Monday, January 4, 2010

Life In A Jar

I am not much of a reader..but this book is one that I want to read really bad. "Life in a Jar." It is about Irena Sedler. Totally fascinating. Here is a few little facts about her and the reason I want to read the book. Also on my list of "to learn abouts" is the name Sophie School. Also a huge revolter during the holocaust.

Irena and the ten who went with her into the ghetto, used many, many methods to smuggle children out. There were five main means of escape: 1- using an ambulance a child could be taken out hidden under the stretcher. 2 - escape through the courthouse. 3 - a child could be taken out using the sewer pipes or other secret underground passages. 4- A trolley could carry out children hiding in a sack, in a trunk, a suitcase or something similar. 5 - if a child could pretend to be sick or was acutally very ill, it could be legally removed using the ambulance. ****Irena did use a dog on occasion, but very few times out of the many rescues. Also, the number of babies saved was small in relation to the total number of children rescued.
There was a church next to the ghetto, but the entrance leading to it was "sealed" by the Germans. If a child could speak good Polish and rattle off some Christian prayers it could be smuggled in through the "sealed" entrance and later taken to the Aryan side. This was very dangerous since Germans often used a rouse to trick the Poles and then arrest Jolanta/Irena documented on the strips of paper she had buried, as well as where the child was taken in the first phase of its escape.
Irena (code name Jolanta) was arrested on October 20, 1943. When arrested she felt almost liberated. She was placed in the notorious Piawiak prison, where she was constantly questioned and tortured. During the questioning she had her legs and feet fractured.
The German who interrogated her was young, very stylish and spoke perfect Polish. He wanted the names of the Zegota leaders, their addresses and the names of others involved. Irena fed him the version that she and her collaborators had prepared in the event they were captured. The German held up a folder with information of places, times and persons who had informed on her. She received a death sentence. She was to be shot. Unbeknown to her, Zegota had bribed the German executioner who helped her escape. On the following day the Germans loudly proclaimed her execution. Posters were put up all over the city with the news that she was shot. Irena read the posters herself.
During the remaining years of the war, she lived hidden, just like the children she rescued. Irena was the only one who knew where the children were to be found. When the war was finally over, she dug up the bottles and began the job of finding the children and trying to find a living parent.
Almost all the parents of the children Irena saved, died at the Treblinka death camp.

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