All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lest we forget: Holocaust Remembrance Day & Hallmark's Irena Sendler

Orig. post date: Tuesday, Apr 21 2009

While many in the world remember the Holocaust on this day, The Day of Remembrance, Iran's President Ahmadinejad spoke before the UN anti-racism conference, spewing his usual Holocaust denial sentiments. Those comments prompted "Dozens of diplomats" from Britain and Europe to walk out. The United States, Israel, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland did not opt to attend at all, because of concerns that the forum "would be used as a platform for attacks on Israel."

Iran's President lived up to that expectation with his assertion that "the Israeli state was created by 'military aggressions to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering' from the Second World War." I guess his pretext of suffering was in reference to the Holocaust, where over 6 million Jews were murdered by the German government? Don't ask me where the military aggression came in since the homeland of Israel was a initially a diplomatic solution, not a military one by the Jews.

It is difficult to understand how people like Ahmadinejad can deny the Holocaust when there are people still living who witnessed it, photos and film showing the camps, Jewish prisoners exist (pretty hard to get actors to starve themselves to death just to fool the world), and there is historical evidence--military records, hospital records, newspaper accounts, etc.

One such witness was depicted in Hallmark Hall of Fame's production: The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, which aired on Sunday, April 19. (If you missed it, it will be coming out on DVD soon.)

The production was based on the true story of Irena Sendler, a young woman who lived in Warsaw, Poland during the war years. Soon after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Jews were rounded up and forced to live in a confined area of the city, a ghetto. We learn that Irena's father was a doctor, who died of typhus years ago, that he contracted while treating the Jews. Irena, like her father, had a heart for the suffering of others and tried to make a difference. She was a social worker.

So she decides to not just help by bringing food and supplies to the ghetto dwellers; she sees that the children must be smuggled out and put in Polish homes for safe keeping. The rumors are that the Germans are emptying neighborhoods and taking the residents to "work camps." Irena sets out to find homes for the children.

Her actions are not without cost; she risks her life and safety to rescue the children. When asked if she realizes how dangerous her actions are, she quotes her father saying something like this: Didn't father used to say that if you see someone drowning, you must try to save them even if you can't swim? "A requirement dictated by the heart," she later said. Irena was taken prisoner herself, beaten so badly her legs and feet were broken, but she managed to escape execution.

Hallmark did a great job portraying what true heroism looks like. Irena Sendler didn't possess any special abilities, she just saw a job that needed doing and risked all to do it. As Renata Zajdman--a rescued survivor said, "she [Irena] is proof that an ordinary person can accomplish extraordinary deeds." In all, Irena rescued 2,500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. (Oskar Schindler, of Schindler's List rescued 1,100.)

The movie portrayal was a fitting tribute to one of the many people who put self aside to help others during that horrible time. Hallmark has some background information on their website that is worth reading. It tells how this almost forgotten woman's deeds came to be known again. I was surprised to learn that after the war, she "was shunned into obscurity, and branded a Fascist for saving Jews." If you didn't get to view the production on TV, look for it when it comes out on DVD. (Check the library later this year.)

The Holocaust was real. It was not a pretext of suffering. There are still many who lived through it alive today--some thanks to Irena Sendler.

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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