is that Ms. Mieszkowska lets Irena tell her own story in her own words. It provided much of the source material for the beautiful PBS documentary, Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers. Of particular interest to young readers are Irena’s activities in secret, underground organizations, including Zegota. Code names, forged documents, smuggling, and underground escape routes highlight the dangers Irena and her colleagues. Most remarkable was the rescue of a six-month-old infant in a wooden carpenter’s box. That baby, Elzbieta Ficowska, would grow up to become one of Irena’s closest and most trusted friends. Her story is told here. Persuading Jewish mothers to give up their young children was the most heart-rending part of Irena’s job. How she kept careful notes of each child and stored them in a jar is one of the highlights of Ms. Rubin’s book. And the author pays the ultimate homage to Irena by allowing her to state that she did not consider herself a hero—she did what she had to do. The real heroes, said Irena, were the mothers who gave up their babies, the Polish families who took them in, and the children themselves. It was the request of Irena herself that her biography begin with the story of four high school girls from Uniontown, Kansas—half a world away and half a century from the terrifying experiences that defined her early life. That was Irena Sendler, a selfless person doing what she considered her moral duty.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    This memoir about this amazing women was worth the read. Irena Sendler saved thousands of children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII and has interesting and heart-breaking stories to tell. It was a slow read for me because I had to break it up with things that weren't so serious, but I'm glad I read it. This memoir about this amazing women was worth the read. Irena Sendler saved thousands of children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII and has interesting and heart-breaking stories to tell. It was a slow read for me because I had to break it up with things that weren't so serious, but I'm glad I read it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    La intención de la autora al escribir la historia de Irene Sendler es muy buena, pero la estructura del libro me parece desorganizada y confusa, especialmente para las personas que no conocen nada de la historia de Polonia durante la II guerra Mundial.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Not the best written book, but a fascinating account of a woman who saved more Jews (mostly children) than did Schindler, but about whom the world knows next to nothing (Irena Sendler).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I can not find this book anywhere! After seeing the movie, I am very interested in learning more about amazing Irena.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ginger Miller

    An excellent account from the great lady herself. I think. The author never crosses the line and Irena gets the final word on everything. She did not trust reporters or the media and with good reason. That explains so much of the misinformation about this amazing woman. She speaks more of those she and her friends saved then herself. No one, reporter or author, was ever going to get her complete story. After all she had been through I do not believe she trusted anyone enough to truly open up abo An excellent account from the great lady herself. I think. The author never crosses the line and Irena gets the final word on everything. She did not trust reporters or the media and with good reason. That explains so much of the misinformation about this amazing woman. She speaks more of those she and her friends saved then herself. No one, reporter or author, was ever going to get her complete story. After all she had been through I do not believe she trusted anyone enough to truly open up about herself. This is a really good book but do not expect to learn much more about Irena Sendler then one did before reading it. I believe Irena took her true story to the grave

  8. 4 out of 5

    José Pedro Gomes

    O livro em si, a história, o contéudo, é tudo muito bom. A tradução é péssima não no sentido do tradutor ser mau ou não, mas porque se percebe perfeitamente que é uma tradução à pressa com prazos apertados e com uma revisão nula.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alenka of Bohemia

    I felt the book was a bit disorganized and wanted more of actual Irena, but that does not mean the information the publication carries are without value. On the contrary. More people need to read about Mrs. Sendler.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paulina Bilska

    3.5

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Ivonne

    Este libro me costo demasiado entenederlo y terminarlo. La historia de la ayuda que presto Irena durante la segunda Guerra MUndial, el valor y la fortaleza de la mujer sin duda son bastante inspiradoras. El inicio del libro fue bastante rapido, pero tiene demasiada informacion y aveces es facil confundirte con nombres fechas y situaciones, todo pasa al mismo tiempo. A mi gusto no tiene la mejor redaccion, ya que es demasiado denso y confuso. Probablemente ustedes tambien llegaron a el, queriendo i Este libro me costo demasiado entenederlo y terminarlo. La historia de la ayuda que presto Irena durante la segunda Guerra MUndial, el valor y la fortaleza de la mujer sin duda son bastante inspiradoras. El inicio del libro fue bastante rapido, pero tiene demasiada informacion y aveces es facil confundirte con nombres fechas y situaciones, todo pasa al mismo tiempo. A mi gusto no tiene la mejor redaccion, ya que es demasiado denso y confuso. Probablemente ustedes tambien llegaron a el, queriendo indagar mas en como fue que esta extraordinaria mujer se las arreglo para salvar tantas vidas durante epocas tan duras, bueno la cuestion aqui es que, si claro que se comenta en el libro, pero de alguna manera no es el giro o la informacion principal con la que cuenta esta redaccion, yo mas bien lo etiquetaria como una recoleccion de hechos basados antes, durante y despues en Varsovia durante la ocupacion alemana y la vida de una mujer de un espiritu enorme

  12. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    I've looked for this book for a long time. It's exciting to finally get an English copy and to start reading it! I'm done with the book. I was a little disappointed in that the book did not give a lot of detail but I suppose it is understandable in that she probably did not want to bring to much out too much detail because of the way she felt? I thought the book was significant in that it did reveal life the way it was at that time during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Good book. I've looked for this book for a long time. It's exciting to finally get an English copy and to start reading it! I'm done with the book. I was a little disappointed in that the book did not give a lot of detail but I suppose it is understandable in that she probably did not want to bring to much out too much detail because of the way she felt? I thought the book was significant in that it did reveal life the way it was at that time during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Good book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ina

    What an amazing lady! She said, "I did as my conscience dictated." This was no easy thing...she could have lost her life for helping. She was put in prison and on the day she was to be executed, was freed by a bribe. I remember hearing recently or reading, that when ever there is a disaster, etc., to look for the helpers...there will always be helpers. I think that is so true. There is so much hurt and sadness in the world, yet there is always someone doing their best to help. What an amazing lady! She said, "I did as my conscience dictated." This was no easy thing...she could have lost her life for helping. She was put in prison and on the day she was to be executed, was freed by a bribe. I remember hearing recently or reading, that when ever there is a disaster, etc., to look for the helpers...there will always be helpers. I think that is so true. There is so much hurt and sadness in the world, yet there is always someone doing their best to help.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Videoclimber(AKA)MTsLilSis

    The writing itself is not the best, but the story told is SO worth reading. Ms. Sendler was so modest that not too many details are told. You can tell she loved the children so much, and wanted them to be the highlight of the story. She makes sure that there was as much about them included as she could. It is amazing that she lived through all the experiences when so many of her helpers didn't. Her jail time is gut wrenching. Her story needed to be told, and I am glad to know more about her. The writing itself is not the best, but the story told is SO worth reading. Ms. Sendler was so modest that not too many details are told. You can tell she loved the children so much, and wanted them to be the highlight of the story. She makes sure that there was as much about them included as she could. It is amazing that she lived through all the experiences when so many of her helpers didn't. Her jail time is gut wrenching. Her story needed to be told, and I am glad to know more about her.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    A very engaging book about an extraordinary woman whom many people may not have heard of, despite the incredible work and amount of children she helped save during the Holocaust. I found it very easy to read and very nicely organised in chapters with perspectives from not only Irena Sendler, but also from the points of view of the children she helped rescue.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darklady

    Mais um excelente documento relativo ao Holocausto de uma mulher que comparada com muitos merecia mais visibilidade que a que teve. Quem se interessa por este período da história não pode perder esta obra.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Guy

    A true story of heroism in the face of terrifying danger. Irena deserves every bit of recognition available for the heros of the holocaust. Having said that, this is not a well written book. Fairly disjointed as you might expect from a personal journal.

  18. 5 out of 5

    GraceH

    I do not agree with Irena's political or religious views, but I think she did an amazing thing. I was totally fascinated with the organization and how they did everything. People can do amazing things when they put their minds to it. I do not agree with Irena's political or religious views, but I think she did an amazing thing. I was totally fascinated with the organization and how they did everything. People can do amazing things when they put their minds to it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Damien

    The writing is not the best. But her story deserves to be known.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    http://silenciosquefalam.blogspot.pt/... http://silenciosquefalam.blogspot.pt/...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gish

    es un libro interesante y lindo, aunque no es lo que esperaba

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gracia_Javert

    The translation was a little dodgy, but this was otherwise a great read! I really admire Irena Sendler, and I liked how this book was a more-or-less firsthand account of her experiences.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gilberto Garcia

    Buen Libro.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Dandreaux

    I thought this was a very interesting book about an amazing woman. I was a little disappointed that it was written in a very dry tone.

  25. 5 out of 5

    A

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natalia Wrotek

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark O'Kennon

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helga Grose

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Monteiro

  30. 4 out of 5

    Evalunasylva

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