Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler was a Polish woman who participated with an underground network, that rescued over 2,500 Jewish children in Poland during World War II(WWII). When WWII broke out Sendler was a 29-year-old social worker, working for the Welfare Department of Warsaw Municipality. Sendler used this job to her advantage, by helping the poor and dispossessed Jewish people. However, this became extremely hard to do, when the ghetto was closed off in November of 1940. Around 400,000 people were contained in the ghetto, experiencing poor living situations. The lack of food and medical supplies quickly resulted in high death rates and epidemics.

Because of this Sendler devised a plan. She managed to obtain a permit that allowed her to visit the ghetto and inspect the living situations. She later helped smuggle Jews out of the ghetto to the Aryan side where it was safe and helped set up hiding places for them. In 1942, the Council for Aids to Jews (Zegota) was created, Irena became one of the main activists. This council played a crucial role in rescuing mass amounts of people who were deported and needed shelter, and help to survive. In 1943, Sendler became the director of Zegota Department for the care of Jewish children. Sendler had an underground name of Jolanta. She used her contacts that she had, to save the abandoned children. That same year, Sendler was arrested and sentenced to death. Underground activists managed to bribe officials to release her. Even after her close encounter with death, she did not stop her underground activities.